Superconducting Fault Current Limiter (SFCL) with Nexans components goes on line at RWE grid

Hürth, 1 April 2004 - In the future, Superconducting Fault Current Limiters (SFCL) will ensure an even better quality of supply in electricity grids and also enable optimised grid structures. Today the official inauguration of such an appliance in the grid of RWE Energy was celebrated in Netphen near Siegen (Germany). Representatives from the companies participating in the development and from the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) as project supporters highlighted the tremendous importance of this first worldwide field test for "Superconducting Fault Current Limiters" in an electricity grid in their addresses.

A Superconducting Fault Current Limiter is an innovative energy-technology appliance, which effectively prevents the occurrence of high fault currents in electricity grids. The superconducting components, the core of the current limiter, were developed and manufactured by Nexans SuperConductors (NSC), Hürth, a subsidiary of Nexans Deutschland. Following successful testing in a test field, they now have to prove themselves in real-life conditions. The components used are based on a HTS (high temperature superconducting) ceramic, manufactured by NSC according to a proprietary melt casting process. The material is capable of changing its electrical resistance several orders of magnitude in the shortest period of time. "Thanks to this success we now play a leading role with our superconducting material and the design of the component," explains Dr. Joachim Bock, Managing Director of Nexans SuperConductors GmbH, "we are thus also excellently positioned to take advantage of new developments in this area."

"Now high fault currents, resulting from the increasing parallel connections of electricity grids and through more decentralised supplies, can be limited. Conventional switch gears and fuses react much to slowly for this. The SFCL thus entails considerable quality gains in terms of the supply of electric energy," comments Dr. Martin Kleimaier, responsible for new technologies at RWE Energy. This SFCL, presented for the very first time, is designed for a performance of 10 megavolt amperes (MVA) and is being subjected to a comprehensive field test in the 10 kV grid of RWE Energy in Netphen. The partners are already planning the next stage, the development of a corresponding appliance  for the 110 kV  transmission level.


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