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Superconducting magnetic energy storage
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Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage (SMES) systems store energy in the magnetic field created by the flow of direct current in a superconducting coil which has been cryogenically cooled to a temperature below its superconducting critical temperature. A typical SMES system includes three parts: superconducting coil, power conditioning system and cryogenically cooled refrigerator. Once the superconducting coil is charged, the current will not decay and the magnetic energy can be stored indefinitely. The stored energy can be released back to the network by discharging the coil. The power conditioning system uses an inverter/rectifier to transform alternating current (AC) power to direct current or convert DC back to AC power. The inverter/rectifier accounts for about 2-3% energy loss in each direction. SMES loses the least amount of electricity in the energy storage process compared to other methods of storing energy. SMES systems are highly efficient; the round-trip efficiency is greater than 95%. Due to the energy requirements of refrigeration and the high cost of superconducting wire, SMES is currently used for short duration energy storage. Therefore, SMES is most commonly devoted to improving power quality. If SMES were to be used for utilities it would be a diurnal storage device, charged from baseload power at night and meeting peak loads during the day.
Contents Advantages over other energy storage methods
There are several reasons for using superconducting magnetic energy storage instead of other energy storage methods. The most important advantages of SMES is that the time delay during charge and discharge is quite short. Power is available almost instantaneously and very high power output can be provided for a brief period of time. Other energy storage methods, such as pumped hydro or compressed air have a substantial time delay associated with the energy conversion of stored mechanical energy back into electricity. Thus if a customer's demand is immediate, SMES is a viable option. Another advantage is that the loss of power is less than other storage methods because electric currents encounter almost no resistance. Additionally the main parts in a SMES are motionless, which results in high reliability.
There are several small SMES units available for commercial use and several larger test bed projects. Several 1 MW units are used for power quality control in installations around the world, especially to provide power quality at manufacturing plants requiring ultra-clean power, such as microchip fabrication facilities. These facilities have also been used to provide grid stability in distribution systems. SMES is also used in utility applications. In northern Wisconsin, a string of distributed SMES units was deployed to enhance stability of a transmission loop. The transmission line is subject to large, sudden load changes due to the operation of a paper mill, with the potential for uncontrolled fluctuations and voltage collapse. Developers of such devices include American Superconductor. The Engineering Test Model is a large SMES with a capacity of approximately 20 MW·h, capable of providing 400 MW of power for 100 seconds or 10 MW of power for 2 hours.
Calculation of stored energy
Where E = energy measured in joules I = current measured in amperes f(ξ. Where E = energy measured in joules L = inductance measured in henries I = current measured in amperes Now let’s consider a cylindrical coil with conductors of a rectangular cross section. This energy is a function of coil dimensions. for energy storage range near 1 MJ Low-temperature versus high-temperature superconductors Under steady state conditions and in the superconducting state. but because it determines how much structural material is needed to keep the SMES from breaking. there is little need for toroidal geometry for small SMES. the coil is always under the compression by the outer hoops and two disks.3% strain tolerance is selected. Currently. the configuration of the coil itself is an important issue from a mechanical engineering aspect. . Many of the older large SMES concepts usually featured a low aspect ratio solenoid approximately 100 m in diameter buried in earth. thermal contraction upon cooling and lorentz forces in a charged coil. joules per ampere-meter N = number of turns of coil Solenoid versus toroid Besides the properties of the wire. toroidal SMES can be located near a utility or customer load. solenoids are usually used because they are easy to coil and no pre-compression needed. a and b are width and depth of the conductor. They are inferior strain tolerance. the refrigerator necessary to keep the superconductor cool requires electric power and this refrigeration energy must be considered when evaluating the efficiency of SMES as an energy storage device. Also. For small SMES. mechanical forces become more important and the toroidal coil is needed. f is called form function which is different for different shapes of coil. ξ (xi) and δ (delta) are two parameters to characterize the dimensions of the coil. number of turns and carrying current. the coil resistance is negligible. the strain tolerance is crucial not because of any electrical effect. However. In toroidal SMES. the optimistic value of 0. one of which is on the top and the other is on the bottom to avoid breakage. We can therefore write the magnetic energy stored in such a cylindrical coil as shown below. The mean radius of coil is R. Among them.2/5 The magnetic energy stored by a coil carrying a current I is given by one half of the inductance of the coil times the square of the current. but as the size increases. At the low extreme of size is the concept of micro-SMES solenoids. due to the low external magnetic field. For small SMES systems. Toroidal geometry can help to lessen the external magnetic forces and therefore reduces the size of mechanical support needed.δ) = form function. There are three factors which affect the design and the shape of the coil.
the reduced refrigerator cost will have a more significant positive impact. Other components. works better at a low temperature. further volume reductions are possible with minimal increase in cost. An increase in peak magnetic field yields a reduction in both volume (higher energy density) and cost (reduced conductor length). The principal reason lies in the comparative current density of LTSC and HTSC materials. So. in the very large cases. radiation from warmer to colder surfaces. The conductor cost dominates the three costs for all HTSC cases and is particularly important at small sizes. Assume the wire costs are the same by weight. such as Nb3Ti or Nb3Sn. The refrigeration requirements here is defined as electrical power to operate the refrigeration system. the cost of wire is much higher than LTSC wire. Clearly. The same trend is true for solenoid coils.2 K. 20 and 200 MW·h. Maybe it is worth noting here that the refrigerator cost in all cases is so small that there is very little percentage savings associated with reduced refrigeration demands at high temperature. But HTSC structure cost is higher because the strain tolerance of the HTSC (ceramics cannot carry much tensile load) is less than LTSC. The combined costs of conductors. Also. and losses from the cold–to-warm power leads that connect the cold coil to the power conditioning system. Therefore. increases in that order. The limit to . The HTSC conductor cost rises a little slower but is still by far the costliest item. has been shown to be a small part compared to the large coil cost. In the case of solenoid coils. as the SMES size goes up from 2 to 20 to 200 MWh. the volume of superconducting coils increases with the increase of the stored energy. Conduction and radiation losses are minimized by proper design of thermal surfaces. the HTSC cost can not be offset by simply reducing the coil size at a higher magnetic field. it will take much more wire to create the same inductance. Because HTSC wire has lower Jc value than LTSC wire. The heat loads that must be removed by the cooling system include conduction through the support system. refrigeration cost only goes up by a factor of 20. There is an optimum value of the peak magnetic field. Smaller volume means higher energy density and cost is reduced due to the decrease of the conductor length. Lead losses can be minimized by good design of the leads. For very small SMES. The refrigeration requirements for HTSC and low-temperature superconductor (LTSC) toroidal coils for the baseline temperatures of 77 K. but still much higher than in a toroidal geometry (due to low external magnetic field). If the field is increased past the optimum. HTSC coils cost more than LTSC coils by a factor of 2 to 4. The critical current (Jc) of HTSC wire is lower than LTSC wire generally in the operating magnetic field. flux lattice melting takes place in moderate magnetic fields around a temperature lower than this critical temperature.3/5 Although the high-temperature superconductor (HTSC) has higher critical temperature. Also. why is the HTSC system more expensive? To gain some insight consider a breakdown by major components of both HTSC and LTSC coils corresponding to three typical stored energy levels. the savings in refrigeration for an HTSC system is larger the that for an LTSC system. the LTSC conductor cost also goes up about a factor of 10 at each step. the duty cycle of the device and the power rating. 2. AC losses depend on the design of the conductor. BSCCO for instance. What does this mean? It means that if a HTSC. it will certainly be operated there. The structure costs of either HTSC or LTSC go up uniformly (a factor of 10) with each step from 2 to 20 to 200 MW·h. say 20K. 20 K and 4. range from 60% to 70% for these cases. We expect to see the cheaper cost for HTSC due to lesser refrigeration requirements but this is not the case. Also. Thus. about 5 to 10 teslas (T). They must be judged with the overall efficiency and cost of the device. such as vacuum vessel. insulation. the height or length is also smaller for HTSC coils. structure and refrigerator for toroidal coils are dominated by the cost of the superconductor. AC losses in the conductor( during charge and discharge). As the stored energy increases by a factor of 100. which demands more structure materials. about 7 T in this case. Cost Are HTSC systems more economic than LTSC systems? It depends because there are other major components determining the cost of SMES: Conductor consisting of superconductor and copper stabilizer and cold support are major costs in themselves. we can see that the LTSC torus maximum diameter is always smaller for a HTSC magnet than LTSC due to higher magnetic field operation.
Current materials struggle. 3) Wolsky. M. Manufacturing . M. As with other superconducting applications. beyond possible accidents such as a break in the containment of liquid nitrogen. pp.In general power systems look to maximize the current they are able to handle. P.. 685-689. and to contain the health effects noted below. which would dwarf the magnetic field of the Earth. (1984).The biggest concern with SMES. Much research has focussed on layer deposit techniques. Critical magnetic field . The dominant cost for SMES is the superconductor. Unfortunately the superconducting properties of most materials break down as current increases. 76-78. (2002). but this is currently only suitable for small-scale electrical circuits. The status and prospects for flywheels and SMES that incorporate HTS. making it difficult to use established techniques to draw extended lengths of superconducting wire. 1495–1499. 433-446. This makes any losses due to inefficiences in the system relatively insignificant.. M.. followed by the cooling system and the rest of the mechanical structure. A. a SMES installation would need a loop of around 100 miles (160 km). Introduction to High-Temperature Superconductivity. so any installation is likely to require a significant buffer zone around and above it to protect humans and wildlife. Size . The superconductor material is a key issue for SMES. T.Related to critical current. Powerplant Technology. at a level known as the critical current.There are two manufacturing issues around SMES. 425-430. pp. Infrastructure . Little is known about the long term effects of exposure to such fields. References 1) Sheahen. there is a similar limitation to superconductivity linked to the magnetic field induced in the wire.The second problem is the infrastructure required for an installation. Methods to increase the energy stored in SMES often resort to large-scale storage units. The first is the fabrication of bulk cable suitable to carry the current.Needed because of lorentz forces. applying a thin film of material onto a stable substrate. is the very large magnetic fields that would be created by a commercial installation. Most of the superconducting materials found to date are relatively delicate ceramics. 2) El-Wakil. therefore. 66. most commonly envisioned by burying the installation. McGraw-Hill. Superconductor development efforts focus on increasing Jc and strain range and on reducing the wire manufacturing cost Technical limitations The energy content of current SMES systems is usually quite small. though in practice it could be more like a rounded rectangle. 691-695.4/5 which the field can be increased is usually not economic but physical and it relates to the impossibility of bringing the inner legs of the toroid any closer together and still leave room for the bucking cylinder.6 TJ). around 1 GW·h (3. Plenum Press. to carry sufficient current to make a commercial storage facility economically viable. This is traditionally pictured as a circle. Mechanical support . This in turn would require stable support.To achieve commercially useful levels of storage. (1994). the 100 mile (160 km) loop of wire would have to be contained within a vacuum flask of liquid nitrogen. cryogenics are a necessity. Physica C 372–376. pp. . Critical current . New York. A robust mechanical structure is usually required to contain the very large Lorentz forces generated by and on the magnet coils. and this too is a factor at commercial storage levels Possible Adverse Health effects . In either case it would require access to a significant amount of land to house the installation. Until roomtemperature superconductors are found.
gov/cgi-bin/techlib/access-control.fsu.ic.uci.com/Briefs/Dec01/ML0009.eng.wtec.htm) 9) Large-Scale Energy Storage Systems (http://www.accel.html) Manufacturers ACCEL-SMES (http://www.uk/~matti/ise2grp/energystorage_report/storage.html) HARC-SMES (http://www.parcon.org/loyola/scpa/02_06.edu/OLD_WEBSITE/paper/eeenergy.aspx/304) See also .html) 7) Power Conditioning SMES unit (http://www.pdf) 6) SMES presentation (http://www.5/5 4) Energy storage basics and comparisons (http://www.harc.sandia.edu/~dommelen/courses/eml5935/00/topics/102301/001.html) 8) Loyola SMES summary (http://www.afrlhorizons.edu/harc/Content/About/Capabilities/ShowCapability.ac.pl/1997/970443.doc.htm) 5) Cost Analysis of Energy Storage Systems for Electric Utility Applications (http://infoserve.de/pages/2_mj_superconducting_magnetic_energy_storage_smes.
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