The potential applications for the new superconducting cable developed by KIT range from connecting wind parks and DC power supply on ships to high-current cabling in future electric aircraft. The new HTS CrossConductor - HTS CroCo, for short - is based on rare-earth barium copper-oxide (REBCO), a high-temperature superconductor that was discovered in 1987. Unlike other superconductors, which typically only start working at temperatures close to minus 269 degrees Celsius, REBCO can be used at temperatures starting from minus 196 degrees Celsius. However, long lengths of the superconductor can only be manufactured in the form of thin tapes.
During HANNOVER MESSE 2019, the physicists from KIT are presenting a method they have developed as a simple means of manufacturing high-current cables from these REBCO tapes. The star exhibit - the HTS CroCo - is made up of REBCO tapes in two different widths with a cross-shaped cross section. HTS CroCos can transmit very high DC currents but are still more compact and lightweight than conventional copper or aluminum cables. When cooled with liquid hydrogen, they can even transport chemical and electrical energy in parallel. However, according to the scientists at KIT, the biggest advantage is loss-free energy transport, which means the superconductor can be used in the development of environmentally friendly and energy-saving solutions.