The world needs more and more electricity – and power lines to carry it. But there is less and less space for new transmission line routes. This is where superconductors come in. Unlike conventional power lines, they need not overcome any electrical resistance that otherwise eats up part of the energy.
The sticking point with superconductors, however, is the cooling: the colder they are, the more current they can carry without losses. Cooling systems are used for this purpose, but they consume a lot of energy to achieve the required low temperatures of around minus 200 degrees Celsius. An alternative to this are cooling systems that work with cryogenic liquid nitrogen. They consume less energy than the loss-free transmission lines save. This technology makes it possible to implement up to 100-kilometer-long, energy-efficient cable runs inexpensively and with very high operational reliability.