The wires for high-temperature superconductors are manufactured by a coating process developed by Deutsche Nanoschicht that uses chemical solution deposition. The ceramic layers produced in this way have superconducting properties because they feature flawless crystal orientation. "Chemical deposition processes are technically challenging but hold enormous economic potential," said Dr. Michael Bäcker, managing director of Deutsche Nanoschicht.
Industrial and energy sector customers, in particular, can benefit from the company's patented solutions. "Wherever large volumes of electricity are generated, transported or used, the technologies we have developed facilitate innovative power engineering systems that operate efficiently with little impact on resources," said Bäcker.
Manufacturers of generators and motors or of cable and mains supply networks for metropolitan areas will be particularly interested in superconductor technology. Among other applications it enables energy to be harvested highly efficiently from renewable resources by means of wind and hydro power generators, especially in offshore wind farms.
High-temperature superconductors conduct current without resistance at temperatures just above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen (77 Kelvin/-196 degrees Celsius). This temperature can be reached reliably at little cost and maintained during operations by means of commercial cryo technology. As the current carrying capacity is high compared to copper, extremely compact and lightweight systems become an option in electrical engineering.
Deutsche Nanoschicht has developed a unique process for manufacturing superconductors cost-effectively. Customized formulations are deposited on a substrate by means of continuous processes. The crystallographic structure of the substrate is effectively transferred to the ceramic layers being deposited so that all crystals of the superconductor obtained are perfectly aligned to each other. The coating consequently features the ideal electrical properties of a monocrystal but does not show its mechanical properties such as brittleness or impact sensitivity.
BASF Future Business and Deutsche Nanoschicht intend to bring this innovative coating technology to market together. The superconductor manufacturing process allows a broad range of applications far beyond the energy sector. "We believe that the coating technology of Deutsche Nanoschicht is a promising technology platform. Combined with our expertise in formulation, it can form the basis for the development of new system solutions for sensor and energy technology as well as electronics," said Dr. Ralf Nörenberg, member of the scouting team at BASF Future Business. "By cooperating with Deutsche Nanoschicht GmbH we can bring together our expertise in chemicals and the innovative coating process of our partner."