7/3/2022 - Nexans and its partners have won a project from Bpifrance (French Public Investment Bank) that calls for the installation of two superconducting DC cables near Montparnasse station in Paris, a unique integration of such cables into a railway system.
A press release said that the project is part of the “Investissements d’Avenir” (Investments for the Future) initiative coordinated by SNCF Réseau. It represents the first time that these types of cables will be integrated into a rail network and is set to be the first permanent installation in France on any network. With their revolutionary technology, these power cables will help secure the network
at a time when rail traffic is constantly growing in mega-cities.
Built in 1840 in Paris, Montparnasse is France’s fourth-largest train station, with more than 50 million passengers annually and more than 90 million expected in 2030. SNCF Réseau will thus need more power to run an ever-increasing number of trains. And superconductor cable technology will help provide the increased electrical power required to meet the needs of this growing rail traffic. The superconducting cables will make use of Montparnasse station’s infrastructure by installing the cables in existing conduits.
“Only a superconducting cable can combine a reduced diameter and exceptional power to deliver the performance required by SNCF Réseau: 5.3 MW per conduit, or 3,500 A to 1,500 VDC,” the release said. “This also enables our customer to save on substantial implementation costs related to infrastructure modification, avoid potential disruptions to rail and road traffic, and limit risks in terms of execution time and the commissioning date.”
The release observed that superconducting power cables offer unparalleled advantages as they have zero resistance, so they can transport electricity with minimal power loss and thus contribute to making the world more sustainable. “This project illustrates perfectly how their compact nature enables them to transport very high power through a limited space. A single superconducting cable can replace multiple copper cables. Also, it has a minimal footprint, making high-capacity 1,500 V connections possible, which in turn improves the safety of the stations’ power supply.”