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Challenges and Prospects for the Large-Scale Application of Superconductivity

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1 Author(s)
Gourlay, S.A. ; Lawrence Berkeley Nat. Lab., Berkeley, CA

The large-scale use of superconductivity continues to be dominated by applications for which there is generally no conventional option. In these cases, superconductivity has enabled new science and technology that could not exist without it. The fields of fusion energy and high-energy physics (HEP) have particularly benefited from the application of superconductivity. High magnetic fields are absolutely necessary to achieve the required performance parameters. Even though superconductivity is an enabling technology for these fields, it comes with a number of challenges and market incursion has been very slow. However, thanks to persistent ongoing research, improvements in ancillary technology, and the development of new materials, the field is far from exhausted. On the contrary, many new applications in addition to high field magnets for scientific research and medical applications are on the horizon. Several applications are on the verge of accomplishing the much more difficult task of replacing existing conventional technology. This paper summarizes the current status of large-scale applications of superconductivity, using as an example magnet technology for fusion and HEP, and examines the prospects and challenges for new large-scale applications in the future.

Published in:

Applied Superconductivity, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 3 )

Date of Publication:

Sept. 2008

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