Limitations of conventional conductors

Limitations of Conventional Conductors

Conventional electrical equipment is limited by the performance of traditional copper and aluminum conductors. Existing electrical motors, generators, transformers, transmission cables and current limiters typically are built with copper based conductors, utilizing 100’s to 1000’s of strands of wire. As the power requirement increases so does the quantity of the conductor, which in turn increased the system size and weight until ultimately it becomes impractical to build. Copper-based conductors are also inefficient. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that U.S.-wide transmission and distribution losses increased from about 5% in 1970 to 9.5% in 2001 due to higher utilization, heavier congestion, inefficiency and overall equipment failure that resulted in power outages and power quality disturbances. This costs the U.S. economy in excess of $25 billion annually.

Copper wire has less than 1% of the power density of our typical Conductus® wire. This 100 times or more increase in power density reduces the physical number of wire strands required per device; resulting in a significant reduction in size and weight. Conductus® wire also addresses the problem of efficiency by all but eliminating electrical resistance. Devices made with Conductus® wire are extremely efficient providing reduced cost of ownership.

Advanced transmission and distribution technologies are necessary to enhance Smart Grid efficiency, real-time management, throughput and reliability. Existing copper-based systems are prime targets for change through disruptive technology. New superconducting electrical devices, built utilizing Conductus® high efficiency wire, are well positioned to address this challenge.

Copper vs. Conductus

Topic navigation buttons Limitations of Current Conductors Smart Grid Alternatives Quick Fact - The electric power industry is facing many challenges that threaten the utilities' ability to deliver reliable and efficient power.


Typical copper coils