Despite the clean energy provided by wind turbines, they remain expensive to build and install, especially the offshore type. To help reduce this cost, the EU together with nine more companies and science groups and led by Spain’s Tecnalia, have unveiled a project to develop superconductor technology for wind turbines. The entire project is to span four years.
The Cryogenic Engineering Division of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology hope to reduce the bulk of wind turbines by incorporating superconductors. Since superconductors do not have any resistance to electricity flow below a particular temperature, thus allowing electricity conduction without any losses, the team is researching the use of a cryostat to cool the superconductors to 235 degrees below zero.
This would make electricity transmission more efficient while also resulting in an overall decrease in the cost as well as bulk of the turbines.
By the end of the first year, the researchers behind SUPRAPOWER hope to authenticate their modular rotating cryostat theory. Afterwards, a provisional design of the superconductor scale generator will be made.
Before the prototype is ready for the field, however, the end product would undergo rigorous testing in the lab. The aim of the SUPRAPOWER project is to ensure maximum efficiency of wind turbines so as to fulfil the EU’s objective of reducing emissions by 20% below the emission levels in 1990 by 2020.