Advanced HTS Conductors Customized for Fusion
Project Innovation + Advantages:
Rare earth barium copper oxide (REBCO) tapes enable >20-T (Tesla) magnets in compact, high-field magnetic-fusion devices. Commercial REBCO tapes are expensive at $300/kA-m (kiloampere-meter) based on the operating condition of HTS (high-temperature superconducting) magnets for compact fusion energy systems. The tape cost must be reduced to approximately $10/kA-m for HTS-based fusion systems to be commercially cost-competitive. Almost all commercial REBCO tapes use a generic high-temperature-resistant alloy, limiting their yield strength to ~700 MPa (101,526 psi), a constraining factor for ultra-high-field fusion devices in which the mechanical integrity of the superconducting magnet is critically essential. The University of Houston aims to develop HTS conductors with an increased critical current at >20 T and lower raw materials cost for commercial fusion systems. The team will employ an advanced metal-organic chemical vapor deposition process to reduce costs while achieving high critical-current thresholds and use high-strength alloys to increase the yield strength of REBCO tapes. These innovations could reduce the cost of HTS conductors by a factor of 30.
Successful development of fusion energy science and technology could lead to a safe, carbon-free, abundant energy source for developed and emerging economies.