American Superconductor Corporation (AMSC) And US DOE To Work Together On Wind Turbine Project

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10:01:09 am on February 12, 2009

American Superconductor Corporation just announced that it will work with the Department of Energy to see if a 10-MW superconductor wind turbine would be economically feasible. Under the terms of the 12 month Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, AMSC will analyze the costs of developing a 10-MW superconductor wind turbine based on the same technology the company has previously deployed in ship propulsion motors and generators for the Navy. Then, the National Wind Technology Center will use this information to determine the short and long-term economic impact of the new turbine.

A 10 MW superconductor wind turbine would have several advantages over the turbines used today, which top out at 6MW of power. If they perform according to expectations, they will be smaller, lighter and more efficient. Plus, they will operate without the huge, high maintenance gearboxes currently used at wind farms.

 In a press release, Senior Vice President and AMSC Superconductors General Manager Dan McGahn said

“It is important for our economy to embrace new clean technologies that will increase our energy independence and strengthen our electricity infrastructure. Superconductors are today proving their tremendous power density and efficiency advantages to electric utilities and large power users. This program brings those same benefits to power generation and the rapidly growing wind power market.”

“HTS is one of the ‘disruptive technologies’ needed to break through wind power’s capacity barrier and significantly reduce its cost of energy,” McGahn said. “We have formed strong ties with wind turbine manufacturers around the world, including TECO in Taiwan, Sinovel Wind in China and Hyundai Heavy Industries in Korea. Based on these relationships, AMSC’s leadership in superconductor technology, its experience with HTS rotating machines and AMSC Windtec’s proven commercial wind turbine design capabilities, we are uniquely equipped to commercialize this breakthrough technology.”

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