In the News: University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office

As published by the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office:

Advanced Conductor Technology Commercializing CU High Performance Superconducting Cable. Company advancing work on thinner, more versatile superconducting cables for nuclear fusion power, military power transmission.

BOULDER, Colo., March 6, 2014 – Advanced Conductor Technologies and the University of Colorado have completed an exclusive license agreement that allows the company to continue its work developing high-temperature superconducting cables to provide flexible, high-current density power transmission.

High-temperature superconducting (HTS) cables were initially developed for use in metropolitan electrical networks because of their efficiency and large transmission capacity. Danko van der Laan, a physicist with appointments at CU-Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has developed a technique to make thinner, more flexible HTS cables that can carry the same (or greater) current. These more-compact cables (conductor on round core, CORC) have immediate applications in electrical grids and scientific and medical equipment; they may also enable HTS power transmission for military applications and in data centers.

A coil and cross-section of the high-temperature superconducting cable invented by van der Laan. In the center are copper wires bundled with nylon and plastic insulation. The outer rings are a series of superconducting tapes wrapped in spirals around the copper.

After optioning the technology from CU in 2012, the company received a Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant for $1M from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop its CORC cables for use in powerful magnets that can be used to generate nuclear fusion power. The company began work on this grant in April 2013. Earlier this year, the company was also awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. Navy to develop its CORC cables for shipboard power transmission cables.

“We recently received our first commercial order for a high-current CORC magnet cable and are currently winding the cable needed to fill the order,” said van der Laan. “We’re optimistic that more orders will follow, enabling us to scale up our cabling facility.” The company has leased space in Boulder and has expanded its staff to three full-time employees.

“In collaboration with ACT, the university has filed for extensive international patent coverage of this valuable technology,” added Ted Weverka of the CU Technology Transfer Office. “We are proud to be working with ACT, and excited to see such an aggressive startup spin out of the university.”

About Advanced Conductor Technologies
Advanced Conductor Technologies LLC focuses on the commercialization of high-temperature superconducting cables using the new cable technology developed by its founder, Danko van der Laan, while at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The cable technology opens the door to new markets that require flexible, high-current density power transmission cables. It also forms the basis for the first practical superconducting cable for high-field magnets that operate at magnetic fields above 20 Tesla, or at temperatures exceeding 20 Kelvin.