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AMERICAN SUPERCONDUCTOR ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT WITH OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LABORATORY

 AMERICAN SUPERCONDUCTOR ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT WITH
 OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LABORATORY
 WATERTOWN, Mass., Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- American Superconductor Corp. (NASDAQ:AMSC) today announced signing of a 15-month cooperative agreement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop and deliver advanced high temperature superconducting coils.
 Under terms of the agreement, American Superconductor will develop and provide coils to Oak Ridge for its research work on the performance of superconducting electric motors. American Superconductor will receive $225,000 in payment for the coils from Oak Ridge. Both organizations have committed funds on a similar scale to support continued research on the superconducting systems during the term of the agreement, bringing the total to $605,000.
 The coils are being evaluated in a specially constructed test-bed, called an axial gap motor, to demonstrate how coils perform in various motor designs. Results of tests are being prepared for publication and will be released later this year.
 American Superconductor fabricates coils in a "react and wind" fashion, meaning the superconducting wire is formed first (react), and then only later coiled onto a spool (wind). This method of creating a superconducting coil is significant since "react and wind" techniques are favorable for producing the large volumes of coils that will be needed on a commercial scale.
 High temperature superconductors often lose their special electrical characteristics when wound into a coil; however, American Superconductor has developed wires that retain their flexibility and special electrical properties even when wound or stressed.
 "Our developments have resulted in wires that show the kind of flexibility and durability needed for high-volume manufacturing of coils for a wide range of applications," said Gregory J. Yurek, president and CEO.
 "Many engineers and scientists previously believed that high temperature superconductors could never achieve this level of flexibility because they tend to be brittle," he said.
 "The ability to demonstrate adequate current carrying capacities over long lengths of wire is important for developing commercial applications," said Robert A. Hawsey, manager of the superconducting technology program for Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "We are paying particular attention to wire and coil insulation and structure, as well as the behavior of the coils in a demanding variable-speed motor environment. With the remarkable progress that American Superconductor has made in wire development, wires over 200 feet in length are now available.
 "The collaboration's goal is to accelerate the development of superconductivity technology. Using American Superconductor's coils for our research work will enable the group to move a step closer to its goal of commercializing superconductors," Hawsey said.
 "The valuable information from our collaboration with Oak Ridge will enable us to move ahead in coil development and manufacturing scale-up that will help achieve our goal of seeing these superconductors integrated in commercial products like industrial electrical motors," Yurek said.
 Under proper conditions, superconductors carry electricity with near-perfect efficiency, making them highly desirable in applications such as generators, motors, power transmission lines and energy storage devices. The development of electric motors is especially important due to their widespread use around the world. In the United States, for example, two-thirds of all electric energy is produced to run the motors found in industrial, commercial and residential settings. Even modest improvements in motor efficiency would yield significant energy savings.
 Oak Ridge National Laboratory is one of five energy- related facilities managed by Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc. for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Funding for the Oak Ridge contribution to this collaboration has been provided by DOE's Division of Advanced Utility Concepts.
 The axial-gap motor was designed and tested by Oak Ridge researchers in a project co-funded by DOE and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a research consortium of the electric utility industry.
 American Superconductor Corporation develops and applies high temperature superconductor technology to create compact, cost-effective electric power and magnet systems. The firm is the largest industrial effort in the world dedicated to transferring this technology to commercial applications.
 /CONTACT: Gregory J. Yurek or Alex Malozemoff of American Superconductor, 617-923-1122, Robert A. Hawsey of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 615-574-8057, or Carol DeMatteo of Miller Communications, 617-536-0470, for American Superconductor/
 (AMSC) CO: American Superconductor; Oak Ridge National Laboratory ST: Massachusetts IN: CPR SU:


TM -- NE006 -- 0913 08/18/92 11:28 EDT
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Date:Aug 18, 1992
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