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High-Power Superconductors

Grid Logic
ARPA-E Award: 
Lapeer, MI
Project Term: 
03/05/2013 to 06/04/2016
Project Status: 
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Outdated and inefficient transmission components are stretching our electrical grid system to its limit. There is a critical need to develop advanced conductors that can efficiently handle the high power demand of a modern grid. High-temperature superconductive materials hold great promise for grid applications, but their widespread use has been hindered by high manufacturing cost.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
Grid Logic is developing a new type of electrical superconductor that could significantly improve the performance (in $/kA-m) and lower the cost of high-power energy generation, transmission, and distribution. Grid Logic is using a new manufacturing technique to coat very fine particles of superconducting material with an extremely thin layer--less than 1/1,000 the width of a human hair--of a low-cost metal composite. This new manufacturing process is not only much simpler and more cost effective than the process used to make today's state-of-the-art high-power superconductors, but also it makes superconductive cables easier to handle and improves their electrical properties in certain applications.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, Grid Logic would create superconductors for high-power electric utility applications that are more energy efficient at 10% of the cost of today's conductors.
The widespread use of superconductors in utility applications would increase the reliability and efficiency of the U.S. electric grid.
More efficient superconductors could help reduce U.S. electricity consumption, and in turn reduce the harmful emissions created by coal-fired power plants.
The success of this project could give the U.S. a technological lead in advanced electrical manufacturing.
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Patrick McGrath
Project Contact: 
Dr. Matthew Holcomb
North Carolina State University
Release Date: