Nexans hosts Nobel laureate

High profile innovator

On 22 March 2013, Nexans Hanover welcomed J. Georg Bednorz, Nobel Prize laureate for the discovery (with Karl Alexander Müller) of High Temperature Superconductors (HTS). Dr Bednorz expressed interest in the industrial applications of his discovery, an area in which Nexans is among the world leaders.

Not-so cool idea

In 1911, a Dutch physicist discovered that some metals at very low temperatures let electrical current flow with no resistance. It took until 1957 to explain the phenomenon; but temperatures remained ultra-low. The Müller-Bednorz breakthrough in 1986 allowed industrial applications to use cheap liquid nitrogen.

Meeting of minds

Nexans designed and manufactured the superconductor cable and terminations (including the cryostat envelope) for the Long Island Power Authority. It is still the longest and most powerful HTS system in a grid. In 2008, Nexans visited the IBM Research laboratories in Switzerland where Georg Bednorz, who belongs to this laboratory, joined the visiting party. When Nexans published Focus On Superconductivity the following year, Dr. Bednorz wrote the editorial: “After two decades, HTS is ready to take off.”

One step ahead

Five years after the Lipa transmission system was commissioned (2008), Nexans is now taking the leading position in MV HTS cables for inner city power supply with the successful test of the AmpaCity cable prototype. The AmpaCity project will be installed between two substations in Essen, Germany, reducing the number of transformers and cost of substation equipment. Thanks to this, Dr. Bednorz now has an opportunity to see the industrial applications resulting from his discovery 26 years ago.