Wednesday, July 25, 2012

No. 571: Superconductive power transmission is advancing fast toward practical application (July 25, 2012)

The existing power cable loses about 10% of electricity being transmitted. However, a superconducting power cable is free from impedance should it be cooled by liquid nitrogen at 196 degrees below zero. In the case of direct current transmission by superconducting cable, power loss is as small as 0.5% even if the transmission distance is 1,000 km. Research agencies involved in the development in superconducting power transmission are busily occupied with advancing the technology toward practical application.

NTT Facilities is planning to build a mega solar with a capacity of 60,000-100,000 kW on the coast devastated by last year’s earthquake and transmit generated electricity by superconducting power cables of 2 km long. The company will start to build the mega solar plant within the year with a subsidy from the government. Sakutaro Yamaguchi of Chubu University will conduct experiment of a 200 m superconducting power cable coming August or September. The power cable uses electric wire made of cuprate and is covered by the highly thermal steel tube. He plans to transmit electricity from the transforming station to data centers by superconducting power cable. If the experiment is successful, he reckons that transmission loss and heat generation are controlled to reduce the power consumption of the data center up to 40%. Railway Technical Research Institute will start the experiment to run electric trains using a new system that transmits electricity by superconducting power cable with a capacity of 1.5 kilovolts and 10 ampere to electric trains traveling in the Tokyo Metropolitan area.

National Institutefor Materials Science and Institute for Advanced Biosciences of Keio University clarified the mechanism that boiling up some kinds of iron components by alcohol beverage induces superconductivity. They presumed that organic acids contained in alcohol beverage eliminate extra iron. At this moment, they made it clear that malic acid, citric acid, and beta alanine induce superconductivity. They confirmed that each of the three compounds will become superconducting if iron tallurium compound is boiled up with water in which the three compounds are dissolved. Red wine, in particular, is supposed to be highly competent in inducing superconductivity because it contains the three compounds a lot. The iron tellurium compound cannot become superconducting as it is, though it has a similar structure with substances that can be superconducting. 

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