Condumex, one of the largest wire and cable manufacturers in Mexico, has placed an order for a first-generation high-temperature superconductor (HTS) wire from American Superconductor Corp. (AMSC; Westborough, Massachusetts, U.S.).

Condumex will use the HTS wire to manufacture and install an HTS power cable system in a Mexico City electrical substation. The project will demonstrate the ability of HTS cable to move increased amounts of power under the streets of Mexico City. The government of Mexico will fund one-third of the project.

The ac power distribution cable system will be able to transmit 47-MW of power. HTS cables are able to conduct much greater amounts of power because the HTS wires supplied by AMSC are able to carry more than 140 times the electrical current of copper wires of the same dimensions. The Condumex HTS cable system will comprise three 33-m (109-ft)-long, warm dielectric cables and will utilize about 10 km (6.2 miles) of HTS wire. The cable system will operate at 15 kV and will carry 1800 A of electrical current in each of the three cables in the system. The three cables will handle the power flow of nine similar-sized copper cables, providing an effective and economical means to eliminate power bottlenecks.

Condumex expects the cable system to be installed and operating in a Mexico City substation in 2006.