Joint Centers of Excellence Program

Bulk superconductors for flywheel energy storage and other high field applications

Bulk (RE)-Ba-Cu-O and MgB2 high temperature superconducting have considerable potential for the generation of stable trapped magnetic fields that are significantly greater than those generated by permanent magnets (limited to around 1.5 T).
Those materials may be applied in a range of sustainable engineering devices that are of relevance to Saudi Arabia, such as flywheel energy storage, small, light motors and generators, magnetic separators, magnetic bearings, a compact, shaft-less and bearing-less micro gas turbine electrical generator. The torque of such turbine can be increased potentially at reduced rotational speed, which has the potential to employ more economical materials in the generator design due to the lower resulting hoop and rotational forces. In addition, such a generator can be integrated potentially into a mechanical system, eliminating the need for gears, bearings and other expensive contact mechanical parts. The project will include the development of materials processing and properties, the development of commercial devices that incorporate bulk superconductors, the transfer of processing technology to KACST and the training of KACST personnel at both Cambridge and Riyadh. The activities at KACST and the funding of KACST personnel will be supported independently by a separate budget.