High-Power, Low-Cost Superconducting Cable

High-Power, Low-Cost Superconducting Cable

OPEN 2012
Knoxville, Tennessee
Project Term:
02/15/2013 - 03/06/2017

Critical Need:

Our national electric grid has limited ability to store excess energy, so electricity must constantly be over-generated to assure reliable supply. Though wind and solar power are promising clean alternatives to fossil fuels, their natural unpredictability and intermittency make them incapable of delivering the power on-demand necessary to operate today’s grid. The U.S. needs technologies that can cost-effectively store renewable energy for future grid use at any location. Flexible, large-scale storage would create a stronger and more robust electric grid by enabling renewables to contribute to reliable power generation.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Tai-Yang Research Company (TYRC) is developing a superconducting cable, which is a key enabling component for a grid-scale magnetic energy storage device. Superconducting magnetic energy storage systems have not established a commercial foothold because of their relatively low energy density and the high cost of the superconducting material. TYRC is coating their cable in yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO) to increase its energy density. This unique, proprietary cable could be manufactured at low cost because it requires less superconducting material to produce the same level of energy storage as today’s best cables.

Potential Impact:

If successful, TYRC’s advanced, YBCO-based superconducting cable would allow for lower-cost energy storage systems.


A more efficient and reliable grid would be more resilient to potential disruptions.


Electricity generation accounts for over 40% of U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Enabling large-scale contributions of wind and solar power for our electricity generation would result in a substantial decrease in CO2 emissions.


Increases in the availability of wind and solar power would reduce fossil fuel demand, resulting in reduced fuel prices and more stable electricity rates.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Patrick McGrath
Project Contact:
Dr. Chris Rey
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


North Carolina State University
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