The aim of the WTEC panel was to assess, relative to the United States, how Japan and Germany have responded to the challenge of applying high temperature superconductivity to power and energy applications. Although the primary motivation for the study came from the desire to assess the impact of high temperature superconductors on the power applications field, the panel also found wide agreement that there are still many applications for low temperature superconductors. The market for low temperature superconductor applications is well established, as is that for superconducting electronics, for which there is a separate WTEC panel. The WTEC panel on power applications of HTS was commissioned to identify the roles and responsibilities of public organizations, industry, and academia for advancing power applications of superconductivity. The panel was asked to take both a present and a long-term view.
The panel performed within the usual broadly representative framework of WTEC studies, having one academic, four national laboratory, and three industry members. Because of the exigencies of time and budget, panelists could only visit representative centers in Japan and Germany, which, with the United States, have the three largest programs worldwide. However, HTS studies now exist throughout the world, and the panel also made a side trip to Switzerland to visit a significant program there. Eight panelists went to Japan, where they visited 18 sites; two panelists then went on to Germany and Switzerland, where they visited 5 sites; thus, there was an imbalance in the effort applied to studying Japanese and European programs.
The traveling team consisted of Richard Blaugher (Superconductivity Technology Manager of the Department of Energy program at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO); Paul Grant (Executive Scientist at the Electric Power Research Institute); Donald Gubser (Superintendent of the Materials Division in the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC); Robert Schwall (Vice President, American Superconductor Corporation in Westborough, MA); Robert Sokolowski (Vice President and General Manager, IGC Advanced Superconductors in Waterbury, CT); Masaki Suenaga (Senior Scientist, Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY); Jeffrey Willis (Technical Staff Member, Los Alamos National Laboratory in NM), and David Larbalestier (Panel Chair, Professor, and Director of the Applied Superconductivity Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI). The expertise of panel members was well distributed between the materials aspects, the conductor aspects, and the device aspects of HTS.