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INDUSTRIAL TEAM SELECTED BY DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY TO BUILD SUPERCONDUCTING PROTOTYPE PRODUCT

 General Dynamics, American Superconductor Corp.,
 Southern California Edison Collaborate
 SAN DIEGO, Calif., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A team made up of General Dynamics Space Systems Division (GDSS), American Superconductor Corp. (ASC) and Southern California Edison (SCE) Co. announced today that it has been selected to receive one of two awards from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under its Superconductivity Partnership Initiative (SPI).
 This award supports a project whose total cost will be approximately $3.4 million, spanning two years. General Dynamics will receive an award of $2.3 million to be shared by team members. In addition, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) will receive funding to provide technical support under a separate agreement.
 The team will build and demonstrate a novel superconducting current limiter prototype device for use in the electric utility industry. A current limiter is used to momentarily reduce the flow of electric current during unexpected events such as lightning strikes or short circuits and thus protect expensive electrical equipment from damage.
 By using newly developed high temperature superconducting (HTS) wire technology, the team will build a prototype current limiter designed to reduce fault currents, allowing utilities to use smaller, less expensive circuit breakers and fuses thus requiring fewer upgrades as power demands increase. SCE estimates a savings of potentially $7.5 million per year associated with using the current limiter in their power grid alone. This indicates a potential savings to U.S. utilities of $100 million per year.
 General Dynamics Space Systems Division, through its Space Magnetics business area, is the prime contractor for the project and a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of superconducting magnets. American Superconductor Corp. creates and develops materials and manufacturing processes for making flexible high temperature superconducting wire, wire products and commercially viable superconducting systems.
 "This project will demonstrate that HTS technology can be successfully developed into products to meet the needs of commercial customers like the electric utility industry," said Richard P. Hora, vice president of General Dynamics Space Magnetics. "It's important for the superconductivity industry overall and exciting for our company to be a part of this process."
 The federal government has identified HTS as a critical technology for U.S. development. DOE created the SPI program to make government financial assistance available to industry-led teams for HTS product development.
 "This project demonstrates how the vast capabilities of the Department of Energy's National Laboratories can support the development of U.S. Technologies and new industries for the 21st Century," commented Sig Hecker, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory.
 "The work that will be accomplished under the auspices of SPI will not only help ASC to further develop its core capabilities in superconductor systems, but it will also accelerate the development of commercially viable HTS products," said Gregory J. Yurek, president and chief executive officer of American Superconductor Corp.
 Alonso Rodriguez, senior research engineer, Southern California Edison, added, "Successful development of the superconducting current limiter will provide a new, cost effective solution to high-fault current on our subtransmission systems and our distribution circuits. We believe there could be a substantial savings from these devices."
 General Dynamics Space Magnetics is based in San Diego, with magnet production facilities in Hammond, La. American Superconductor Corp. is based in Westborough, Mass. Southern California Edison is based in Rosemead, Calif.
 -0- 9/14/93
 /CONTACT: Julie C. Andrews, General Dynamics, 619-974-3600; Michelle Zawrotny, American Superconductor Corp., 212-532-6300; Richard Keeler, Southern California Edison, 818-302-7935; or Dean Peterson, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 505-665-3030/


CO: General Dynamics Space Systems Division; American Superconductor
 Corp.; Southern California Edison Co.; U.S. Department of Energy;
 Los Alamos National Laboratory ST: California IN: CPR UTI SU:


JB-NY -- SD003 -- 1765 09/14/93 12:33 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 14, 1993
Words:618
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