United States

United States

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.

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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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