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NKT part of project to develop world’s longest superconducting power cable

NKT announced that it is part of a group effort to develop the prototype for what will be the world’s longest superconducting power cable. The project, first announced in 2019, seeks to develop and supply a record-length superconducting cable for use in Munich, Germany.

A press release from NKT said that Stadtwerke München Infrastrukur has now started the first stage development of the project. Called the “SuperLink,” the proposed 12-km-long underground power link would be the longest superconducting power cable solution in the world. It said that the ambitious project, which has seven partners, is an important indication about the future potential of superconducting power cables. The other partners are Linde plc, THEVA, the South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

“We are proud to take part in the early stages of the development,” said NKT Chief Technology Officer Anders Jensen. He noted that SWM and Link where Stadtwerke München and Stadtwerke München Infrastruktur are taking a significant step to leverage superconducting power cables. “It is important to continue to develop solutions to support the transition to renewable energy and the ambitions of the German Energiewende. In NKT, we see superconducting power cables as a part of the future to ensure optimized access to clean energy in larger cities such as Munich.”

The design of the superconducting power cables is extremely compact compared to conventional cable technology and can become a key enabler of the transition to renewable energy in urban areas due to the high power-to-size ratio. The SuperLink is expected to have a power rating of 500 MW and will be installed between two substations in Munich using existing ducts to keep the construction work at a minimum.

A fact sheet also noted that SuperLink will have a power rating of 500 MW and a voltage level of 110 kV; that the plan is to install it in existing ducts; the superconducting cable will be cooled to minus 200ºC in a closed circuit with the environmental harmless refrigerant nitrogen; and it will have a cooling system with redundant back-up coolers.

“With 1.5 million residents, Munich is a great city to develop and live-test the possibilities of superconducting power cables to expand the power grids in urban areas that will be an integral part of the system,” the release said.

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