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Superconducting magnetic energy storage

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 in erter!rectifier to transform alternating current "A#$ power to direct current or con ert %# back to A# power. The in erter!rectifier accounts for about &'() energy loss in each direction. SMES looses 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 +,). %ue to the energy re-uirements of refrigeration and the high cost of superconducting wire, SMES is currently used for short duration energy storage. Therefore, SMES is most commonly de oted to impro ing power -uality. .f SMES were to be used for utilities it would be a diurnal storage de ice, charged from baseload power at night and meeting peak loads during the day.

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/ Ad antages o er other energy storage methods & #urrent use ( #alculation of stored energy 0 Solenoid ersus toroid , 1ow'temperature ersus high'temperature superconductors 2 #ost 3 Technical limitations 4 5eferences + Manufacturers /6 See also

Advantages over other energy storage methods
There are se eral reasons for using superconducting magnetic energy storage instead of other energy storage methods. The most important ad antages of SMES is that the time delay during charge and discharge is -uite short. 7ower is a ailable almost instantaneously and ery high power output can be pro ided for a brief period of time. Other energy storage methods, such as pumped hydro or compressed air ha e a


& . :e can therefore write the magnetic energy stored in such a cylindrical coil as shown below. Thus if a customer8s demand is immediate. The mean radius of coil is R.n northern :isconsin. These facilities ha e also been used to pro ide grid stability in distribution systems. f is called form function which is different for different shapes of coil. with the potential for uncontrolled fluctuations and oltage collapse. Se eral / M: units are used for power -uality control in installations around the world. Current use There are se eral small SMES units a ailable for commercial use and se eral larger test bed pro9ects. SMES is also used in utility applications.i$ and δ "delta$ are two parameters to characteri@e the dimensions of the coil. which results in high reliability. Another ad antage is that the loss of power is less than other storage methods because electric currents encounter almost no resistance. %e elopers of such de ices include American Superconductor. Additionally the main parts in a SMES are motionless. ξ ". especially to pro ide power -uality at manufacturing plants re-uiring ultra'clean power. a string of distributed SMES units was deployed to enhance stability of a transmission loop.imately &6 M:<h. :here E = energy measured in 9oules L = inductance measured in henries I = current measured in amperes >ow let?s consider a cylindrical coil with conductors of a rectangular cross section. capable of pro iding 066 M: of power for /66 seconds or /6 M: of power for & hours. This energy is a function of coil dimensions. SMES is a iable option. The transmission line is sub9ect to large. Calculation of stored energy The magnetic energy stored by a coil carrying a current I is gi en by one half of the inductance of the coil times the s-uare of the current. . ETM "engineering test model$ is a large SMES with a capacity of appro. number of turns and carrying current. sudden load changes due to the operation of a paper mill. such as microchip fabrication facilities. a and b are width and depth of the conductor.substantial time delay associated with the energy con ersion of stored mechanical energy back into electricity.

there is little need for toroidal geometry for small SMES. Among them. At low e. 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 appro. #urrently. Low-temperature versus high-temperature superconductors Dnder steady state conditions and in the superconducting state. lattice melting takes place in moderate magnetic fields around a temperature lower ( .ternal magnetic forces and therefore reduces the si@e of mechanical support needed. the coil is always under the compression by the outer hoops and two disks.ternal magnetic field. Although the high'temperature superconductor "ETS#$ has higher critical temperature.treme of si@e is the concept of micro'SMES solenoids.imately /66m in diameter buried in earth. Eowe er. Also. solenoids are usually used because they are easy to coil and no pre' compression needed. the optimistic alue of 6. but because it determines how much structural material is needed to keep the SMES from breaking. Bor small SMES. Toroidal geometry can help to lessen the e. the stain tolerance is crucial not because of any electrical effect. for energy storage range near / MC.:here E = energy measured in 9oules I = current measured in amperes f(ξ. but as the si@e increases. There are three factors which affect the design and the shape of the coil. . 9oules per ampere'meter N = number of turns of coil Solenoid versus toroid Aesides the properties of the wire. thermal contraction upon cooling and lorent@ forces in a charged coil.δ) = form function. toroidal SMES can be located near a utility or customer load. the coil resistance is negligible. one of which is on the top and the other is on the bottom to a oid breakage.n toroidal SMES. the refrigerator necessary to keep the superconductor cool re-uires electric power and this refrigeration energy must be considered when e aluating the efficiency of SMES as an energy storage de ice. They are inferior strain tolerance. Bor small SMES systems. due to the low e. mechanical forces become more important and the toroidal coil is needed. flu.() stain tolerance is selected.

&. The refrigeration re-uirements for ETS# and low'temperature superconductor "1TS#$ toroidal coils for the baseline temperatures of 33 G. The same trend is true for solenoid coils. refrigeration cost only goes up by a factor of &6. radiation from warmer to colder surfaces. The refrigeration re-uirements here is defined as electrical power to operate the refrigeration system. As the stored energy increases by a factor of /66. increases in that order. ETS# coils cost more than 1TS# coils by a factor of & to 0. 1ead losses can be minimi@ed by good design of the leads. :e e. about . Other components.pect to see the cheaper cost for ETS# due to lesser refrigeration re-uirements but this is not the case. as the SMES si@e goes up from & to &6 to &66 M:h. the duty cycle of the de ice and the power rating. 0 . has been shown to be a small part compared to the large coil cost. The heat loads that must be remo ed by the cooling system include conduction through the support system.pensi eH To gain some insight consider a breakdown by ma9or components of both ETS# and 1TS# coils corresponding to three typical stored energy le els. The combined costs of conductors. to /6 teslas "T$. &6 G and 0.than this critical temperature. The principal reason lies in the comparati e current density of 1TS# and ETS# materials. Assume the wire costs are the same by weight. The conductor cost dominates the three costs for all ETS# cases and is particularly important at small si@es. The critical current "Jc$ of ETS# wire is lower than 1TS# wire generally in the operating magnetic field. the 1TS# conductor cost also goes up about a factor of /6 at each step. Aut ETS# structure cost is higher because the strain tolerance of the ETS# "ceramics cannot carry much tensile load$ is less than 1TS#. Cost Are ETS# systems more economic than 1TS# systemsH . structure and refrigerator for toroidal coils are dominated by the cost of the superconductor. in the ery large cases.& G. why is the ETS# system more e. it will take much more wire to create the same inductance. The structure costs of either ETS# or 1TS# go up uniformly "a factor of /6$ with each step from & to &6 to &66 M:<h. insulation. the ETS# cost can not be offset by simply reducing the coil si@e at a higher magnetic field. Also. Therefore. range from 26) to 36) for these cases. Aecause ETS# wire has lower Cc alue than 1TS# wire. which demands more structure materials. such as >bTi. Thus. such as acuum essel. They must be 9udged with the o erall efficiency and cost of the de ice. the cost of wire is much higher than 1TS# wire. A# losses depend on the design of the conductor.t depends because there are other ma9or components determining the cost of SMES: #onductor consisting of superconductor and copper stabili@er and cold support are ma9or costs in themsel es. &6 and &66 M:<h. Also. the sa ings in refrigeration for an ETS# system is larger the that for an 1TS# system. #onduction and radiation losses are minimi@ed by proper design of thermal surfaces. and losses from the coldFto' warm power leads that connect the cold coil to the power conditioning system. A# losses in the conductor" during charge and discharge$. The ETS# conductor cost rises a little slower but is still by far the costliest item. So.

works better at a low temperature. #learly. The superconductor material is a key issue for SMES. . :hat does this meanH .t means that if a ETS#. Size ' To achie e commercially useful le els of storage. • . The dominant cost for SMES is the superconductor. The first is the fabrication of bulk cable suitable to carry the current. followed by the cooling system and the rest of the mechanical structure.n the case of solenoid coils. An increase in peak magnetic field yields a reduction in both olume "higher energy density$ and cost "reduced conductor length$. Most of the superconducting materials found to date are relati ely delicate ceramics.ternal magnetic field$. further olume reductions are possible with minimal increase in cost. Bor ery small SMES. we can see that the 1TS# torus ma.tended lengths of . and to contain the health effects noted below. This is traditionally pictured as a circle.imum diameter is always smaller for a ETS# magnet than 1TS# due to higher magnetic field operation. AS##O for instance. Smaller olume means higher energy density and cost is reduced due to the decrease of the conductor length. As with other superconducting applications. around / I:<h "0 TC$.n either case it would re-uire access to a significant amount of land to house the installation. the height or length is also smaller for ETS# coils. the olume of superconducting coils increases with the increase of the stored energy. a SMES installation would need a loop of around /66 miles "/26 km$. cryogenics are a necessity. though in practice it could be more like a rounded rectangle. about 3 T in this case. making it difficult to use established techni-ues to draw e. The limit to 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 lea e room for the bucking cylinder. it will certainly be operated there. Also. say &6G. . There is an optimum alue of the peak magnetic field. Manufacturing ' There are two manufacturing issues around SMES.f the field is increased past the optimum. Methods to increase the energy stored in SMES often resort to large'scale storage units. but still much higher than in a toroidal geometry "due to low e. the reduced refrigerator cost will ha e a more significant positi e impact. A robust mechanical structure is usually re-uired to contain the ery large 1orent@ forces generated by and on the magnet coils. • • Mechanical support ' >eeded because of lorent@ forces. Superconductor de elopment efforts focus on increasing Cc and strain range and on reducing the wire manufacturing cost Technical limitations The energy content of current SMES systems is usually -uite small. .Maybe it is worth noting here that the refrigerator cost in all cases is so small that there is ery little percentage sa ings associated with reduced refrigeration demands at high temperature.

. Dnfortunately the superconducting properties of most materials break down as current increases. M. beyond possible accidents such as a break in the containment of li-uid nitrogen. M. 0&.$ #ost Analysis of Energy Storage Systems for Electric Dtility Applications 2$ SMES presentation 3$ 7ower #onditioning SMES unit 2 • • • • • • . 32'34.imi@e the current they are able to handle. 0$ Energy storage basics and comparisons . but this is currently only suitable for small'scale electrical circuits.ntroduction to Eigh'Temperature Superconducti ity. applying a thin film of material onto a stable substrate. pp. • Infrastructure ' The second problem is the infrastructure re-uired for an installation. so any installation is likely to re-uire a significant buffer @one around and abo e it to protect humans and wildlife. and this too is a factor at commercial storage le els #ossible $"%erse &ealth effects ' The biggest concern with SMES. #urrent materials struggle. This makes any losses due to inefficiences in the system relati ely insignificant. 7. 7owerplant Technology.posure to such fields. 2+/'2+. 1ittle is known about the long term effects of e.n general power systems look to ma. &$ El':akil. This in turn would re-uire stable support. ($ :olsky. >ew Jork. most commonly en isioned by burying the installation. pp. . to carry sufficient current to make a commercial storage facility economically iable.'24+. the /66 mile "/26 km$ loop of wire would ha e to be contained within a acuum flask of li-uid nitrogen.superconducting wire. "&66&$. pp. 7hysica # (3&F(32. 0(('002. "/++0$. therefore. 22. "/+40$. ritical !agnetic fiel" ' 5elated to critical current. T. /0+. ritical current ' . 24.. McIraw'Eill.'0(6. there is a similar limitation to superconducti ity linked to the magnetic field induced in the wire. A. is the ery large magnetic fields that would be created by a commercial installation. Dntil room'temperature superconductors are found.. M. Much research has focussed on layer deposit techni-ues. 7lenum 7ress.F/0++. The status and prospects for flywheels and SMES that incorporate ETS. which would dwarf the magnetic field of the Earth. • • • eferences • /$ Sheahen. at a le el known as the critical current..

• • 4$ 1oyola SMES summary +$ 1arge'Scale Energy Storage Systems 3 .