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AMERICAN SUPERCONDUCTOR AWARDED CONTRACT TO DELIVER COMPLEX MAGNETIC COILS FOR ADVANCED ELECTRIC MOTOR

AMERICAN SUPERCONDUCTOR AWARDED CONTRACT TO DELIVER COMPLEX
 MAGNETIC COILS FOR ADVANCED ELECTRIC MOTOR
 WATERTOWN, Mass., April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded American Superconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: AMSC) $1.9 million over three years to deliver superconducting magnetic coils for use in the development of a next-generation electric motor, the firm announced today.
 Selected under the department's Advanced Technology Program (ATP), American Superconductor will use the funding to fabricate magnetic coils from the firm's high temperature superconducting wires. These coils will be incorporated in an electric motor designed to achieve an output of 5 horsepower. Attaining that power level would represent an important benchmark in ongoing efforts to harness superconductor technology for commercial use.
 Superconductors lose all resistance to the flow of electricity when cooled below a "critical" temperature. Applying this phenomenon to electric motors is important due to their widespread use around the world. In the United States alone, two thirds of all electric energy produced goes to running electric motors in industrial, commercial and residential settings. Even modest improvements in motor efficiency would yield significant annual savings in energy consumption.
 The motor is being developed by Reliance Electric Co., which previously incorporated American Superconductor's coils in the first superconducting electric motor to achieve a practical power output. Announced last year, that project resulted in a prototype motor producing 25 watts. A 5-horsepower motor -- 150 times more powerful and the next phase in the development of larger motors later on -- would be roughly equivalent in power to the compressor that runs a home's central air conditioning unit.
 Reliance and American Superconductor, in conjunction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, are collaborating to produce more efficient and powerful electric motors using superconductors. The ultimate market for such systems will be large motors -- for example, the compressors, rolling mills, pumps and fans widely used in industries ranging from electric utilities and water distribution systems to transit authorities and the petrochemical industry.
 Termed a "racetrack coil" for its oval appearance, the magnetic coil design for which American Superconductor received ATP funding is far more complex than earlier versions. The coil's shape is more suitable to standard motor configurations, and has the technical benefit of orienting the magnetic field properly. At the same time, an oval design demands the coils be fabricated from wires that are especially flexible and durable.
 The award highlights progress that has been made in the development of superconducting wires, said Gregory J. Yurek, president and CEO of American Superconductor.
 "A few years ago, we were in the position of trying to determine whether we could manufacture wires with the right superconducting properties," he said. "It's pretty clear now that we've crossed a threshold in that area.
 "While progress continues there, the real work that remains -- and the problems we'll be addressing under the ATP grant -- is solving the engineering issues involved in constructing a superconducting motor of this power."
 ATP provides financial grants to organizations developing technologies that have a wide range of potential applications and offer significant benefits to the nation's economy. American Superconductor is one of 27 companies and joint ventures selected from more than 270 bidding on the awards. Grants to all participants during the first year of the program total more than $25 million.
 Under the $1.883 million award from ATP, American Superconductor will receive a first-year grant of $748,000, with the remainder of the funds following in the subsequent two years.
 Wires manufactured by American Superconductor are based on the new family of high-temperature ceramic superconductors. Although ceramics are normally brittle, American Superconductor's proprietary manufacturing process produces them in a flexible form so they can be wound into coils without further processing treatments. The wires also are very durable, maintaining their superconducting properties despite repeated temperature variations -- the same fluctuations they undergo in actual use.
 American Superconductor creates and develops materials and manufacturing processes for making flexible high temperature ceramic superconducting wires and wire products. The firm develops a broad range of high temperature superconductors in the form of multistrand conductors and magnetic coils, and is the largest industrial effort in the world dedicated to their production.
 -0- 4/21/92
 /CONTACT: Gregory J. Yurek of American Superconductor Corp., 617-923-1122; or Jack Jackson of Miller Communications, 617-536-0470, for American Superconductor/
 (AMSC) CO: American Superconductor Corp. ST: Massachusetts IN: MAC SU: CON


SH -- NE009 -- 0487 04/21/92 10:13 EDT
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Date:Apr 21, 1992
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