Hydrogenie superconducting hydro generator completes testing

Power conversion specialist Converteam has announced that it has successfully completed static testing of essential elements of its Hydrogenie hydro generator.

Hydrogenie, thought to be the world’s first high temperature superconducting (HTS) hydro generator for a commercial installation, is being manufactured by Converteam as part of a European Union (EU) part-funded project and will be installed at the Hirschaid run-of-river hydroelectric power plant in Bavaria, Germany, which is owned and operated by E.ON Wasserkraft GmbH.

This new breed of generator makes use of high temperature superconducting (HTS) materials instead of traditional materials such as copper, a press release states.

According to Converteam, Hydrogenie promises a step change in generator efficiency together with size and weight reductions of up to 70 percent when compared to a conventional solution.

In superconducting materials, electrical resistance drops suddenly to zero when the conductor is cooled at or below its critical temperature, whereas conventional materials, such as copper, always retain some of their resistive qualities.

Converteam’s partners in the project are E.ON Wasserkraft, who are providing Hirschaid test site, Zenergy Power GmbH, who manufacture the HTS coils, and Stirling Cryogenics BV, who supply the coolers and rotating interface. Vector Fields, Cobham Technical Services, KEMA and the Silesian University of Technology have provided analysis tools and testing support.

Final commissioning of the 1.7-MW Hydrogenie generator, in Bavaria, is scheduled for summer 2011.

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