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Network April 2016

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W hen the chief scienti c adviser for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said "the greatest challenge to meeting our long-term emissions target is decarbonising our heating system", he was acknowledging an issue that industry has been grappling with for a long time. Domestic heating represents 45% of all the energy used in the UK and has supported one of the most extensive gas grids and largest gas boiler markets in the world. It follows then that moving to a low-carbon heat system will mean signi cant changes for the UK's energy infrastructure. In this context, in the summer of 2014, the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) hosted a collaborative summit that brought together leaders from four of the UK's gas distribution NETWORK / 36 / APRIL 2016 Making waves A designed to protect the future of gas now has the potential to engage consumers and communities when they make their energy choices, says Freddie Tilbrook of the EIC. networks with experts from industry, government and academia to start a conversation about the future of gas. But what began as a conversation about how the gas industry might future- proof itself quickly evolved into a dialogue about how the wider energy system could place consumers' interests at the heart of what they do and Project Futurewave was born. The project takes inspiration from companies such as eBay, Amazon and Airbnb. These The key advantage of transmission and distribution cables made from superconductive material is that they have no electrical DC resistance when kept at temperatures below -183° Celsius, generally through the use of liquid nitrogen pumped along the outside of the cables. The lack of resistance means they can transmit more power along a smaller right of way, 150 to 200% more than traditional cables. There are other benefi ts too: High power transmission capacity Transmit the same power at lower voltage or higher power at the same voltage. This lets network companies reduce cable congestion by replacing multiple cables with a single superconductive one. Low impedance HTS cables take load from parallel overloaded paths in the grid . No outer magnetic fi eld Because of the superconducting screen, cables do not affect other cables running parallel to them. No thermal impact on environment No drying out of soil, no thermal backfi ll required. No maximum laying depth. No bottlenecks at cable crossings. Simple cable installation Reduces space required for substations and cable installation, and less civil work is necessary. Increased operating safety because of fault current limitation. Lower life cycle costs Cooling Liquid nitrogen is cheap and readily available. Development trajectory The world's fi rst use of high-voltage cable was a 610m length in New York in 2008, and it operated for three years. Today it is used in the medical sector for MRI systems and in transportation. It will be cost-effi cient for energy networks when compared to traditional cables "in the near future", according to superconductor technology company Nexans. PAT H O F L E A S T R E S I S TA N C E Why conduct electricity when you can superconduct? CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT

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