Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

COCON — Result In Brief

Project ID: 508273
Funded under: FP6-SME
Country: Germany

Cost-effective, long-length superconducting tapes

EU-funded researchers made major technology advances regarding superconducting tapes. Significant decreases in cost could finally make the technology marketable and particularly attractive to the power sector.
Cost-effective, long-length superconducting tapes
Superconductors are a class of materials that exhibit almost infinite conduction (almost no resistance to current flow) when supercooled to temperatures near absolute zero KelvinThe supercooling process requires special conditions, equipment and materials and the discovery of so-called high-temperature superconductors (HTSs) was heralded by the electronics community as a major breakthrough.

HTSs in fact also require low temperatures; the ‘high-temperature’ reference is relative to their near-absolute–zero sisters.

Among the most researched HTS materials is yttrium-barium-copper-oxide (YBCO). YBCO has been used extensively in HTS coated conductors (CCs), flexible coated tapes capable of manufacture at lengths on the tens of metres with great potential in power applications.

One of the major obstacles to commercialisation is achieving high-performance long-length CCs at a competitive cost.

European researchers initiated the ‘Coated conductor by economic processsing route’ (COCON) project to develop new YBCO CC technology enabling economical production.

CCs consist of a metallic substrate, a so-called buffer layer and a superconducting layer on top. COCON scientists made important technical advances in all three components.

Using an easily deformable nickel-tungsten alloy with good mechanical properties as the metal substrate, the consortium successfully produced high-quality tapes up to 100 metres in length using a conventional batch process. Even more importantly, the scientists repeated the results in the first-ever utilisation of a continuous crystallisation process.

Novel precursor chemistry was developed for chemical solution deposition (CSD) of the lanthanum-zirkonate (LZO) buffer layer resulting in a patent application.

The consortium made a major breakthrough in deposition of the YBCO superconducting layer, successfully applying it with the CSD method. Most competitors utilise costly physical vacuum deposition (PVD) techniques at least for some of the layered architecture of the CCs.

As a result of optimisations, COCON scientists demonstrated for the first time ever the use of ink-jet coating to deposit buffer layers. Outcomes of this particular research direction also led to a patent application.

The HTS CCs sector is technologically poised to take advantage of the major manufacturing process breakthroughs of COCON leading to important cost reductions. Potential applications abound including generators, motors and cables as well as magnets and other market sectors.

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