Friday, February 8, 2013

Superconducting Update

This is an update on progress in the superconducting world. The industrialization of this technology is now entering end game with major deliverables well on the way. The most important is the transition line which appears to be cost effective by 2020. The industry knows this is coming and they understand its impact on capacity.

That leap in transmission liberated capacity will coincide with the advent of the mass market electric car to provide a market for all the power. As I have been posting, a real revolution is upon us and we are now getting clear dates. Real implementation will start in 2020 and likely be complete in terms of primary build-out by 2030. This suggests that all cars on the road by 2030 will be electrics.

That is not too far away at all. In 1993, the internet simply did not truly exist. By 2030, the Holodec will exist. By 2030, ample power and ample personal power storage will be ours and we will live in spaces were dirt cannot stick to the walls.

50 Tesla and Other Superconducting Possibilities

JANUARY 16, 2013

  1. Charging superconductors will get a lot more efficient and cost effective
2. Superconducting magnets could achieve 50 tesla in about 5 years
3. Superconducting wire should cost about 4 times less on a price performance basis in three years
4. Superconducting motors should be in a few hundred or a few thousand vehicles by 2020
5. 50 tesla magnets should enable a muon collider in the 2020s

The Department of Energy recently funded Fermilab scientist Tengming Shen $2,500,000 to develop Bi2Sr2CaCu2Ox superconductors. He expects he could use this material to build magnets with a reach of up to 50 Tesla. Shen's magnets could potentially be cooled with a simpler refrigeration unit. The superconducting material that has magnetic field upper limits surpassing 100 Tesla at 4.2 K and can be fabricated into a multifilamentary round wire, to practical magnet conductors that can be used to generate fields above 20 Tesla for the next generation of accelerators.

  1. Studies suggest that reducing the present cost of the superconductor by a factor of two would bring the cost of 10-GW, 1200-mile-long, superconducting cables to within range of that of conventional overhead lines. Since underground dc cables also offer substantial environmental, siting, and aesthetic benefits over conventional overhead transmission lines, they may become an attractive alternative option in some situations. Superpower Inc, is on track to improving price performance of its superconducting wire by 4 times.

The UK company Magnifye has developed ways to charge superconductors in a vastly more efficient system. Magnifye has developed a heat engine which converts thermal energy into currents of millions of amps. The thermal energy is used to create a series of magnetic waves which progressively magnetise the superconductor much in the same way a nail can be magnetised by stroking it over a magnet.
Ferropnictide superconductors, i.e., superconductors that contain Fe and As, have superconducting transition temperatures (Tc) up to 56 K and high upper critical fields (Hc2) over 100 Telsa. The high Hc2 means these materials could be used in very high field magnets. Previous studies suggested that polycrystalline samples of these materials could not carry a large superconducting current because grain boundaries reduce the critical current density (Jc). Surprisingly, new results find that the opposite is true for wire made from (Ba0.6K0.4) Fe2As2. This material could enable superconducting magnets at 120 tesla.

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