American Superconductor Corp. recently announced its shipment of four coils, manufactured from high temperature superconducting (HTS) wires, to Reliance Electric, a business unit of Rockwell Automation. The coils will serve as the key component in the world’s first commercial-scale 1000 hp HTS motor.

“This shipment is a major milestone for our company and for the growth of the new superconductor industry,” said Greg Yurek, American Superconductor’s president and CEO. “HTS motors with power outputs over 1000 hp will be much smaller and lighter than conventional copper-wire motors of the same power rating, and they will be more efficient.”

According to industry and government reports, the market for industrial electric motors, with a power rating of 1000 hp and higher, is currently $1.3 billion per year worldwide. This is expected to grow to about $2.4 billion over the next 10 years. Such motors are used in industrial manufacturing operations and power plants for driving pumps, fans, and compressors. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, these motors use 25% of all electricity produced in the United States.

American Superconductor is now manufacturing the HTS wire for the next prototype motors, which will have a power output of 5000 hp. The first 1000 hp motor, which will be manufactured by Reliance Electric, will be an AC synchronous, air-core design. Four HTS coils will be mounted on the rotor, designed to rotate at 1800 rpm. A cryo refrigerator will cool the HTS rotor coils.

The 1000 hp and 5000 hp motors are being developed under the auspices of a U.S. Department of Energy program, known as the Superconductivity Partnership Initiative. This is a collaborative effort by government and private industry designed to accelerate the introduction of HTS electric power devices to the marketplace. The SPI brings together researchers, manufacturers, systems integrators, and end users to develop and demonstrate a variety of HTS applications. For more information, visit