Coated conductors for power applications materials challenges

Significance Statement

A review about the recent progress and the remaining materials challenges in the development of coated conductors (CCs) for superconducting power applications and high magnetic field magnets is reported, with a particular emphasis on the different initiatives being active at present in Europe. The review first summarizes the scientific and technological scope where coated conductors has been raised as a high technology product and then several issues are mentioned showing that there exist still a wide room for performance improvement. The objectives and coated conductors architectures being explored in the scope of the European project EUROTAPES  are widely described and their potential in generating novel breakthroughs emphasized. The overall goal of the project is to create synergy among academic and industrial partners to go well beyond the state of the art in several scientific issues related to coated conductorsenhanced performances and to develop nanoengineered coated conductors with reduced costs, using high throughput manufacturing processes which incorporate quality control tools and so lead to higher yields.

Three general application targets are considered which will require different conductor architectures and performances and so the strategy is to combine vacuum and chemical solution deposition approaches to achieve the targeted goals. The final objective of the project is to deliver long lengths (+ 500 m) of coated conductors at pre-commercial costs (~ 100 €/kA m) and to select the most promising technological choices. The three ranges of targeted magnetic fields requiring to use tapes working at different temperatures are the following: First, the low magnetic field range (< 1 T) which is suitable for cable and FCL systems which could work at around 77 K using liquid N2. Second, a high magnetic field range (3 – 5 T) which at present would require placing the CCs at temperatures in the range of 30 – 60 K to achieve high enough critical currents and cooling would be achieved using cryocoolers. Power systems which could be generated with these conductors would be mainly rotating machines and SMES. Finally, ultra – high magnetic fields (> 15 T) to build magnets for accelerators, fusion or NMR could only be achieved cooling at lower temperatures (~ 5 K) using liquid Helium.

A few examples of the different coated conductors approaches are described related to defining new conductor architectures and shapes, as well as vortex pinning enhancement through novel paths towards nanostructure generation. Particular emphasis is made on solution chemistry approaches. We also describe the efforts being made in transforming the coated conductors into assembled conductors and cables which achieve appealing mechanical and electromagnetic performances for power systems. Finally, we briefly mention some outstanding superconducting power application projects being active at present, in Europe and worldwide, to exemplify the strong advances in reaching the demands to integrate them in a new electrical engineering paradigm.

 

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Journal Reference

Superconductor Science and Technology, Volume 27, Issue 4, article id. 044003 (2014).

Obradors, Xavier; Puig, Teresa.

AA( Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona, CSIC, Campus de la UAB, 08193 Bellaterra, Catalonia, Spain), AB( Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona, CSIC, Campus de la UAB, 08193 Bellaterra, Catalonia, Spain)

Abstract

This manuscript reports on the recent progress and the remaining materials challenges in the development of coated conductors (CCs) for power applications and magnets, with a particular emphasis on the different initiatives being active at present in Europe. We first summarize the scientific and technological scope where coated conductors have been raised as a complex technology product and then we show that there exists still much room for performance improvement. The objectives and CC architectures being explored in the scope of the European project EUROTAPES are widely described and their potential in generating novel breakthroughs emphasized. The overall goal of this project is to create synergy among academic and industrial partners to go well beyond the state of the art in several scientific issues related to CCs’ enhanced performances and to develop nanoengineered coated conductors with reduced costs, using high throughput manufacturing processes which incorporate quality control tools and so lead to higher yields. Three general application targets are considered which will require different conductor architectures and performances and so the strategy is to combine vacuum and chemical solution deposition approaches to achieve the targeted goals. A few examples of such approaches are described related to defining new conductor architectures and shapes, as well as vortex pinning enhancement through novel paths towards nanostructure generation. Particular emphasis is made on solution chemistry approaches. We also describe the efforts being made in transforming the coated conductors into assembled conductors and cables which achieve appealing mechanical and electromagnetic performances for power systems. Finally, we briefly mention some outstanding superconducting power application projects being active at present, in Europe and worldwide, to exemplify the strong advances in reaching the demands to integrate them in a new electrical engineering paradigm.

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