Development of a novel generation of superconducting wires for zero-emission transport applications
PI: Grovenor, Christopher R M
The new project will translate a novel manufacturing technology developed for bulk superconductors during the underpinning EPSRC-funded project. The technology will be adapted to produce lightweight and cost-effective superconducting wires for motors that meet the requirements for modern transport applications (aircrafts, trains and buses) based on liquid hydrogen and electric propulsion systems. The technology that was developed allows the manufacture of bulk superconductors based on MgB2 at lower temperatures showing improved current-carrying capabilities. Adapting this technology to composite wires optimised for transport applications must take into account the different materials that will be needed for the protective sheath that makes up most of the final cost and weight of superconducting wires. In the conventional manufacturing process, higher temperatures are needed to form the superconducting core, preventing the use of materials with a lower melting point such as Al alloys. However, Al alloys offer huge advantages in terms of cost and weight savings compared to the steels or titanium alloys normally used. Translating the low temperature processing technology to wire manufacturing could allow the production of a novel generation of lightweight and economically competitive superconducting wires for zero-emission transport applications. The project falls in the Materials category and addresses the following high priority EPSRC research areas: Energy and decarbonisation.