Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Superconducting material limits short-circuit currents


Siemens develops superconducting fault current limiters for limiting short-circuit currents in the grid.

Superconductors show zero resistance below the critical temperature and below the critical current. They are thus more energy efficient than conventional series reactors.

Despite the fact that superconducting components require cooling, the technology can help to reduce the power losses by half compared to the losses caused by currently usedseries reactors. Siemens will test the new superconducting fault current limiter in cooperation with the Augsburg municipal utility company and install a prototype in the grid by the end of 2015.

With the increase of renewable energy production, more and more biogas and solar facilities and wind farms are feeding energy directly into the medium-voltage power grid. Short circuits could thus cause high currents and require the installation of protective components. Series reactors alone, which damp short-circuit currents like a resistor, would not offer a solution.

They not only act as resistors when there is a short circuit, but also during normal operation. This causes electricity to be continuously wasted. The power loss typically amounts to 25 kilowatts per series reactor coil. Experts estimate that up to 44,000 series reactors are installed worldwide. That translates into a global power loss of up to 1,100 megawatts, which is the equivalent of a large power plant's output.

No resistance at minus 196 degrees

Superconductors solve that issue, because they can transport electricity with no resistance and almost no loss at low temperatures and below the critical current. They are in some sense "invisible" in the grid. The scientists at Siemens Corporate Technology have been researching high-temperature superconductors for more than 20 years now and have several key patents for resistive superconducting fault current limiters.

The scientists are using ceramic high-temperature superconductors made of yttrium-barium copper oxide, which are cooled down to minus 196 degrees Celsius with liquid nitrogen. If a short circuit occurs, the current increases strongly, and when reaching the critical current value of the superconductor, it will cause the superconductor to lose its superconducting properties and suddenly turn into a resistor.

The superconducting current limiter prototype will be combined with a series reactor, through which the short-circuit current will then be rerouted. That way the superconductor can cool off so that it will automatically be usable again a short time later.

In Augsburg, the current limiter will be installed between the grid of the Augsburg municipal utility company and a facility operated by MTU onsite energy. MTU manufactures cogeneration plants. While testing these, MTU feeds the produced electricity into the Augsburg grid.

The tests sometimes achieve peak outputs of 15 megawatts. Siemens plans to monitor the new technology for about one year, but both partners aim for a permanent installation even after the formal duration of the project. The cooperation project receives support from the Bavarian Ministry of Economics.

Press Picture:

Weitere Informationen:


Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner | Siemens InnovationNews

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Solid progress in carbon capture
27.10.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

nachricht Greater Range and Longer Lifetime
26.10.2016 | Technologie Lizenz-Büro (TLB) der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen GmbH

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>