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Superconductor for hydropower – and potentially wind

Converteam has developed a high temperature superconducting hydropower generator that could also be transferred for wind power applications.

By Renewable Energy Focus staff

Converteam’s 1.7 MW HYDROGENIE superconducting generator has already gone through static testing and will be installed at the Hirschaid run-of-river hydropower plant in Bavaria, Germany, this summer. The plant is owned and operated by E.ON Wasserkraft GmbH.

The high temperature superconducting generator is said to reach generator efficiency of up to 99%, and reduce size and weight by up to 70% compared to “a conventional solution,” Converteam says.

Furthermore, the generator technology is transferable to the wind power industry.

Derek Grieve, Director Technology at Converteam, says: “The recent critical milestone in testing of HYDROGENIE was the successful passing of current (in this case 70 A) through the rotor coils when they were cooled to below the superconducting transition temperature.

“This was achieved with only half the defined cooling power applied to the coils, and confirms the thermal and electrical design of the coils, cooling and insulation systems.

“HYDROGENIE looks set to change the fundamental economics of the renewable energy industry with generator efficiency reaching up to 99%.”

Partners in the project are:

  • E.ON Wassekraft – providing the Hirschaid test site
  • Zenergy Power GmbH – manufactures the HTS coils
  • Stirling Cryogenics BV – supplies coolers and the rotating interface
  • Vector Fields, Cobham Technical Services, KEMA and the Silesian University of Technology – provide analysis tools and testing support

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This article is featured in:
Energy infrastructure  •  Other marine energy and hydropower  •  Wind power