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Installation and Operation of Superconducting Rotating Machines

Swam S. Kalsi
Abstract: Superconducting rotating machine technology is developing rapidly. At present, four superconducting
rotating machine program are in progress. General Electric is building a 100 MVA superconducting generator
under a DOEcontract. American Superconductor (AMSC) has 3 programs on superconducting machines - a IO
MVAR superconducting synchronous condenser, a 5 MW, 230-RPM ship propulsion motor for Office of Naval
Research (ONR)and a 36.5 Mw, 120-RPM ship propulsion motor programs also for ONR. All superconducting
machines employ High Temperature Superconductors (HTS) in the field winding on the rotor and a conventional
ambient temperature copper winding in the stator. This paper discusses the installation and operation of these
machines and their support equipment

I. INTRODUCTION than conventional machines. Major subsystems of HTS

machines are discussed below.
The advent of high-temperature superconductivity has
created the opportunity for a quantum leap in the HTS Field Winding The field winding is constructed
technology of large electric machines. HTS-based from an HTS conductor. Currently BSCCO-2223
motors and generators will be smaller, lighter, more conductor is commercially available from AMSC in the
efficient, and less expensive to manufacture and US and other sources in Europe and Japan. The field
operate than conventional machines. The potentially winding is isolated thermally from the warm shaft and
significant,cost, size, weight and efficiency benefits of rotor enclosure. Since torque is experienced by the
superconducting machines will change the dynamics of field winding, low thermal conductivity torque tubes
the electrical machinery industry. HTS technology is are employed to transfer the torque from the cold field
revolutionizing how electrical power is created, winding to the warm shaft, while limiting the thermal
transmitted, stored, managed, and utilized. conduction info the cold space. The field winding can
be excited with slip-rings or brushless exciters.
HTS technology is being applied in both and Brushless exciters are prefemed by all segments of
ship p r o p ~ l s i o n ~ .applications.
~.~ Low Temperature industry as they require minimal maintenance and are
Superconducting generators have been built and tested well suited for hazardous or contaminated
utilizing low temperature superconducting windings, environments.
hut they were not economically feasible due to a need 81- m-
for low temperature (4.5K)refrigerator systems. On -ma./ mm I
the other hand, HTS windings operate at relatively high
temperatures (35-40K) which makes it possible to
employ commercially available off-the-shelf
cryocoolers. This paper only discusses the machines
employing HTS field windings.



The major components of a rotating machine u m s / ~ l w o p /o.covsbma--

employing an HTS winding are shown in Figure I .
Only the field winding employs HTS coils cooled with Figure 1: Block diagram of a superconducting synchronous
a crywooler subsystem to about 35-40K. The machine showing superconducting field winding and its
crywooler modules are located in a stationary frame, cooling system, and conventional armature winding
and a fluid such as gaseous helium or liquid neon is
employed to cool components on the rotor. The stator Refrigeration Svstem: The field winding is cooled with
winding employs conventional copper winding. refrigerators located in the stationary frame. Generally
Outwardly, these machines do not look much different a closed-loop system utilizing a suitable gas such as
helium is employed as the cooling medium. The gas is

.Swam Kalsi is with Amrican Superconductor Corporation,

Westborough. M A 01581, E-mail: sltalsi@amsuoer.com

02003 IEEE
0-7803-8110-6/03/%17.00 1098
transferred from stationary to rotating reference frame windings can employ direct or indirect cooling of
using a rotating coupling. Cooling system has been conductors. The cooling approach is selected on the
developed for cooling the HTS field winding to 30 K. hasis of customer preference, operating voltage and
These systems employ Gifford-McMahon (GM) size considerations. Superconducting machines up to
cryocoolers which are widely used by MRI and 13.8kV have been built.
vacuum system industries and are commercially
available as Components-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) 111. INSTALLATION
catalog items. Substantial experience has been gained
for operating both field winding and cryocooling Most of the electrical and mechanical interfaces for the
systems. A typical crywooler and its compressor are HTS machines are similar to conventional machines.
shown in Figure 2. Each cryocooler head is about 4-in. Larger conventional machines employ complex
diameter and 14-in. tall. Its associated compressor is a hydrogen or helium for cooling the rotor. On the other
cube with 24-in. side dimension. Each compressor hand, HTS machines require cooling of the field
weighs about 260 Ihs. and could be located up to 50- winding which is accomplished with COTS

100 feet away from the machine, if necessary. subsystems. A typical installation of an HTS generator
is shown in Figure 4. A motor or synchronous
condenser installation would he similar.
Cooler Compressors

Prime Mover
Figure 2 A cryocwler on lefl and its compressor on right Cooling
Exciter Module
In fall 2001, Worlds most powerful HTS Figure 4 Major components of an HTS generator installation
superconducting motor4 (5,000 HP, 1800-RPM)was
successfully demonstrated. The motor is shown in The prime mover, generator and exciter installation are
Figure 3 along with a refrigerator that is mounted on similar to conventional machines. The stator employs a
the non-driven end of the motor. This refrigerator copper winding similarto a conventional machine and
module is 14411. diameter and 30-in. tall - the figure is cooled using traditional cooling techniques. The
shows two cryocoolers similar to that shown in Figure brushless exciter system will come assembled on the
2. This machine employed liquid neon as the cooling generator. The only difference is the cooling system
medium. for the field winding on the rotor. The rotor cooling
system consists of two components:
Cooling module consisting of cryocoolers

- (Figure 3), and I

Helium compressors to drive the cryocoolers

(Figure 2 )
The cooling module is coupled with the rotating shaft
through a rotating coupling which allows transfer of
the coolant from the stationary frame to the rotating
reference frame of the rotor. The helium compressor
can be located away from the machine.


Although HTS machines look similar to their
Figure 3: A 5.W hp, 1,800 rpm HTS motor demonstrated by conventional cousins, there are some salient differences
AMSC in the fall 2001 -the field winding cooling module in their electrical characteristics. They require
with two cryocoolers is shown on the non-driven end different support equipment, such as refrigerators for
! cooling the supercondu,ctingwinding. The discussion
Stator: The stator winding employs copper coils
cooled by traditional cooling approaches. These


in this section is, therefore, split in two parts - electrical that the H T S field winding could he rapidly discharged
operation and mechanical operation. without exceeding the 12t heating in the armature
winding. Figure 7 shows decay of the field current and
Electrical Oueration: The superconducting machines 12theating in the armature. The total temperature rise of
are characterized with low synchronous reactance (xd) the armature due to this heat load is about 10C.
in the range of 0.3 to 0.6 pu, which helps in easy
voltage regulation. The total field current swing 100 1
between no-load and full-load, conditions is small as .. _ . .
compared with conventional machines. V-curves for a 50 A
typical superconducting machine (with xd = 0.3 pu) are
shown in Figure 5. A superconducting machine can
operate at any power factor (including zero - leading or
lagging) within its MVA rating. The critical fault
clearing time of the machine is not significantly p -100
affected over the whole operating range. 3 -1 5 0

-200 J

Figure 6 Load angle swing due to a 25 cycle fault on the

high voltage side of the transformer

Field Current @U)

Figure S: V-curves for a superconducting machine show that

it can be operated at any load and power factor within its
M V A rating

H T S field winding current can be varied to meet

system needs without an impact on the life of the field 7
winding - thermal expansion and contractions
experienced by copper field windings of conventional
machines are absent in superconducting machines. An
F 20.=

superconducting machine also operates at a small load

angle (typically 10.15 degrees) and has a large spring
constant in relation to small oscillations. The outer-
most surface of the rotor is provided with an
electromagnetic (EM) shield (equivalent of dampers) Figure 7: During an un-cleared terminal fault, the field
which damps out small oscillations. Figure 6 shows the current is reduced (upper chart) and total stator heating
variation of load angle of a 10 MVA machine' during (lower chart) is limited to a safe value
and following a 25 cycle fault from no-load on the high
voltage side of the transformer. The effectiveness of HTS machines also meet IEEE requirements for total
the EM shield is demonstrated by rapid damping of the harmonic distortion and telephone influence facton -
slow oscillations. An HTS machine can recover from they are usually lower in H T S machines than
transient faults without requiring active control of the conventional machines. Magnetic field in the vicinity
field current. Fault recovery in Figure 6 is without of the HTS machine is the same as for a conventional
active control of the field current. machine.

The short-circuit ratio of these machines is high due to Mechanical Oneration: An H T S machine is identical to
low xd. In the event of an un-cleared terminal fault, the a conventional machine in all aspects with the
field winding must be deexcited quickly. A 10 MVA exception of the field winding and its cooling system.
machine' also being presented at this conference shows Stator cooling is the same as conventional machines,

1 loo
i.e. directly cooled or indirectly cooled. The beatings Brushless Exciter ,
are conventional roller or sleeve type depending on the Control field current in response to AVR or a
application. command from the operator

The field winding is cooled with cryocoolers which are .-

Field Winding
Coil voltages and currents
in turn powered by compressors using high pressure
(20 atmospheres) helium gas in a closed loop. Initial
cool-down of the field winding could take 2 to 5 days
Coil temperature ,
Current lead temperature
Crvocoolers and Comvressors
depending on the cooling system design. Once the
winding has been cooled, there is no need to warm it
up unless some mechanical work is to be performed on
- Cryocooler temperature
Compressor helium pressure and flow rates
Compressor temperature
the winding. In fact, the rotor could, be shipped from Compressor cooling water temperature and flow
the factory with the field winding in cold state, if rate
necessary. This data will be used for making maintenance
decisions and setting up state flags.
Cryocooler modules and their compressors shown in
Figure 2 are widely used in MRI systems and high
vacuum systems. Their maintenance and service, V. CONCLUSIONS
procedures are well established in the industry. HTS wire technology is finding applications in motors
Typically, a cryocooler degrades slowly (i.e. it loses its and generators of small and large ratings for industrial
cooling capability slowly), and it could be monitored to and utility applications. It is also very attractive for
schedule any maintenance. In most applications, it is ship propulsion applications where compact, light
possible to swap a cryocooler in less than 30 minutes weight low-speed high-torque motors are preferred.
without stopping the machine. HTS machines are expected to operate reliably for long
periods of time while requiring less maintenance than
The helium compressors generally run on their own their conventional counterparts. Due to absence of
controls and have separate maintenance requirements.
thermal fatigue of the field winding, HTS machines can
Each compressor has a charcoal filter that needs to be
be used for peaking as well as base load applications.
replaced at 2-year intervals for most applications. It
operates on 470 V, 3-phase, 60 Hz power and draws
about 7 kW. It is usually permissible to shut down the REFERENCES
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to stop the HTS machine. Thermal inertia of the field Kalsi, S.S., et al, Superconducting Dynamic Synchronous
winding and its support structure is usually sufficient to
keep the machine operating for a short-period of time
(a few hours) without the refrigerator. These
compressors are normally water cooled, requiring 5

Condenser for Improved Grid Voltage Suppon, a paper to be
resented at 2003 IEEE T&D Conference,Dallas, Texas
AMSC press release, 30 January 2003, American
Suoerconductor Announces Commercial Launch of New
H f S Product Line
liter/min flow with inlet pressure of 2 bar and ambient General Electric press release, 8 October 2001, GE team to
temperature of 5-25C. Develop Breakthrough Technology for Generators
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Control and Communication: Like conventional IEEE Power Engineering Society meeting, Chicago. July
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thermal data typically monitored in conventional motors, Lloyd sponsored Ship Propulsion Systems
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I cryocoolers and compressors will be monitored and
data will be transmitted to remote control consoles.
Typical states to be monitored are listed below: