In industrialized countries, the expansion of power systems has become very difficult. According to power utility consortiums such as CEATI and EPRI, only drastic changes to the current power grid architecture, together with the introduction of new technologies can prevent the high social costs associated with a reduction in reliability of energy supply.
Dr. Frédéric Sirois, École Polytechnique de Montréal
In industrialized countries, the expansion of power systems has become very difficult. According to power utility consortiums such as CEATI and EPRI, only drastic changes to the current power grid architecture, together with the introduction of new technologies can prevent the high social costs associated with a reduction in reliability of energy supply. High temperature superconductors (HTS) are among the most promising technologies to achieve this goal. In particular, superconducting equipments are about 50% smaller and lighter than their conventional counterpart and withstand temporary overloads more easily, which is critical to peak load management. HTS materials also have the unique property of being naturally fault current limiters, a property with no classical counterpart and which open new doors for operating power systems. Most current research about HTS focuses on the materials themselves and especially, coated conductors. It is expected that within 5 – 8 years, the cost of coated conductors will be competitive with copper, based on the rising trends of metal prices. Meanwhile, large-scale power applications of HTS are being demonstrated world-wide. This experience with HTS-based equipment allows optimizing their design and accelerates the acceptance of the technology by the power industry. We are, thus, at a turning point with HTS technology and we now have to address efficient and optimal design of HTS equipment. Each prototype being expensive to build, numerical methods and optimization tools are expected to play a significant role in achieving price-competitive HTS equipment and eventually make possible the paradigmatic changes required to improve current power systems. This research project aims to:
- Provide reliable and fast tools for optimizing the design of HTS devices, such as cables and coils, whose performance depends on different interacting parameters (physical properties of the superconducting wires, optimal geometry, etc.)
- Provide a better understanding of the physical phenomena responsible for losses in HTS through the contribution of original mathematical tools
- Position Canada in a leadership role within an international network on HTS modeling involving academic and industrial partners with the goal of developing faster simulation tools for industry's needs as well as of creating reference benchmarks for testing the performance of different models