A consortium, led by Applied Superconductor Limited, is developing a Resistive Fault Current Limiter using magnesium diboride (MgB2) as the superconducting material.
The consortium comprises of device developers Applied Superconductor and Rolls-Royce, technical consultants E.ON New Build and Technology and host distribution network operator Western Power Distribution.
Funding of the project is provided by the Energy Technologies Institute (www.eti.co.uk).
The consortium will design, develop, type-test and commission the limiter which will be installed in an 11kV primary substation in Loughborough. The installation will provide a pro-active solution that will further enable the network to operate in its optimal configuration. The limiter will remain in service for at least two years during which time its performance will be monitored continuously.
The Fault Current Limiter will use a cryogen-free cooling system and the use of MgB2 will provide performance levels difficult to achieve using other superconducting materials. The dry cooling system will allow the limiters to be used in marine applications where large volumes of very cold liquid subject to continuous and variable acceleration are undesirable. MgB2 wire is more robust and lower cost than competing materials and is able to provide a range of Limiter performance able to meet the majority of application requirements.
The project has already delivered a number of radical technical innovations with several patents being developed. In parallel with the development and demonstration work a commercialisation process is under way to prepare Applied Superconductor and its suppliers for the expected volume manufacture once the demonstration has been completed.