better future

for the next generations

Here we provide press statements and releases, as well as useful information about superconducting systems prepared in the FAQ Section.
We also provide related links to our partners, topics of interest and to our social media account.
For further information or interview requests please contact: Viktor Stark

Here you will find some interesting answers


What are superconductors?
Superconductors suddenly lose their electrical resistance below a certain temperature, the so-called transition temperature. This phenomenon was first discovered by the physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes in 1911 during his research into the liquefaction of helium in mercury. Other metals and metallic compounds also develop superconducting characteristics at very low temperatures.

The transition temperature of metallic superconductors could only be achieved by complex cooling methods with liquid helium. The use of this technology was therefore limited to research and medicine. In 1986, Alexander Müller and Georg Bednorz discovered materials that lose their electrical resistance at less lower temperatures. These so-called high-temperature superconductors can be brought to operating temperature cost-effectively with liquid nitrogen. This discovery opened up the possibility of using superconductors industrially.
What are modern superconductors composed of?
Modern superconductors, which lose their electrical resistance at temperatures as low as -200°C, are brittle ceramic materials. Special processes had to be developed to produce flexible wires from these materials. In the meantime, tapes with superconducting coatings are being produced on an industrial scale. The layer architecture of these strip conductors consists of: a thin metal strip as carrier, one or more buffer layers, the superconducting layer and a protective layer.
What do modern superconductors do?
Superconductors have no electrical resistance during operation and therefore conduct currents practically without losses. They also transfer considerably more current than conventional conductors of the same cross-section. These properties enable the construction of highly efficient, compact and lightweight busbars, motors, generators, etc. Superconductors thus contribute to energy and resource efficiency.
Doesn't the cooling of the superconductors consume more energy than their use saves?
Medicine and research use low-temperature superconductors for certain purposes, the cooling of which is extremely energy consuming. Modern high-temperature superconductors, on the other hand, can be cooled very energy-efficiently. The power consumption of the cooling system is much lower than the electrical losses avoided by using superconductors. The cost of cooling energy is already taken into account in all data on the energy consumption of superconducting systems. On the other hand, it is often overlooked that conventional energy systems also require powerful cooling in many cases.
What is the difference between modern superconductors and superconductors 10 years ago?
The first generation of high-temperature superconductors (1G) was rolled from thin silver tubes filled with superconducting material in a powder-in-tube process. The use of silver made this wire very expensive. It was also costly to ensure consistently high wire quality.

The new wire generation (2G) is produced by continuous (chemical or physical) coating processes. These technologies guarantee a constant high current carrying capacity of the material. The processing properties of the wire have also been significantly improved. Economies of scale in industrial production will further reduce the prices of modern superconducting wires in the future.
What is a superconducting busbar system?
A superconducting busbar system transmits direct currents in the two- to three-digit kilo ampere range without electrical losses and heat being generated by line resistances.

The system consists of a superconductor bundle thermally encapsulated in a cryostat. The system also includes power supplies that connect the superconductor to the normal conducting network and the cold supply. In the superconductor itself, no heat can be generated during current transfer without electrical resistance. The cryostat uses vacuum and superinsulation to limit cold losses to a minimum. Most of the cooling effort is caused by the transition from the warm conventional conductor to the superconductor, which operates at -200°C. The cryostat uses vacuum and superinsulation to limit cooling losses to a minimum. Liquid nitrogen serves as the cooling medium.
What are the advantages of superconducting busbars?
Superconducting busbar systems are up to 90% smaller and correspondingly lighter than conventional copper or aluminium busbars. This not only reduces the space required, but also the construction costs for the installation of the system. In addition, they emit no heat and have practically no external magnetic fields. The cost of security measures is significantly reduced. The elimination of resistance losses during electricity transport also saves energy costs to a considerable extent.

Still have questions? Just contact us for answers.