Improved Superconducting Wire for Wind Generators

Default ARPA-E Project Image

Upton , New York
Project Term:
01/01/2012 - 03/31/2016

Technology Description:

Brookhaven National Laboratory is developing a low-cost superconducting wire that could be used in high-power wind generators. Superconducting wire currently transports 600 times more electric current than a similarly sized copper wire, but is significantly more expensive. Brookhaven National Laboratory will develop a high-performance superconducting wire that can handle significantly more electrical current, and will demonstrate an advanced manufacturing process that has the potential to yield a several-fold reduction in wire costs while using a using negligible amount of rare earth material. This design has the potential to make a wind turbine generator lighter, more powerful, and more efficient, particularly for offshore applications.

Potential Impact:

If successful, Brookhaven National Laboratory's superconducting wire would make wind generators practical for widespread deployment and result in the substantial reduction of greenhouse gases by positioning wind as a viable alternative to coal-powered electricity.


The U.S. produces a small fraction globally of industrial rare earths. Developing alternatives to the use of rare earths has the potential to reduce our dependence on these materials and will have a positive impact on our national economic and energy security.


Cost-effective superconducting wire would enable widespread use of wind power and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions compared to coal power, which produces 20% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions each year.


The average American spends nearly $4,000 each year on energy. Encouraging renewable alternatives to traditional sources of energy would diversify our energy portfolio and save consumers money in the long run.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Patrick McGrath
Project Contact:
Dr. Qiang Li
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


American Superconductor Corporation

Related Projects

Release Date: