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Power Technology

Scientists Create New Type of Superconductor Wires 96

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists in Israel have used technology created at a U.S.-funded national research lab to created a new kind of wire spun from sapphire crystals, that is a vastly better conductor than traditional copper wires. The research could have profound implications for renewable energy since much of the generation is in remote locations. It could help bring more electricity from renewable sources to cities."
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Scientists Create New Type of Superconductor Wires

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @09:15PM (#37335116)

    > as the wires get longer the transmission losses increase

    It's superconducting wire; the point is that there's no transmission loss.

    However, as the length increases, the coolant loss will increase. But even that isn't as bad as it sounds. After all, since the wire is superconducting, the wire itself isn't adding heat to the coolant - it's only the outside that is heating the coolant. So heavily insulated underground wiring would actually work pretty well. And if liquid nitrogen conducts heat well enough, you don't even need active cooling systems at many points (cool one end, and the heat redistributes). I suspect most of the energy spent on cooling is going to spent on the initial cooling - filling that entire pipe with liquid nitrogen before even turning the power on - after which it's much less to maintain it. Also, if the source is cheap and/or renewable (fission/wind/solar/hydro/wave and someday fusion), even 'expensive' cooling may still be worth it. Also also, you don't have to do every line in the world for it to be useful - even doing just the first few miles of heavy line right at the source would be beneficial.

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