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News

Los Alamos National Laboratory to provide electrical characterization for novel energy project

DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory : 07 June, 2007  (Technical Article)
Scientists at the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory will be providing special electrical characterization of components used in the first high temperature superconducting transformer installed in a U.S. electric utility network, as partners in a project that could improve the way electrical energy is delivered in America.
Los Alamos is teaming up with ABB, American Superconductor Corporation and Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. to support the development, manufacture, installation and field testing of the HTS transformers.

According to Dean Peterson, Leader for the Superconductivity Technology Center, Los Alamos will characterize certain wires and coils of various sizes used in the transformers in order to measure their superconducting properties as they relate to fluctuations of temperature and magnetic fields. Los Alamos will also provide cryogenic engineering support for the project.

'Los Alamos was designated ten years ago as one of three DOE national technology centers for the development and application of high temperature superconductors,' said Peterson, 'The expertise and facilities we have to offer to development of a HTS electrical transformer was recognized by ABB to be unique.'

The bulk of the research work will take place at the Materials Science Laboratory and National High Magnetic Field Laboratory under the direction of Martin Maley from the Superconductivity Technology Center.

Other principal researchers involved in the characterization project include: Heinrich Boenig of the NHMFL, James Smith and Jeff Willis of the Superconductivity Technology Center, and Phil Blumenfeld and Dave Daney of Los Alamos's Energy and Process Engineering Group.

The HTS transformers being tested will offer a number of improvements over conventional power transformers including higher electrical efficiency, smaller size and weight, which increases existing substation capacity and reduces the size of future substations, and a novel liquid nitrogen design that will greatly reduce the potential for transformer fires.

The development and manufacture of the HTS transformer by ABB and its partners is under the auspices of the DOE's Superconductivity Partnership Initiative. American Superconductor and ABB previously worked together to develop the world's first HTS transformer installed in Switzerland in 1997.
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