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US Navy accelerates super motor plans

01 April, 2003

US Navy accelerates super motor plans

The US Navy has decided to accelerate development of high-temperature superconductor (HTS) motors to propel warships. It is abandoning earlier plans for a 25MW prototype machine and proceeding immediately with a 36.5MW, 120 rpm motor which will be delivered for sea trials in about three years` time.

"The US Navy is going electric," declares Rear Admiral Jay Cohen, chief of naval research. "Superconductor technology will help to reduce the size and weight of motors, generators, power transmission and supporting electrical components, to help speed the transition to electric this decade."

The 36.5MW motor is expected to be less than half the size, and about one third of the weight of an equivalent copped-based motor. It will also be quieter and more efficient than conventional propulsion techniques.

The contract to build the motor has been awarded to a consortium led by the American Superconductor Corporation. The contract is expected to be worth some $70m to AMSC — the largest in its history.

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