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AMSC provides HTS wire to Nexans

U.S.-based AMSC announced that it has received an order for its high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire from Nexans for use in a superconductor fault current limiter (SFCL).

A press release said that the SFCL will act as a surge protector at "AmpaCity," a project—by Nexans; the RWE Group, a leading  European electricity and gas company; and KIT, a German research institute KIT—that aims to replace inner-city high-voltage equipment with superconductor systems. It said that medium-voltage superconductor systems "uniquely provide an alternative to conventional high-voltage installations," and that the SFCL "will provide overload protection to a superconductor cable, lowering the fault current levels, and allowing for a safe and reliable interconnection to the grid."

The complete HTS system, which includes a cable and SFCL, will be manufactured by Nexans, using Amperium® superconductor wire for the SFCL, the release said. The Amperium wire, it noted, is used for numerous high-power applications, including SFCLs, power cables, motors and generators.

"The need to limit high fault current levels is an issue faced by utilities around the world," said Jack McCall, managing director, Superconductor Power Systems, for AMSC. "The commercial availability of FCLs is an important step in that it shows that the technology has matured to the point where utilities can start to think of real world deployment. This order is further evidence of our belief that superconductor FCLs be one of the key elements to be deployed as utilities continue to upgrade their networks."

McCall did not disclose the amount of wire ordered but he did note that it would be delivered in the first quarter of this year.

Nexans and AMSC recently announced a cooperation to bring the same medium-voltage SFCLs to the North American market, describing the technology as follows. The resistive SFCL is a fast and self-acting system that limits currents to safe, manageable values. The system is passive, typically sitting idle and "invisible" to the grid, but can sense and then suppress fault currents when they occur, sparing transformers, switchgear and other equipment from damage and protecting the broader power grid. Its ability to sit passively eliminates the losses associated with normal power flow along with many other constraints that are encountered with conventional solutions.

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