Super cool cable runs efficiency through Essen

Extra energy efficient cables are so hot right now – in a freezing cold way. German power firm RWE has just installed the world’s longest “superconductor” – a cable which […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Extra energy efficient cables are so hot right now – in a freezing cold way.

German power firm RWE has just installed the world’s longest “superconductor” – a cable which loses zero energy while carrying energy because it is super-cooled by nitrogen.

The ice cold cable, made by Nexans, stretches one kilometre between two substations in the city centre of Essen, Germany.

The 10,000-volt superconductor cable replaces a conventional 110,000-volt transmission line. It transports five times more electricity than conventional cables.

A superconductor.
A superconductor.

RWE – which owns UK energy supplier npower – said this could reduce the number of transformer stations needed in city centres, freeing up “valuable sites” in city centres for other uses.

On Wednesday the company unveiled the multi-million pound trial of the cable in Essen, called AmpaCity, which was partly funded by the German Government.

Dr Arndt Neuhaus, CEO of RWE Deutschland said: “Together with the city and our project partners we are translating a pioneering pilot project into practice on a unique scale.”

Frank Schmidt, Head of the Superconductor Division at Nexans said the technology could eventually be used elsewhere.

He said: “[Essen’s] grid typology and the associated problems are symptomatic of large cities, also outside Germany; the superconductor involvement is exemplary. This project is a milestone on the path towards commercialisation of superconducting operating resources.”