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Environment-friendly Next generation technology “superconductivity cable”

Interesting “Technology world”

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“Superconductivity” is a dream technology which can reduce 1,060,000 tons of CO<sub>2</sub> per year.

Oil must be burnt to generate electricity...But that causes the global warming.

Electricity is generated in thermal plants, nuclear power plants and so on. Especially, as you all may know, thermal power plants which generate electricity by burning oil are mainly used. However, if oil is burnt, CO2 is produced and it is said to warm the globe. And if the global warming advances, it is said to have an influence on the ecosystem.

So, many countries are tackling with the emission reduction of CO2. In such a situation, FURUKAWA ELECTRIC thought of checking “the waste” in the mechanism of generation. What was found in the process of checking was “the waste which is produced during electricity transmission.” Hearing about transmitting electricity, you might have an image that electricity runs smoothly. But in fact, strong force (voltage) is needed when electricity runs because there is “electrical resistance”. Comparing walking on the street with walking in water, walking in water is harder. That's because there is resistance of water, and same goes for electricity. A great real of power is needed to generate and send electricity to the destination. That is, if it can be done with small amount of power, it will be led to “environment-friendliness”.

If superconductivity power cable is used, the amount of electricity 2,600,000 people use per year can be reduced.

What appears here is “the superconductivity technology”. Because electrical resistance disappears in a superconductivity status, energy needed to transmit electricity can be reduced. By necessity, oil consumption and CO2 emission can be reduced by just that much. That is, you can afford to say it's “an environment-friendly technology” which reduces environmental burden.

In the actual number, 3,120 GW/h of electricity per year can be saved if 4,000 km of copper cable which has been used for 30 years is replaced to superconductivity power cable in 2050. It is equivalent to the amount of electricity consumption that 2,600,000 people consume per year and as a CO2 reduction effect, 1,060,000 tons per year can be reduced. Generally, as a large sized crude oil carrier weighs 200,000~300,000 tons, it is surprising that the amount of CO2 equivalent to more than 5 of them can be reduced. What's more, as it is more lightweight and compact compared with existing power lines, its installation cost can be smaller.

Copper cable

Superconductivity cable

If existing copper cable is replaced to superconductivity cable…

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Column What is superconductivity in the first place?

In a nutshell, superconductivity is a phenomenon that material's electrical resistance becomes almost zero when it is cooled down to certain temperature. Non electrical resistance means that sufficient power needed to flow electricity (= voltage) becomes unnecessary. A Dutch research institute discovered this phenomenon by cooling down mercury to -26°C in 1911.

After that, similar phenomenon was confirmed in titanium alloys and so on. Nowadays, it is applied to various fields like medical services and generation. In addition, “high-temperature superconductivity materials” in which superconductivity phenomenon occurs without being cooled down to the supercool region are increasing and more advanced “ordinary-temperature superconductivity materials” are being researched.

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  • 01 Heat release technology
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