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

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: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>