In my entry on “Rock star physicists” I said that there are no commercially viable applications of high Tc superconductors. I have just discovered that this could be wrong — at least according to Alexis Malozemoff of American Superconductor Corporation.
In his talk “Transforming the Grid with Superconductivity” (L1 5), Malozemoff said that the company had sold two “synchronous condensers” to the Tennessee Valley Authority. These are electric motor-like devices that act as “shock absorbers” in an electricity grid and help keep voltage levels steady. The devices are wound with high Tc superconductor wire.
The company is also working on giant electric motors to power US Navy warships, and Malozemoff said that the company is still in the running for a contract to supply motors for next-generation destroyers.