Superconducting power cable starts operation in Shanghai

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A high-temperature superconducting (HTS) power cable more than 1km long has been brought into use in Shanghai.

Local media outlet Shine reports that the 35kV three-phase cable was put into operation by the State Grid Corporation Shanghai Electric Power Company on Wednesday (22 December), marking the first time a cable of this type and length has been used for commercial power supply anywhere in the world.

The power line, which runs for 1.15km,was designed to reduce transmission losses and ensure high power capacity in the city’s Xuhui district, which includes residential neighbourhoods, hospitals, and commercial complexes.

The technology was developed in China, with much of the research carried out by the State Grid Shanghai Company.

“A 35kV superconducting cable, which has the same transmission capacity as a traditional 220kV cable, can replace four to six traditional cables with the same voltage level, saving 70 per cent of the underground pipe space,” according to Xie Wei, the company's chief engineer.

City vice-mayor Zhang Wei, quoted by Shine, highlighted the transition from research to commercial application, saying: “Shanghai looks to further link basic scientific research and industry applications. The official implementation of the HTS cable marks a major step for the city to becoming a science and innovation hub.”

A separate report by Chinese state news agency Xinhua says that the cable connects two 220kV substations and has a designed current capacity of 2,200A, making it particularly useful for high-load areas where space is constrained. It is the first superconducting transmission project built by China’s State Grid.

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