American Superconductor Corp. (AMSC) has expanded its strategic alliance with Shanghai Electric Cable Research Institute (SECRI) and has received a new order for AMSC’s high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire. SECRI will use the HTS wire to develop and manufacture a 30-meter-long, 35-kV cable system. SECRI is the leading research, development and standardization institution for China’s wire and cable industry and is one of two centers that test and certify power cables for China.

Under the terms of the expanded strategic alliance, AMSC will deliver HTS wire and provide consulting services to SECRI. SECRI will develop the cable system with support from the local Shanghai government.

“In addition to the transmission voltage superconductor cables we have been developing, we now are developing distribution voltage superconductor cable systems for the Chinese market,” said SECRI’s General Manager Wei Dong, “We are confident that our continued successful cooperation with AMSC will enable rapid adoption of superconductor cable systems. We expect the first superconductor cable deployment in China’s power grid system to occur early in the next decade and that this will lead to widespread adoption of superconductor cables throughout China.”

AMSC first formed a strategic business alliance with SECRI in 2006 to develop and promote the use of superconductor power transmission cables in China. Under the terms of the alliance, AMSC is the preferred supplier of HTS wire to SECRI and the recommended preferred HTS wire supplier to SECRI’s cable manufacturing licensees for all superconductor cables. AMSC also is providing consulting services to SECRI for its superconductor power cable development program. AMSC and SECRI are now broadening their relationship to include distribution voltage cables. Under the expanded collaborative effort, the companies will jointly work to develop the Chinese market for SECRI’s cable designs and cable manufacturing equipment expertise as well as AMSC’s HTS wire. They will also develop localized HTS cable design and manufacturing capabilities to supply the Chinese market.

“We are pleased that SECRI continues to work together with AMSC to modernize China’s power grid through the use of superconductor technology,” said AMSC Superconductors’ General Manager Dan McGahn. “SECRI is one of China’s most respected power cable authorities and is a leader in advanced cable designs and technologies. We both see superconductor cables playing a pivotal role in distributing power in densely populated metropolitan centers such as Shanghai where a premium is placed both on space and power quality.”

Power cables made with AMSC’s HTS wire inside can conduct up to 10 times the amount of power of conventional cables, which are made with copper wire inside. They can be placed strategically in the power grid to draw flow from overtaxed conventional cables or overhead lines to mitigate grid congestion experienced in urban centers. They also can automatically suppress dangerous power surges to create resilient, ‘self-healing’ grids that can survive attacks and natural disasters making them an ideal modernization tool for metropolitan power grids.