Entries by Mark Bitterman

SuperPower Makes Record Superconducting Wires

SuperPower, which is developing High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) wires and HTS devices for the electric power industry, has made extraordinary progress in the last few months on its high power-density, ultra energy-efficient wires. The company surpassed its previous record for a long length second generation (2G) HTS wire by 100m, producing a 427 meter (1,400 […]

Vegetable oil or Nuclear fission

Against the backdrop of the comfortable references commonly made to how plentiful hydrogen is, I think the real challenges to producing hydrogen fuel in an efficient, industrialized manner is seriously under-estimated and under-reported. Most of the people I talk to in the Superconductor and Energy communities assert that generating sufficient hydrogen fuel manufacturing capacity can […]

New Superconductor May Find Crucial Role in Alternative Fuel Technology

Technische Universitat Dresden (TUD) has developed a level sensor for liquid hydrogen based on Magnesium Diboride (MgB2) superconducting wire.  The sensor is expected to be suitable for alternative fuel applications.  If so, superconductivity will provide the basis for perhaps the most reliable, inexpensive, safe, and accurate sensing technology required to use hydrogen as an automotive fuel. […]

German Superconductor Manufacturers Found Industrial Association

Disenchanted by what many consider years of neglect by the German government the superconductivity community in Germany has banded together to advance the industry.  Eight manufacturers of material and components for superconducting systems have founded the industrial association Industrieverband Supraleitung (IV Supra).   The German superconductor industry hopes to realize the same success historically achieved by the […]

Accelerated Cryogenics and Cryogenic Materials R&D Needed for Success of Superconducting Electric Power Technologies

Most of the considerable public attention, and more of the modest government funding on high temperature superconductor technologies for power systems, has centered on superconducting materials, wires, and device development. However, superconductors operate only at very low temperatures, typically below the boiling point of liquid nitrogen. I wanted to share a summary of an op-ed […]

Superconductivity Awards Go to Leaders in Energy Technologies

An independent panel of leaders in science and industry have determined the winners of Superconductor Industry Awards for 2005. Interestingly, the panel has chosen to call attention to two different dimensions of the superconductor industry: a leader in the field of high temperature superconductivity (HTS), which has applications in advanced power technologies relevant to cleantech […]

Superconducting Dynamic Synchronous Condenser Seeks to Enter FACTS Marketplace

FACTS is seen as key to expanding the integration of wind power, solar, and other generation sources to the grid under anticipated stricter power quality/reliability regulations. American Superconductor (AMSC) hopes its SuperVAR dynamic synchronous condenser—effectively a superconducting motor designed to provide reactive power (VARs)—will succeed in carving a niche in some portion of the FACTS […]

$310 Million Wendelstein 7-X Fusion Experiment Advancing on Schedule

Thirteen of the 70 superconducting coils for the $310 million Wendelstein 7-X stellarator-type fusion experiment have been tested at low temperatures and delivered, and the 41 additional coils specified are in various stages of manufacturing.  When complete, sometime in 2010, Wendelstein 7-X will be the largest stellarator fusion device built to date, and will test the […]

$1 Billion Rare Isotope Accelerator Delayed 5 Years

Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman has informed Congress that the $1 billion Rare Isotope Accelerator (RIA) will be pushed back five years. The massive superconducting accelerator was intended to be the world’s leading facility for exploring the fields of nuclear structure and astrophysics in areas that are central to applied fields such as energy, security, […]

American Superconductor’s SuperVAR Will Provide a Real Solution for Power Grid

American Superconductor (AMSC) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the largest public power provider in the U.S., have announced the start of production of two 12 megaVAR (MVAR) SuperVAR dynamic synchronous condensers.  When the first of these machines ships the first of the two machines in late 2006, the superconductor community will at last be able […]

GE Abandons Superconducting Generator

The Department of Energy’s dream to build a superconducting power infrastructure in the U.S. has been dealt a symbolically serious, if not unexpected blow.  General Electric has quit its $27 million 100MVA high temperature superconducting (HTS) generator program.  The generator was envisioned as an opportunity to eventually introduce large generators (in the 100 to 500MVA range) that […]

Is Superconductivity Cleantech?

I’ve heard some feedback from people asking why superconductivity is given a voice in a cleantech blog. This is a good question. There are a few reasons. In one area in particular–power quality–superconductors are directly related to renewable energy. Advanced, flywheels, superconducting magnetic energy storage, superconducting fault current limiters, etc. are all being proposed as […]

What Will Superconductivity Bring to Cleantech in 2006?

In 1986, high temperature superconductors (HTS) were discovered, capable of conducting electricity with zero resistance at a relatively warm -196 Celsius (-321 Fahrenheit). This presented the possibility of developing new generation of devices employing the extraordinary properties of superconductors using inexpensive liquid nitrogen as a coolant. Since then, efforts around the world have worked to […]