GE High-efficiency Generator Design Validated

Issue 9 and Volume 107.

General Electric reports that a demonstration model for a new, high-temperature superconducting (HTS) generator has been successfully tested.

“Improving generator efficiency has national importance since generators are the source of all conventional power plant electricity. The successful testing of the demonstration model validates GE’s design approach to not only increase efficiency, but also address customer cost and reliability needs,” says James Daley, lead physicist for the superconductivity program of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

In a significant milestone for the development project, a 1.8 MVA proof-of-concept model for the rotor, cryo-refrigeration and HTS subsystems has been designed, manufactured and tested. Results of the tests will be scaled to a 100-MVA prototype generator that will be fully tested under load.

The refrigeration system and transfer coupling in the model are full-size prototypes directly applicable to the 100 MVA generator, while a high-strength HTS coil of first-generation wire and a coil support structure are scaled-down versions.

Extensive cryogenic, mechanical, electrical component and systems tests were conducted. Special attention was focused on the performance of the HTS coil, which maintained its capability throughout all tests, including sudden short circuit tests and rotor overspeed tests.

“The successful tests validated all key HTS components and physics-based design analysis models. Valuable design enhancements were identified for the 100 MVA generator,” said Dr. Meng-Ling Hsiao, general manager of generator technology for GE Power Systems.

Moving forward, the project team will continue the economic evaluation of HTS generators. The design phase for the 100 MVA prototype machine is expected to be completed in 2004. “We expect to meet the goal of initially testing the full-size (100) MVA prototype by 2005,” said Daley.

In addition to GE, the development team includes American Electric Power, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and DOE.