Electric power systems

We create advanced technologies in partnership with New Zealand and international device and system manufacturers, to supply the global electricity industry.

HTS power system in Long Island, US
The world’s first superconductor transmission-voltage cable system in Long Island, which can power 300,000 homes. Photo: AMSC

Electricity networks around the world are undergoing rapid change. Factors such as intermittent renewable generation, industry deregulation, increasing customer choice, aging electricity systems and the use of smart grids are forcing a re-think of existing infrastructure.

This changing environment presents an opportunity to introduce new products such as high temperature superconductors (HTS).

HTS have a much higher current density than copper, so can be designed and manufactured into smaller, lighter, safer, more efficient and longer-lived machines.

Technology partnerships

We are making numerous contributions to projects that demonstrate the benefits and value of HTS components and systems. These medium to long term projects are developed in partnership with New Zealand and international manufacturers, other value chain companies and research collaborators.

Component development and prototyping

With our New Zealand partners—Fabrum Solutions, GCS Ltd and HTS-110 Ltd—we are developing components for power systems that are incorporated in international HTS power system projects.

These projects include:

  • Supply of Roebel cable by GCS to CERN.
  • Design and fabrication of the world’s first HTS Roebel cable transformer. Our project partners include: PB Power, Callaghan Innovation, Wilson Transformers, Absolut Systems, ETEL, Fabrum Solutions, Northpower, Vector, HTS-110 Ltd and GCS Ltd.
  • Cryogenic refrigerators made by Callaghan Innovation and Fabrum Solutions for use in transformer, magnet and rotating machine projects in New Zealand and overseas.
  • HTS sub-systems constructed with HTS-110 Ltd, incorporated into Japanese, European and Australian rotating machine projects.
  • Development of flux pump technologies for use in magnets and rotating machines with HTS-110 Ltd.
  • Design, mechanical testing and spin test (to 14,000 rpm) of a BSCCO rotor for a high-speed 2 MVA generator. The project was funded by the United States Air Force and partners included LEI, HTS-110 Ltd and The Balancing Company.

Advanced power systems

With our industry partners, we are developing and testing advanced power system technologies that include:

  • a smart distribution transformer (ETEL and Unison Networks)
  • a grid energy storage device to supply rapid network support during a voltage sag in electricity grids (EHL)
  • a demand response management system (Transpower).