Superconductor Technologies Inc. Meets Customer Current Carrying Performance Requirements of 2G HTS Wire for Superconducting Applications in High Magnetic Field

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Feb 16, 2011 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- Superconductor Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq:SCON) ("STI"), a world leader in the development and production of high temperature superconducting (HTS) materials and associated technologies, gained an important customer acceptance for a second generation (2G) HTS wire sample. STI's wire sample met this customer's requirements for current carrying performance at the desired temperature and magnetic field strengths necessary for superconducting 2G HTS wire applications for large rotating machines.

Adam Shelton, STI's Vice President, Product Management and Marketing, said, "This customer validation is a significant milestone towards our goal of obtaining market acceptance for our 2G HTS wire. Our efforts remain focused on large, emerging addressable markets including superconducting rotating machines, which are enabled by the availability of high-performance, economical 2G HTS wire. Our HTS materials development team worked extremely hard over the past year to meet this customer's challenging wire specifications. Demonstrating our superior current carrying performance in high magnetic field is an important achievement on STI's road to commercial success with 2G HTS wire."

"STI and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Reactive Co-Evaporation (RCE) technology is both technologically innovative and potentially commercially enabling for new HTS machines," stated a potential 2G HTS wire customer for superconducting machines applications. "STI has shown superior current carrying performance at 65 Kelvin (K) and high magnetic fields, utilizing its newly developed HTS [wire] manufacturing processes. The progress LANL and STI have shown to date suggest even further improvements in the future."

STI's strategic 2G HTS wire program utilizes its specialized HTS material deposition processes and volume manufacturing expertise to produce energy efficient, cost-effective, and high performance HTS wire for next generation power applications and other attractive new markets. STI believes that large superconducting rotating machine applications, such as 5+ megawatt (MW) wind turbines, represent a huge market opportunity for 2G HTS wire.

The size and weight of the generator are the current limiting factors in efforts to increase the amount of output power generated by each wind turbine. Turbine manufacturers believe that building a generator utilizing 2G HTS wire will reduce its size and weight sufficiently to enable the development of 10 MW and larger wind turbines. In fact, many believe that the benefit of utilizing superconducting wire starts at wind turbines with 5MW of output power. According to Emerging Energy Research (EER), large wind turbines (5MW+) deployed in 2016 are expected to deliver 2,731 MW of worldwide offshore capacity at an annual cost of over $5 billion. EER expects an annual offshore production increase of 5,377 MW in 2020 at a cost in excess of $10 billion.