Indian-American to transform U.S. power grid

Indian-American to transform U.S. power grid

Wednesday, 31 March 2010, 09:16 Hrs   |    33 Comments
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Indian-American to transform U.S. power grid
Washington: Although the U.S. power industry is one of the greatest engineering marvels, ageing technology and an increase in demand are creating problems for the power grid that needs fixing. Now, an Indian-American engineer is set to transform the way power is generated.

Venkat Selvamanickam, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Houston, is developing a technology with high temperature superconducting wires that is revolutionising the way power is generated, transported and used.

It is estimated that high-temperature superconducting wires could eliminate 131 million tonnes of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and offset the emission of the equivalent of 40 conventional power-generating plants.

"The country's electric transmission grid currently consists of about 160,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, with forecasters predicting an additional 12,900 miles needed over the next five years to meet increasing demand," said Selvamanickam.

"Superconducting power cables can transmit up to 10 times more power than traditional copper cables without the significant losses of traditional cables and are considered environmentally friendly," he added.

"The goal of my research is to modernise the power grid with high temperature superconducting wires to improve efficiency and reliability."

"Almost anything in the power grid -- cables, transformers, motors, generators -- can be more efficient if you use high temperature superconducting wires."

"Superconducting fault current limiters can enable uninterrupted power transmission when conventional circuits will otherwise succumb to outages in events such as lightning storms," said Selvamanickam, who did his B.E. (Honours) from Regional Engineering college, Tiruchi, India.

The applications for superconducting wires range from advanced medical imaging techniques like magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) to large-scale applications replacing existing copper wires with superconducting wires to raise reliability and cut costs.

"High temperature superconductivity has the potential to revolutionise the way we use electricity, just like the way fiber-optics revolutionised the way we communicate," he said.

"Our research pays immediate returns to the industry. It's not like something that may be useful 10 years down the line," Selvamanickam added.
Source: IANS
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Reader's comments(33)
1: it should be acceptable by everyone.
Posted by:Damodhar - 06 Apr, 2010
2: Any innovation that facilitates the generation, trasmission and distribution of energy is welcome. should also lead to the be viable leading to more eceonomical and greener energy. Let us hope the media hype of innovations/researches is proportionate to its prospects of viablity.
Posted by:Piyush C.Sharma - 03 Apr, 2010
Damodhar Replied to: Piyush C.Sharma - 06 Apr, 2010
4: The title is misleading. No single individual can "transform US power grid". The US grid is a huge and very complex system (as in any large country). Moreover, high temperature superconductivity is not a new concept. Lot of hype was created in the eighties. Even in India many crores of rupees were spent by the Dept. of Science and Technology in funding research at several institutions. There is still no material or technology that is commercially viable. Still, good luck to Prof. Selvamanickam.
Posted by:VRS - 03 Apr, 2010
5: sir i am 3rd year student of i am hard working personi have sequred 60percent mark give me idea about this
Posted by:sarvesh pratap singh - 02 Apr, 2010
6: i fail to see how this would reduce CO2 emmisions at all,
and would really be a waste of money as the current way to transmit power is effective using these supeconductors will only cause a black out of power where it is probably needed most
really i mean no offense to my good indian brother for as that MAN JAMES LEE ANDERSON who is the great great grandson of Alagonquin the Great Native American Chief who died in 1906, after 24 years battle with TB aqquired by the spit of MHADI, we should just do the quantum generator thing
at least in 2014 I can leave meaning I dont have to worry about a non exsitant future on this planet
its not my planet just the one i died on and was born again on in 1959 right when and where i was supposed to be born in Indiana in the States in Portor County next door to Alagoquins fort of La porte
I have Mongolian and Indian in me and really ancient DNA at that lol
Posted by:JAMES LEE ANDERSON - 02 Apr, 2010
7: would be better to use quantum generators instead of mass production of power then using grids to supply that
with the quantum generator one could have up to 300amps in his her home or small business with no problems to enviroment and actualy have an increased emf to protect the home or business from anything the galaxy or universe or our suns do as the nature of this part of space
I own patents to this peice of electronic equipment
my govt refuses to allow me to build this as they generate power from oil coal and gas and nukes
which will destory us all when the particle of matter energy wave is here in 2014
12 sciences and religon including astro physics electronics and computers biology world history us history and areospace tech
Posted by:james lee anderson - 02 Apr, 2010
8: All the very best to Mr.Venkat.Just i wud like to know the material used for the construction of super conductor.
Posted by:Tuttumon - 02 Apr, 2010
Posted by:TARIQ DURRANI - 02 Apr, 2010
It's amazing to see such kind of innovations , I really appreciate such kind of innovations and request them to extend these to india also .
xyz Replied to: TARIQ DURRANI - 02 Apr, 2010
11: prof.venkat, we from tamil nadu are proud of u, I would like to know more about super grid can u mail me on that ur view.
Posted by:sankar aiyer - 02 Apr, 2010
12: congrat to venkat
Posted by:Pawan kumar - 01 Apr, 2010
13: I have one question for you guy, These American-India don't treat them as Indian. According to them they are American citizen and they have nothing to do with India so why Indian media make big noise. If they really care then why not come back to India and serve these ideas in India.
Posted by:Ravi Khatana - 01 Apr, 2010
1st its easier said than factor alwaz come into account buddy....
Himanshu Replied to: Ravi Khatana - 01 Apr, 2010
15: Its really GOOD if its from our side from an INDIAN...

Really Great..Carry on ..

Posted by:Abdul - 01 Apr, 2010
16: Hi Prof. Venkat, I am glad that you are a part of this project. Recently I read an article that Super Power Inc and Department of Energy US is working on SMART GRID and by end of 2012 a transformer will be installed with super conductor. Also if possible would like to get updates from you about the satus of the project.
Posted by:Chethan Kumar - 01 Apr, 2010
17: Realy good job....bravo to Venkat
Posted by:Sandeep Kumar - 01 Apr, 2010
18: I am resident of Himachal Pradesh a hilly state, where there is very large potential of producing hydro-electricity and at present the electricty produced much of it is lost in transmission,the invention of superconductors and its implementation in transmission will bring more revenue to the fund starved states.Bravo to Selvamannickam.
Posted by:P.S.Thakur - 01 Apr, 2010
19: Researchers are working on superconductors from last more than 25 years even though they are not successful to apply this technology in field.Problem was temperature.Now they are working on high temperature superconductor. It is a nice approach but how much time it will take for practical application, is a matter of concern. I hope to see this technology in field in near future.
Posted by:Sujeet Kumar - 01 Apr, 2010
20: Good work. But the article did not speak about the cost of wires to replace the existing copper wire. Any how congrats India and Indian
Posted by:Rajendran Coimbatore - 01 Apr, 2010
21: Hi Friends
it is encouraging news the article says it can be implemented immediately also there was a bloom box stuff that is still on ,what I can see irrespective of bloom box maturing interms of price and usage ,looks like prof Venkat Selvamanickam's proposal can be used straightaway as efficiency is the criteria during transmission of power
iam an optimist by nature ..
rama mohana rao anne
sydney australia
Posted by:rama mohana rao anne - 31 Mar, 2010
22: The article describes his "research". Has this been proven to work, because after the USA invests in this it "must" work. Has this been approved and been started already? If not then it's best we wait with the kudos.
Posted by:christie fox - 31 Mar, 2010
Hi Christie
i had checked out more info ,prof Venkat Selvamanickam is involved with superconductor for more than 18-19 years ,the comapny that the article talks about is superpower its webiste address is
Based on the information and prof Venkat Selvamanickam's patents(more than 30 patents issued ,21 patents pending in u.s , more than 60 international patents pending, ,his theisis(master's degree) and other papers that are published
are the most widely cited by others as a reference in Super Conductivity.Iam highly impressed and hopeful the days that Prof Venkat Selvamanickam's hard work will bear fruit and soon be commercialized as field trails are in progress as we speak,infact very close to commercialization ..
rama mohana rao anne Replied to: christie fox - 31 Mar, 2010
well the idea is possible . because superconductor are which have 0 resistance .so that is why he meant all losses will be eliminated which occurs manly becoz of resistance in wires. BUt issue is creating superconudting wire need extreme low temprature and infact brcoz of this it was used in expensive materail. he must have discovered some way of creating cheap wires. And that i can say is revolution . kudoz.
manish Replied to: rama mohana rao anne - 31 Mar, 2010
Instead of very low temperatures, I think he is using very high temperatures to achieve superconductivity. Good luck to him!
A V Koshy Replied to: manish - 01 Apr, 2010
26: Further details of Prof. Selva's work are available from :
Posted by:R K S - 31 Mar, 2010
27: Thanks to Harry and Varun for the super encouragements. We need people like you.
Posted by:Any One - 31 Mar, 2010
You sound a little sarcastic, unless I'm misreading! Prof Selva's work is highly impressive, and one hopes that it is successful. So far, it seems untested in real conditions. That's all I'm saying. I'll be the first to applaud when it is actually used in the power grid. All the best!
Varun Shekhar Replied to: Any One - 31 Mar, 2010
29: Nice, but sorry SiliconIndia, I do not share your enthusiasm. There are no known room-temp superconductors till date. For that matter, even finding a superconductor at 0 deg celsius (273.15 deg K)is a big challenge. If Dr. Selvamanickam's research has indeed found one, mentioning the material and appropriate references would be great.
Posted by:Harry - 31 Mar, 2010
Another more detailed article on the same topic from Scientia Magazine at....

"High temperature superconductivity defines certain materials like metals and ceramics that lose electrical resistance when cooled by liquid nitrogen, an inexpensive industrial refrigerant that costs less than a bottle of water, a major development in the price point for superconductivity for wide commercial use."
Dev Devendra ACMA PMP Replied to: Harry - 31 Mar, 2010
Please see attached link for more details....

SuperPower and University of Houston Sign High Temperature Superconducting Wire License Agreements:

March 30, 2010 - Houston - The University of Houston (UH) executed two license agreements with SuperPower, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Philips Electronics. One agreement covers the intellectual property on second generation (2G) high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire that is developed under the Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA) previously executed between the two parties. This sponsored research program is led by Venkat Selvamanickam, M.D. Anderson chair professor of mechanical engineering and the director of the Applied Research Hub of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston (TCSUH). The second agreement covers the fundamental composition of matter patent of high temperature superconductor that was discovered by Paul Chu in 1987 at the University of Houston.
Dev Devendra ACMA PMP Replied to: Harry - 31 Mar, 2010
32: Very nice, but I suppose the issue is how far away is this technology from actually being implemented?
Posted by:Varun Shekhar - 31 Mar, 2010
Proud of you Prof.Venkat...i feel ecstatic reading abt another Gem OF NITT Mech
bhanu pratap singh Replied to: Varun Shekhar - 01 Apr, 2010