Europe

Europe

GE completes trial of next generation superconductor technology

UNITED STATES: GE Power Conversion has potentially developed a new component for direct drive wind turbines with the announcement of a successful trial of a high-temperature superconductor (HTS) generator called Hydrogenie.

Compared to conventional generators of similar power rating, HTS enables very compact generator units with much reduced mass.

The greatest benefits in terms of size and mass are for high-torque electric machines such as direct-drive wind turbine generators, positively reducing head mass too.

Several other international parties are working on HTS-technology, including US-based AMSC with its 10MW direct-drive turbine called SeaTitan.

GE's Hydrogenie uses superconductors operating at 43 Kelvin or -230 degrees Celsius instead of common generator rotor winding copper wires. According to GE experts, superconductivity could until recently only be achieved at around 4K (-269°C).

The new superconductors exhibit the phenomenon at substantially higher temperatures, requiring less-complex insulation systems and less powerful cooling devices.

They are manufactured by depositing a superconducting ceramic layer on to relatively cheap base metal.

As there is virtually no electrical resistance at -230°C, the wires cross-section can be reduced to around 2% compared with copper wire of similar capacity. Many more windings fitted into electromagnet coils explain the compact lightweight design.

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