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July 26, 2006

Other tech: superconducting 2G wire rolling out, 140 amps over 300+feet

The breakthrough announced yesterday, American Superconductor Corp said, is that 2G wire of lengths in excess of 300 feet can now conduct 140 amperes of electric current, which is over the commercial threshold of 120 amps. It is the first-ever commercial-grade 2G wire that has been produced by a high-volume low-cost scalable industrial process. The 2G wire meets the standards for integration into commercial power grids. The companies stock was up 25% so investors think this will have impact. To put the size and power of 2G wire into perspective, the company said that more than 100 copper wires of the same dimension would be needed to conduct as much current as one 2G wire, and that in a high-voltage power system, one 2G wire — which has a width of 4 millimeters, or two human hairs — would be able to carry enough power to serve 1,000 homes.

The company said it is on track to meet its previously announced benchmark of shipping 10,000 meters of 2G wire this fiscal year. “As production grows, we expect we will be able to lower the unit cost, while at the same time we expect to continue to increase the performance of the 2G wire,” Mr. Yurek said in an e-mail message. The company expects that by the end of the decade, the price-performance ratio of 2G wire will be equivalent to that of copper wire, he said.

The Devens plants is scaling up to its December 2007 operational target of 720,000 meters, or about 2.4 million feet, he said.

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