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Superconducting cables for sustainable energy transition

Project description

Connecting the electrical grid with superconductivity

Superconducting medium-voltage cables could become the preferred solution for energy transmission from renewable generation sites to the electricity grid. Onshore cables can save on size, and offshore cables eliminate the need for costly converter stations required by high voltage DC cables. The EU-funded SCARLET project will design, manufacture and test liquid-nitrogen-cooled cables based on high-temperature superconductivity as well as liquid-hydrogen-cooled magnesium diboride cables. The project will also test a high-current superconducting fault current limiter module for grid protection. The use of superconductor technology can accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon society by offering a 15 % reduction in total cost for offshore windfarms and creating 5 000 new jobs in sustainable energy.


Superconducting medium-voltage cables, based on HTS and MgB2 materials, have the potential to become the preferred solution for energy transmission from many renewable energy sites to the electricity grid. Onshore HTS cables provide a compact design, which preserves the environment in protected areas and minimizes land use in urban areas where space is limited. Offshore HTS cables compete on cost and – compared to conventional HVDC cables – have the clear benefit of eliminating the need for large and costly converter stations on the offshore platforms. MgB2 cables in combination with safe liquid hydrogen transport directly from renewable energy generation sites to e.g. ports and heavy industries, introduce a new paradigm of two energy vectors used simultaneously in the future.

Both HTS, cooled with liquid nitrogen, and MgB2, cooled with liquid hydrogen, MVDC superconducting cables will be designed, manufactured, and tested, including a six-month test for the MgB2 cable. For grid protection, a high-current superconducting fault current limiter module will be designed and tested. Furthermore, the technology developments will be supported by techno-economic analyses, and a study of elpipes, large cross-section conductors for high-power transfer, will be performed.

The superconductor technology developments will accelerate the energy transition towards a low-carbon society by the direct key impacts of the project:
• 30% LCOE reduction for offshore windfarm export cables
• 15% reduction in total cost of entire offshore windfarms
• Possibility to transfer 0.5 GW in the form of H2 and 1 GW electric energy in one combined system
• Installation of cables for 90 GW transmission capacity by the consortium partners by 2050
• Creation of 5 000 European jobs within the field of sustainable energy



Net EU contribution
€ 1 473 750,00
Sem saelandsveg 11
7465 Trondheim

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Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (14)