Is this experimental unit the most powerful superconducting transformer constructed to date? It’s already bringing sweeping changes to transformer and substation design.

A U.S. industry team of engineers and scientists, led by Waukesha Electric Systems (WES), announces an important breakthrough in electric technology by successfully testing a large (1MVA) experimental version of a new type of power transformer. The new, superconducting transformers will be smaller and lighter, having a much greater lifetime. Two differences in design make these new transformers revolutionary. First, it is designed with high temperature superconductor (HTS) materials instead of copper windings. Second, a relatively small refrigeration system replaces the large heat exchangers of the traditional oil-filled power transformer. When developed, the typical 30MVA HTS transformer will require approximately 200 lbs. of superconductor, which has insignificant electrical resistance, and therefore directly generates no heat. Compare this to the many thousands of pounds of copper required in a conventional transformer design. These copper windings are a major source of heating and electrical loss. For more information about the superconducting transformer, contact Sam Metha at WES, (414) 547-0121.