Advanced Conductor Technologies awarded U.S. Air Force Phase I STTR

Advanced Conductor Technologies LLC together with researchers from The Center for Superconducting and Magnetic Materials at Ohio State University have received a $100,000 Phase I STTR award from the Air Force. The grant titled “High-temperature superconducting SMES for airborne applications” is for developing lightweight, airborne, energy storage magnets using ACT’s high-temperature superconducting cables.

Technical Abstract
The Air Force has needs for compact, lightweight and efficient energy storage devices that do not experience significant performance degradation after many operating cycles. We propose to develop a superconducting magnetic energy storage device (SMES) that is constructed from high-temperature superconducting helical REBCO coated conductor cables. The high charge and discharge powers require a high-current cable, because the voltage of air borne applications is limited to 270 V. During Phase I we will optimize the SMES configuration to minimize weight and volume for different stored energies between 150 kJ and 100 MJ. We will determine the requirements for the superconducting cable from which a 200 kJ to 1 MJ SMES will be wound. The feasibility of the helical REBCO cable for SMES systems will be determined by measuring its mechanical strength, its performance in high-magnetic fields and the ac losses in changing magnetic fields. These results will help us determine at what temperature the SMES can be operated, and what type of cooling is required. Finally we will design a SMES system that will be constructed during Phase II.

Commercial applications and other benefits
The benefits of this work are efficient, high-power and high-energy density superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) devices for airborne applications within the Department of Defense. The markets of our SMES will also include power grid storage systems.