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Karlsruhe presents superconducting cable made of new material

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has developed a versatile superconducting cable that transports electrical energy almost loss-free with moderate cooling. It is easy to manufacture on an industrial scale.

04 Apr. 2019
Karlsruhe presents superconducting cable made of new material (Picture: ITEP, KIT)

Whether for the connection of wind farms, DC power supply on ships or even light and compact high-current lines in future all-electric aircraft: superconductors are attractive for energy-saving technologies because they operate almost loss-free. However, this usually requires liquid helium cooling down to -269 ° Celsius.

By contrast, KIT's new Cross Conductor (HTS CroCo) high-temperature superconductor is already operational at -196°C because it consists of rare-earth barium copper oxide (REBCO). Its high current carrying capacity saves space and weight compared to conventional copper or aluminum cables. The superconducting layer that carries the high current is only a few thousandths of a millimeter thick in the finished cables and thus saves material costs. The CroCo is suitable for both the energy-saving generation of strong magnetic fields and for transporting large quantities of electrical energy. Liquid hydrogen can even transport chemical and electrical energy together when used for cooling.