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Superconductors: An Emerging Power Technology



John (Jack) W. Ekin


Superconductors offer effectively zero resistance to the flow of electricity and thus have the potential to significantly reduce Joule energy losses in the distribution and utilization of electric power, as well as the size and weight of power generators and motors. Although superconductivity was first discovered in 1911, temperatures near absolute zero were required for their operation, and so large-scale application of superconductivity was limited until the discovery in 1986 of a new class of oxide superconductors that operate at much higher (although still cryogenic) temperatures. Recent, remarkable progress has been made in the fabrication of practical conductors using the new oxide superconductors. Some of the properties of superconductors (both low- and high-temperature types) and the progress that has been made in overcoming the impediments to their commercialization are reviewed. Also discussed are ongoing demonstration projects for transmission lines, motors, generators, and transformers that are currently being constructed by teams of industry and government researchers to implement and test this new technology in commercial settings.
Proceedings Title
Gaseous Dielectrics X, ed. L. G. Christophorou, J. K. Olthoff, P. Vassiliou, Springer pp. 423-432 (2004)
Conference Dates
March 29-April 2, 2004
Conference Location
Athens, GR


critical current, fabrication, generators, high-Tc superconductor, history, motors, power applications, superconductor, transformers, transmission lines


W., J. (2004), Superconductors: An Emerging Power Technology, Gaseous Dielectrics X, ed. L. G. Christophorou, J. K. Olthoff, P. Vassiliou, Springer pp. 423-432 (2004), Athens, GR, [online], (Accessed June 23, 2024)


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Created December 31, 2004, Updated January 27, 2020