Nexans designs the most powerful component for Superconducting Current Limiters worldwide

Paris, September 10, 2003 - The Superconducting Fault Current Limiter (FCL) is a new appliance for the power engineering sector. FCL will considerably improve the network resistance to short circuit currents. This is an important gain in terms of quality for the energy supply, in particular when taking into account factors like the increasing complexity resulting from deregulation and the integration of renewable sources such as wind and solar energy.

When existing networks are extended, the capacity of the installed protective equip-ment is often exceeded by the additional fault power. In such cases, the use of a FCL unit can help to reduce costs for the infrastructure or even avoid the installation of new substations. The innovative appliance could also be of outstanding relevance for pro-jects like the modernization of American power networks.

The core of the FCL, i.e. the superconducting components, were designed and built by Nexans in Hürth (Germany), within the framework of an integrated project sponsored by the German Federal Department of Education and Science (BMBF). The supercon-ducting components are tubular parts based on a ceramic compound of Bi (Bismuth), Sr (Strontium), Ca (Calcium) and Cu (Copper). The final components are cut into a double spiral providing a long active length with a compact design.

At the laboratories of the FGH (Research Association for High Voltage Technologies) in Mannheim/Germany and the FZK (Research Center in Karlsruhe/Germany), the su-perconducting components of Nexans were submitted to tests with varying require-ments. They were e.g. exposed to short circuit currents up to 18,000 A and to an artifi-cial lightning impulse of 75,000 V. All tests proved the effective current limiting capa-bility of the device without causing any defect to the superconductor. Nine compo-nents, connected in series, were capable of switching a total power of 1.2 MVA.

Further to these successful tests, Nexans is now working on the 10 MVA demonstrator for the 10 kV network level scheduled to be completed by the end of the year and in-tended to be tested under field conditions by the German energy operator RWE in the German network.

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