11th EPRI Superconductivity Conference Opens Oct. 28 at UH

Conference Focuses on Using Superconductors to Generate and Transmit Electricity

Twenty-five years after Paul Chu discovered the first high-temperature superconductor above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen at the University of Houston, researchers will meet at the University to discuss progress in using the technology to generate and transmit electricity.

The 11th Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Superconductivity Conference, co-hosted by the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston and CenterPoint Energy, opens Monday evening and continues through Wednesday at the Hilton University of Houston. It features 20 presentations from academic and industry researchers, along with tours of the Texas Center for Superconductivity and the UH Energy Research Park.

The Electric Power Research Institute conducts research, development and demonstration projects related to the generation, delivery and use of electricity. The international membership supporting  EPRI’s work comprises more than 1,000 organizations, including electric utilities, government agencies, corporations and public and private entities.

Steven Eckroad, EPRI technical executive, said superconductivity is just a small part of the institute’s research portfolio. But next week’s conference will focus solely on superconductivity.

Venkat Selvamanickam, M.D. Anderson Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity’s Applied Research Hub, earned his graduate degree at UH and returned to the University in 2008. He brought to UH the research and development labs for SuperPower Inc., a leading U.S. high-temperature superconducting wire company he helped found after graduating. Selvamanickam will give an update on the status of high-temperature superconducting wire development on Tuesday.

Philippe Masson, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and principal investigator with the Texas Center for Superconductivity, will talk about superconducting generators for offshore wind farms, another promising area.

Eckroad said a session on Wednesday by William Hassenzahl of Advanced Energy Analysis also is likely to draw interest.

Hassenzahl will sum up recent publications on the green aspects of superconducting applications, and Eckroad said that has received a lot of attention lately.

He said several superconducting technology applications fit with the push for green technology: Long distance direct current superconducting wire transmits more efficiently than conventional wire, and superconducting motors can boost the power in wind turbines because the motors are lighter, allowing them to be larger and therefore, more powerful.

For more information about the conference, see http://www.cvent.com/events/11th-epri-superconductivity-conference/event-summary-53317cc382324286b16d355a85c88cb9.aspx