RWE Tests Superconductor Cable Able to Carry 5 Times More Power

Apr 29, 2014 5:35 am ET

April 29 (Bloomberg) -- RWE AG, Germany’s largest power producer, starts tests this week on a superconductor able to carry five times more electricity than conventional lines.

After the 1-kilometer (0.6-mile) cable is cooled to minus 200 degrees Celsius (minus 328 degrees Fahrenheit) using nitrogen, it produces almost no heat or electrical resistance, according to a RWE presentation. That means it can transfer more power without the losses experienced by today’s power lines.

Two years of testing starts tomorrow, the first step on making the technology viable on an industrial scale, RWE said. The technology could eventually replace the high-voltage power lines used to move electricity from power stations.

The project will cost 14 million euros ($19.4 million) of which the Federal Economy Ministry will provide about 6 million euros. RWE said it hopes to save as much as 15 percent in investment and operating costs by using the new technology.