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Superconductors has reached the age of majority and South Korea – Environmental digest

Superconductors are of legal age and of South Korea

South Korea the largest to date, ordering in superconducting cables. to be used in power networks of Seoul, providing reduced energy losses during transportation to the consumer.

Over a hundred years ago the Danish Kammerling physicist Heike Onnes (Heike Kamerlingh Onnes) found that the electrical resistance of mercury drops to zero when you put the metal in liquid helium, superconductors are today used in high-power electric mains.

Superconducting materials are able to transport 10 times more energy for the same conductor cross-section than the wires of the usual copper. Of course, part of the energy will have to spend on maintaining low temperature of a superconductor by using liquid nitrogen, but even so the power loss will be lower than in conventional cable made of copper that turns into heat 7 to 10 percent of its electricity. Therefore, an increasing number of countries, among them South Korea, strive to minimize the loss of electricity in networks, especially in light of the introduction of smart technologies and Smart Grid-readiness stage-electric vehicles .

All thelinks of one chain: power plant, power transmission lines, control and monitoring of consumption, energy storage. reasonable consumption. And optimization of each of these blocks leads to a tremendous increase in the efficiency of the whole system.

The South Korean company LS Cable has ordered a delivery of over 3 million meters of superconducting cable from the American company American Superconductor.

This superconducting conductor made of a ceramic compound yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO – IBOM), which is one of the “high temperature” superconductors, discovered in 1986. This material retains the properties of superconductivity at a relatively high temperature of 93 K or -180, which means that it can be cooled with liquid nitrogen.

Unlike “hot” superconductors, the superconductors made of metals must be cooled to a temperature below 30 Celunol or -243 degrees Celsius, using liquid helium, making them very expensive and unsuitable for commercial use.

Almost 25 years it took to bring a “hot” superconductor to mass production, since it was very difficult to find a way of producing sufficiently flexible conductors from brittle ceramics. So to give the conduit the necessary properties required coatings of copper, stainless steel or bronze, which gave the material the necessary strength.

Replacement of existing networks of superconducting not so difficult as it may seem from the beginning, as the cooling system of conductors already used for the removal of excess heat from the copper media. “You only need to replace the refrigerator,” says University of Bristol Professor Anthony Carrington.

Actually the difference between conductor and superconductor is the availability of inexpensive additional equipment, which pumps the coolant through the cable, but outside is even impossible to distinguish from the usual superconducting cable.

In the near future to implement superconductor technology in electric highways intends omnipresent China. The USA plans to combine the three main the country’s electrical grid using superconducting cables that will not only reduce electroputere, but in General will increase the efficiency of transportation and power generation.