Next Generation Electric Machines

Enabling NEW, Efficient, Compact, Clean Machines.

Next Generation Electric Machines (NGEMs)

STI is concentrating on superconducting magnet applications that include NGEM solutions. NGEMs will play an instrumental role in the future competitiveness of electrical grids, industrial manufacturing, and many other applications that utilize industrial scale devices in excess of 5000 horsepower. By offering unprecedented improvements in motor and generator efficiency, NGEMs will provide a solution that addresses the current limitations of conventional technologies. NGEMs are expected to significantly improve the efficiency of industrial electric motors, which use approximately 70% of the electricity consumed by U.S. manufacturers and nearly a quarter of all electricity consumed nationally, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). By utilizing these highly efficient NGEMs, industrial power consumers will benefit from a substantially reduced power infrastructure footprint independent of utility grid build-out projects. The projected cost savings from this greatly improved efficiency last for decades and can easily justify the initial CAPEX of these NGEMs.

The key enabling technology for NGEMs is superconducting wire that can handle very high electrical currents in the presence of a magnetic field (also knowns as 2G HTS wire) such as our Conductus® high-performance magnet wire. Conductus offers a competitive advantage both in economics and performance by consistently demonstrating record-breaking current carrying capability.

Energy Storage An NGEM as an energy storage device at a solar plant, which could be activated at night to provide accumulated power to the grid.

Quick fact:
NGEMs operating as a distributed energy resource, on a 5-year basis from 2015 to 2019, are growing almost 3 times faster than traditional centralized generation, according to Navigant Consulting.

DOE NGEM Project

STI is the prime recipient of a $4.5 million, three-year project award that commenced in June 2017 under the DOE’s broad goal of advancing American manufacturing competitiveness by improving industrial motor efficiency to significantly reduce energy usage and the cost of operation. STI is working on the project in conjunction with TECO Westinghouse Motor Company (TECO), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), and the University of North Texas (UNT).

“TWMC recognized the immense value of superconductor technology for high-power electric machines early, and we are committed to their commercialization. We look forward to collaborating to develop the transformational technology needed to achieve commercial viability of high power superconducting next-generation electric machines.”

-- Pat Rogers, President, TWMC

“STI’s goal of high performance at low cost can be a game changer for a wide range of applications, not only at temperatures near liquid nitrogen, but also at lower temperatures.”

-- Joseph V. Minervini, Plasma Science and Fusion Center Assistant Director, MIT

"By bringing together university knowledge and capabilities from MIT and UNT with STI, a world-class manufacturer of superconducting materials, and TWMC, the end user and device maker with over 100 years of experience in motor design and application, the full range of research and development to product manufacturing and wide-scale commercialization of superconducting materials will be achieved."

-- Dr. Marcus L. Young, Assistant Professor Materials and Science Engineering, UNT

The NGEM DOE project has three main objectives:

  • Phase 1: Continue to improve critical current capacity at 65K in the presence of an operating magnetic field of 1.5 Tesla.  
  • Phase 2: Focus on optimizing the design and fabrication of ‘best-in-class’ wire in quantity.
  • Phase 3: Build and validate an NGEM component that includes cryogenic testing.

The ultimate program objective is to produce wire that delivers 1,440 amps per centimeter width at 65 Kelvin in a 1.5 Tesla field.

STI is the project leader for this program and brings together industry leaders to support the DOE project goals. Each of the participants brings a key attribute required for the project.

  1. STI is developing the high-performance superconducting wire needed for the motor;
  2. TECO is focused on the motor components;
  3. I.T does the cryogenic packaging and assists in coil design; and
  4. UNT runs the testing.

In conjunction with its partners TECO, M.I.T, and UNT, STI has successfully achieved key first-year project milestones.

  1. STI produced 2G HTS wire that delivered 1.5X the critical current electrical performance and a 2X increase in in-field magnetic performance over the initial starting performance of the project as outlined in 2017. All these results were verified and confirmed through third-party testing.
  2. In parallel, STI’s partners TECO and M.I.T designed and modeled components of a 5000-horsepower motor utilizing STI’s enhanced Conductus wire.
Quick fact:
“Advancing these enabling technologies has the potential to boost the competitiveness of American manufacturers and take the development of more efficient electric machines a giant step further. These technology R&D projects aim to significantly improve industrial motors for manufacturing, helping companies who use these motors in manufacturing save energy and money over the long run.” 

- Mark Johnson, director of the EERE Advanced Manufacturing Office
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