The European Commission Awards €3.3 Million for the Development of Ultraconductive Copper

Nov 18, 2013, 10:09 ET from European Copper Institute

BRUSSELS, November 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The "Ultrawire" project aims at producing a material that conducts electricity better than any known electrical conductor

A consortium of 14 companies and universities has signed a €3.3 million funding contract through the European Commission's FP7 program. The project, termed "Ultrawire", aims to bring ultraconductive copper, a material that conducts electricity better than any known electrical conductor, within three years, to a level where pilot manufacturing can be planned. Consortium members are adding an additional €1.7million of their own funding to the project.

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"This is an opportunity for Europe to capture early market share and new manufacturing jobs from the promising new technology of ultraconductive copper," says Jan Janssen, Technical Manager of the project and Senior Production Manager of Aurubis, the largest copper producer in Europe.

"We are exploiting forefront European carbon manufacturing technology and transferring exciting new materials into industry," says Dr. Krzysztof Koziol, Head of the Electric Carbon Nanomaterials Research Group in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge. "The EC's FP7 funding recognises the power of transferring technology from Europe's leading research institutions into companies responsible for producing and using millions of tonnes of copper each year." Dr. Koziol is the project coordinator and the leading contact with the EC for the Ultrawire project.

"The copper industry's participation in this project reflects the importance the industry places on improving the sustainability of its products through increased resource efficiency," says John Schonenberger, Chief Executive of the European Copper Institute. "The EU has extremely ambitious CO2 emission reduction targets for 2050 and the necessary transition towards electricity, as the primary source of energy, will require significant quantities of highly-efficient conductor materials. While this technology is in the very early stages of development, with many significant hurdles to cross, ultraconductive copper would bring about a step change in the end-use performance obtainable from one tonne of copper."    

Ultrawire consortium members:

Cambridge University, University of Aalto at Helsinki, AGH Krakow University of Science and Technology, Aurubis Belgium, National Grid Electricity Transmission, Peugeot Citroen Automobiles, PE International, KME Germany, Outotec Oy, Institute of Occupational Medicine, Invro, Cambridge Nanomaterials Technology, Wieland-Werke, Nexans France.

More details on the Ultrawire project are available at:

For further information about the Ultrawire project, contact Dr. Bojan Boskovic, Exploitation and Dissemination Manager, Ultrawire Project:


What is ultraconductive copper?

Ultraconductive copper is a composite of less than 1% of nano-carbon suspended in more than 99% of copper.  It has an electrical conductivity, at room temperature, up to double that of pure copper. Its development started, in the last few years, primarily at US universities. Today it is only available on a laboratory scale. However, if its production process can be scaled-up, it will have the same world-changing potential that occurred in the 1800s, when carbon was first added to iron to create steel. Eventually, motors, transformers, wind-generators and distribution wiring could be half the weight and size that they are today.

About Cambridge University's Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy:

The Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy both offers undergraduate courses and has a large and vigorous research school. It has over 30 academic staff, around 80 postdoctoral researchers, 130 research students and 30 visiting scientists. The Department's research covers the whole range of engineering materials, including ceramics, metals, polymers, composites and solid state device materials. The Department's Electric Carbon Nanomaterials Research Group focuses on the selective synthesis of carbon nanotubes and the development of carbon nanotube wires.

About the European Copper Institute:

ECI, founded in 1996, represents the copper industry in Europe. ECI is also part of the Copper Alliance™, an international network of trade associations funded by the copper industry, whose common mission is to defend and grow markets for copper, based on its superior technical performance and contributions to a higher quality of life. Read more about us on

SOURCE European Copper Institute