David Larbalestier, Panel Chair
Richard D. Blaugher
Robert E. Schwall
Robert S. Sokolowski
Jeffrey O. Willis
Full Report: http://itri.loyola.edu/scpa/
This report reviews the status of research and development (R&D) on electric utility and other high-power applications of superconducting materials in Japan, Germany, and to a limited extent other countries in Western Europe. WTEC published a companion volume in 1998 (see above) covering electronic applications of superconductivity in Japan. This report compares activities abroad with those in the United States, and includes a brief overview of the U.S. Department of Energy's program in this area. The focus of the study is on high temperature (HTS) superconductors (i.e., those that show superconducting properties at temperatures above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen), although the WTEC panel also looked at applications for low-temperature (LTS) materials. The report covers government funding for power applications of superconductivity and compares the roles of public organizations, industry, and academia in this field among the countries of interest. The panel concluded that the United States is behind Japan in BSCCO-2212 tapes. It is holding level with Germany and Japan with respect to biaxially textured YBCO tapes, and is holding level with Japan in the area of BSCCO-2223 and Tl-1223 conductors. The United States leads Germany in conductors made from BSCCO-2212 and -2223 and from Tl-1223. In the applications area, the panel found that the United States is behind Japan in generators, magnetic levitation, and fault current limiters, and is trailing Europe in transformers. U.S. systems technology is level with that of Japan in current leads, power cables, transformers, and flywheels, and is leading Japan and Germany in motors and superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES). The United States is also leading Germany in the areas of power cables, current leads, and fault current limiters. Both Germany and Japan continue to invest substantial resources in LTS R&D. The panel found that both the Japanese and German superconductivity R&D programs enjoy strong, enduring commitments from government and large companies, motivated by a vision of superconductivity as a key enabling technology for the next century. U.S. R&D, on the other hand, is more subject to changing federal budget priorities from year to year; however, the Department of Energy received a substantial funding increase for its FY 1998 R&D program in this area.