Korean firm develops superconducting cable technology

February 2004 – South Korea’s LG Cable said Thursday it has developed superconducting power cables for the first time in South Korea, making it the second nation in Asia to possess the technology after Japan.

The cable maker said it already successfully completed testing the product and was planning to try the cables out under real everyday conditions later this month ahead of commercialization.

Superconducting power cables are encased in a pipe through which either liquid nitrogen or hydrogen is constantly pumped to cool the wires, creating the conditions necessary for superconductivity to take place.

Because electrons move in pairs through the superconductive wire they do not collide with each other and do not cause energy to be lost in transmission. The technology allows greater amounts of electricity to pass through smaller amounts
of wire.

Denmark was the first to develop the technology and now uses it commercially, providing electricity to 50 000 households.

LG Cable said, however, it would take some time for the company to commercialize the state-of-the-art power cables because of high prices and technological difficulties.

“It’s hard to commercialize the superconducting power cables right now, but they have sufficient marketability to enable them to recover investment costs as new cities and large-scale apartment towns that are scheduled to be built will need huge amounts of electricity,” an LG Cable official explained.