American Superconductor Corp., Devens, Mass., recently announced that it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and its National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) to validate the economics of a full 10MW-class superconductor wind turbine. Under the 12-month program, AMSC Windtec, Klagenfurt, Austria, a wholly owned subsidiary of AMSC, will analyze the cost of a full 10MW-class superconductor wind turbine, which will include a direct drive superconductor generator and all other components, including the blades, hub, power electronics, nacelle, tower, and controls.

The NWTC will then benchmark and evaluate the wind turbine’s economic impact, both in terms of its initial cost and its overall cost of energy. “The DOE and its NREL recognize that wind power will represent a significant fraction of our power production in the years to come,” says NREL Director Dan Arvizu. “High temperature superconductors hold promise for helping lower the overall cost of wind energy. We are pleased to be teaming with AMSC to move this technology forward.”