Nexans and Bruker HTS have successfully concluded the first stage of their trials of ‘Super 3C’, a superconducting coated conductor cable deployed as a high-temperature superconducting distribution-level power cable.

The Super 3C development project, which has been an all-European venture, began in June 2004 and ended with the successful test of a 30 m single-phase HTS cable system in December. The cable achieved its transmitted power target of 17 MW. It is one of the first cables in the world to use state-of-the-art second generation (2G) HTS tapes as current carrying elements. These tapes include a thin HTS layer which superconducts at –200°C.

Germany based Bruker has developed a proprietary HTS-copper hybrid conductor which holds out the prospect of manufacturing and operating reliable power cables using HTS technology. The 2G hybrid conductor combines the advantages of superconductivity and copper, enabling it to work and interconnect smoothly with conventional network components. In the course of the project, Nexans and Bruker jointly developed and implemented sophisticated methods for assembling the hybrid conductors in the cable including the manufacturing and testing by Bruker of nearly 4000 m of the 2G hybrid superconductors.

Nexans manufactured the Super 3C cable, including the cryogenic envelope which allows the temperature of the cable core to be maintained at –200°C in a flow of liquid nitrogen. Nexans also developed and manufactured specific cable terminations for this project.

The Euros5.2 million project was funded in June 2004 with a Euros2.7 million grant by the European Union under its 6th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. Nexans acted as the project coordinator. Bruker was responsible for the largest single work package, namely the development and delivery of the 2G conductors.

 Jean-Maxime Saugrain, Nexans Superconductor Activity Manager and Super 3C Project Coordinator, stated: “We are proud of this achievement … It is of immense significance for Europe’s competitiveness in the emerging market for efficient HTS solutions.”

 Dr. Burkhard Prause, Managing Director of Bruker HTS, added: “The Super 3C project was an enormous boost for our advanced 2G superconductors and demonstrated their performance and reliability under industrial conditions. It is an important watermark for efficient HTS solutions in Europe and throughout the world.”

Seven other European partners participated in the project, including EON AG (Germany), which provided utility system requirements, the Tampere University of Technology (Finland), which led the cable modeling task with the support of the Bratislava Institute of Electrical Engineering (Slovakia), Instituto de Ciencia de Materials de Barcelona (Spain) and ZFW (Germany), which together supported the HTS tape development and characterisation, and Labein Tecnalia (Spain), which led the cable testing programme with the support of Air Liquide (France), which provided the liquid nitrogen cooling system.