The global site of the UK's leading magazine for automation, motion engineering and power transmission
17 April, 2024

Twitter link

Superconducting naval motor project steams ahead

01 January, 2001

Superconducting naval motor project steams ahead

Sea-going trials of a ship propulsion system based on a superconducting motor could start within three years. This follows a decision by the US Navy`s Office of Naval Research to award a $1.6m contract to the American Superconductor Corporation (ASC) to design a 25MW HTS (high temperature superconductor) motor and to start building and testing its components.

The six-month project follows an earlier contract for a preliminary design of the AC synchronous motor. ASC expects to receive additional contracts within a year that could lead to sea trials, probably initially involving a smaller 3.7MW motor. ASC plans to start selling industrial motors of this size at about the same time.

By cutting losses dramatically, motors based on HTS technology could be a fifth of the size and a third of the weight of similarly rated conventional copper-wound machines. This could lead to radically different ship designs and to compact and quiet propulsion systems.

ASC has also announced that is collaborating with the US ship-builder Litton Ship Systems to apply HTS technology to commercial and naval vessels.

The global market for propulsion motors is already worth around $250m and is likely to grow rapidly if the HTS motors live up to expectations.

  • To view a digital copy of the latest issue of Drives & Controls, click here.

    To visit the digital library of past issues, click here

    To subscribe to the magazine, click here



"Do you think that robots create or destroy jobs?"



Most Read Articles