The novel design of an energy efficient superconductor-based series reactor for installation at a grid connected research site

Keywords: fault current limiter, superconducting power devices, energy efficiency


This paper proposes the development of a superconducting series reactor (SSR) as an alternative to traditionally employed technologies and superconducting fault current limiters when managing fault levels on the electrical power grid. By utilizing superconducting tape, which has negligible resistance, in the construction of a series reactor, it is proposed that fault level mitigation could be achieved in a more energy efficient manner. Once constructed the SSR will be installed and tested at a grid-connected power engineering research site, and the proposed impact of this installation is firstly simulated using Reticmaster® power system simulation software. Design parameters for the prototype SSR are then calculated enabling the total cost of the modifications and prototype SSR to be determined. A desktop SSR was also constructed and tested as a pre-cursor to the prototype construction to confirm functionality and design and was found to be up to four times more energy efficient as the equivalent copper reactor. Finally, the calorimetric method of power loss determination was investigated and experimentally shown to be a viable alternative to the traditional electrical method of power loss determination. In the past, the relatively cheap cost of electricity in South Africa had favoured the installation of poor power efficiency devices that required a lower initial capital investment. With increasing energy costs and a focus on carbon emission reductions, the development of the SSR augurs a new era in power system engineering in which designs are proposed considering both total lifecycle costs and energy efficiency.

  • Design proposal for the first superconducting power device in Africa
  • Alternative to less efficient fault current management technologies currently employed
  • Construction and testing of a desktop superconducting series reactor
  • Verification of the calorimetric method for power loss determination.


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