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Theory and Application of Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage

Ju Wen, Jian X. Jin Center of Applied Superconductivity and Electrical Engineering, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610054, China Email: ABSTRACT
Superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) technology is one of the most active research areas of applied superconductivity in the recent years especially after the high temperature superconducting (HTS) materials were discovered. The theory of SMES and the structure of its system will be introduced and discussed in this paper, as well as its power conditioning system control strategies and prospective applications in the future.

You G. Guo, Jian G. Zhu Faculty of Engineering, University of Technology, Sydney, PO Box 123, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia Email:
where L is the inductance of the SMES coil, ISMES is the current flowing in the SMES coil. Supposing the SMES coil discharging with constant power P0 within specific time ts, the energy in the SMES coil E(t) at t<ts is

E (t ) = E SMES P0 t




Superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) is an energy storage device that stores energy in the form of dc electricity that is the source of dc magnetic field. In the recent 30 years, SMES technology is one of the hot research areas of superconductor applications, especially when the high temperature superconducting (HTS) materials were discovered 20 years ago in 1986. Research on SMES is promoted and its technology has achieved significant progress. Compared to other energy storage devices and methods, SMES has some better performances. Firstly, the current density of SMES coil is about 10 to 100 times lager than the common coil, and has virtually no resistive losses. Consequently, the energy with a higher density can be stored in a persistent mode until required. Secondly, the efficiency of SMES can get up to 95% and energy exchanging speed with power systems within milliseconds. Furthermore, SMES can be easily controlled. With the well developed power electronic technology, SMES can enhance power system stability and improve the power quality through active and reactive power compensation.

Figure 1: Components of a typical SMES system.

When t=ts, the current in SMES coil is

Is =

P0 v


where v is the voltage across the coil during discharging. If the current in the coil drops below the critical value Is, the system can no longer discharge with constant power P0. However, discharge may be continued at a reduced power and this depends on the depth of discharge. The term depth of discharge of the coil is represented as a ratio of deliverable energy Ed to stored energy ESMES, that can be described as

Ed Pt = 0s E SMES E SMES




The current at any given time t is obtained from (1) and (3) as

A SMES system is mainly consisted of a superconducting coil as magnet, a cryogenic system, a protection system, a power conditioning system (PCS) and a controller, as shown in Fig. 1 [1]. The superconducting coil is obtaining energy while charging from the power system, then releases the energy stored through discharging. The energy stored in SMES coil can be described as

I (t ) =

P0 t 1 ts v 1


This current depends on the and the coil operating voltage v. The energy stored is obtained from (2) and (4) as

E (t ) = E SMES P0 t s

E SMES t ts





t = (1 ) ts




The SMES coil is the main element in a SMES system, A SMES coil design follows Virial law [2], and the law is shown as M st = (1 + 2Qc ) st E / st (7) where Mst is the mass of the coil; Qc is the compressive quality factor, its value is within 0 - 1 that depends on the SMES coil configuration; st is the configuration density; st is the average design stress; E is the stored energy in the coil. According to (7), to reduce the coil mass requires a small Qc value. When Qc = 0, the minimum of mass can be described as M st = st E / st (8) To design a coil having less mass than (8) is impossible. According to (7), the medium-sized SMES coils have been designed and the results are shown in Table 1 [2].
Table 1. The results of medium-sized SMES coil SMES coil Interior hole capacity /MWh /m 1 5 5 8 10 10.5 20 13.5 Height /m 8 12 15 17.5 Operating current /kA 50 50 75 100 (a) FBC (b) TTC

Figure 3: The toroidal coil.

The structure of solenoid coil is simpler than toroidal coil; design of solenoid coil focuses on the optimum the geometry parameters, so that the solenoid coil can store greater energy with less superconducting material and less volume. The ordinary cross sectional shape of solenoid coil is rectangular. However, a new cross sectional shape of step shape has been proposed [7]. By using the proposed shape, the winding volume and the loss of the SMES coils can be reduced effectively. It is possible to design the larger SMES for power system stabilization with higher energy storage by using the proposed shape. 2.2. POWER CONDITIONING SYSTEM

The superconducting coil can be divided into a toroidal coil and a solenoid coil. The toroidal coil is suitable for medium-sized and small-sized SMES mainly, the ideal structure adopts the multistage structure, and the advantages of this structure are reducing the magnetic field leakage and the floor space. The solenoid coil is suitable for large-sized SMES, its advantage is having a simple structure, but produces leaking magnetic fields. In a toroidal coil, the electromagnetic force is inward as shown in Fig. 2(a), and in a solenoid coil it works outward as shown in Fig. 2(b) [3].

Power conditioning system (PCS) is the interface between SMES coil and power system, generally there are two types: current source converter (CSC) PCS and voltage source converter (VSC) PCS. The configurations of CSC-PCS and VSC-PCS are shown in Fig. 4 and Fig. 5 respectively [8]. VSC-PCS usually uses in a largesized SMES system. VSC-PCS is a voltage source converter in series with a DC/DC chopper, the charge and discharge of a SMES coil is controlled through invert circuit and the chopper. The four-quadrant voltage source converter is utilized to accomplish the power transformation between the three-phase AC power system and the DC bus.

(a) Toroidal coil (b) Solenoid coil Figure 2: Electromagnetic force on toroidal and solenoid coils.

A Force-Balanced-Coil (FBC) [3] has been proposed, and the conceptual structure of a FBC is shown as Fig. 3(a) [4], the dark hatch indicates one complete helical winding, and a FBC coil using 340m of Ag sheathed Bi2223 HTS tapes has been designed, the coil operates current 12A and is cooled by liquid nitrogen. The test result shows, the tensile stresses and the bending stresses cause the critical current decrease of the coil [5]. To reduce the stress problem, a kind of new coil structure Tilted-Toroidal-Coils (TTC) have been proposed by changing two tilted angles on the basis of toroidal field coil (TFC) structure, and as shown in Fig. 3(b) [6].

Figure 4: Voltage source converter of PCS.

The configuration of CSC-PCS is simple compared to VSC-PCS, and also its control is easier. The most important feature is that the response of power exchange with a CSC-PCS is much faster than with a VSC-PCS, because a SMES stores energy in the form of dc current. CSC-PCS technique is suitable for medium- and minisized SMES, several modules of CSC-PCS with parallel connection are able to be used in the case of high or ultra high power.

as shown in Fig. 7 [11]. This new method mainly has four advantages: (1) Increasing the current capacity to the level required by the superconducting magnet. (2) Reducing conduction losses. (3) Reducing harmonic waves by harmonic cancellation without the need of expensive filter. (4) Achieving a high frequency bandwidth. 2.3.2.
Figure 5: Current source converter of PCS.




The control strategies of PCS are very important in a SMES system, the strategies should be chosen according to the capacity of the SMES, stability of power system, AC harmonic wave and etc. 2.3. CONTROL STRATEGIES

A SMES device performance is also determined by its controller, which is a main technique to be considered in a SMES system design. Fig. 6 gives the block diagram of a SMES device control [9], where power system variables are the deviations of voltage, frequency, and current; Pd and Qd are the demanded active and reactive power; 1 and 2 are the firing angles of power converters; and Ps and Qs are the SMES active and reactive power outputs.

The stability of the power system is a typical non-linear problem, any practical power systems will be affected by uncertain factors, for instance the parameter uncertainty and interruption from outside. Therefore it is difficult to use the accurate mathematic models to describe the dynamic behaviour of the system. Switch frequency has a close relationship with the load parameters and the input voltage, and the uncertainty of the changes of these parameters make the accurate design limited; Using robust control and fuzzy control can overcome the limitation of accurate modelling. In order to verify the feasibility, the traditional PI control and fuzzy control are compared in transient stability enhancement of power system with three-phase-to ground (3LG) and single-line-to ground (1LG) faults near the generator, as shown in Fig. 8 and Fig. 9 respectively [12].

Figure 6: Block diagram of control with a SMES device.

The demanded active and reactive power, needed to support power system performance as measured by voltage, stabilizing power oscillation and improving power transfer, is determined by the external control based on deviations in voltage, frequency, and current. These input variables are in turn dependent on the system state. The internal control determines the firing angles of the PCS, which are the input signals to the SMES device. The internal control controls the firing angles according to the signals of demanded reactive and active powers. The detailed control strategies are discussed as follows. 2.3.1. PHASE-SHIFTING SPWM TECHNOLOGY
Figure 7: Current source converter with tri-logic PWM control.

With the development of Gate Turn-off (GTO) Thyristor, Sinusoidal Pulse Width Modulation (SPWM) technology has more and more extensive applications in the electric and electronic devices. However, because the maximum of switch frequency is very low, it produces a large number of harmonic waves, and the bandwidth of PCS is narrow, and high switch frequency can produce heavy switch loss, this makes a contradiction of higher switch frequency with less switch losses. In order to solve this problem, a new phase-shifting method and technology that combines the SPWM technology and multiple modules technology together has been proposed [10], using dynamic SPWM tri-logic as the operating strategy,

Figure 8: 3LG fault.

low temperature liquefier; vacuum device; relief valve when the pressure is too high; helium reserve pot; and the cooling case. There are two kinds of traditional SMES coil cooling methods: one is to let the SMES coil dip in the liquid helium, the other is the forced pressure cooling to flow the ultra critical helium through the conductor. The first method is good in stability, but not for AC losses and voltage-proof; the second method has good performances in machine intensity, AC losses and over voltage, but improving the stability is needed. These two methods all consist of the complex system of cryogenic liquid, and the compensation of liquid is needed if the SMES system keep on operating for a long time. In order to solve this problem, it has been proposed not using the liquid helium but using cryocooler to cool the magnet [17]; it is much safer and is no need to make high pressure to liquefaction. It is not only more suitable for operation but also high effective. Because of the limitation of the HTS material, the cryogenic system of a HTS SMES system mostly uses this method. Fig. 10 is the conduction cooling system with a GM cryocooler without coolant such as liquid helium. This equipment was designed for testing the transient thermal characteristics of cryocooler-cooled HTS coil [18], where the cryocooler-cooled LTS coils were used to generate a background magnetic field.

Figure 9: 1LG fault.




The SMES coil operates dynamically in power system for this application, sometimes it is required to absorb and release great power within some milliseconds, so the SMES coil must be more stable than other common coils. A SMES coil operates stably only in certain conditions, or it may result in damage. Overheating and high voltage arcing of the SMES coil may make it lose superconductivity, then the energy stored in the SMES coil exhausts in the form of heat if no action has been taken, that may destroy the SMES coil seriously, so the protection system is very important in a SMES system. The protection system should satisfy the requirement as follows: Firstly, energy exhaustion should be reduced and overheating of the wire should be prevented. Secondly, in order to prevent the evaporation of the cryogenic liquid in cryogenic system, the energy exhausting in the cryogenic container should be reduced. There are several methods that measure superconductivity of SMES coil, such as temperature detection [13], pressure detection [13], ultrasonic detection [14], flow velocity detection [15] and voltage detection [16]. Temperature detection detects the change of temperature of the conductor; pressure detection measures the change of pressure in the cryogenic container; ultrasonic detection detects the change of transfer function through measuring the ultrasonic signal from input to output; flow velocity detection detects the change of flow velocity of the liquid; voltage detection detects the change of resistive voltage. However, the voltage detection is more practical than another method. The protection of SMES magnet requires that the detection of superconductivity must be fast enough and exhausting the energy without destroying the SMES coil. Some methods that prevent SMES coils lose superconductivity should be considered during the design, manufacture and operation of the SMES coil. 2.5. CRYOGENIC SYSTEM

Figure 10: The conduction cooling system with GM cryocooler.

The cryogenic system mainly consists of stainless steel refrigeration device, the distribution system with low temperature liquid, a pair of automatic helium liquefiers, etc. The main compositions of the distribution system are electric connection on the refrigeration device top; low-temperature control valve case in which the helium flows; refrigeration between the device, valve case and

A two-stage GM cryocooler to cool 1MJ SMES [19] has been adopted, the operation result shows that the power of cryocooler is 60W at 73K and 20W in 20K. However, the cooling method using cryocooler has broken the limitation of the traditional cooling method, even its stability is not high enough. GM cryocooler can not offer power of 50-100W in 20-40K, therefore the routine GM cryocooler products do not meet the need of SMES magnets using HTS materials. It is very essential to develop the one stage GM cryocooler with high refrigeration capacity for cooling a HTS-SMES.





SMES having fast response characteristic makes it to be able to apply to the power system extensively. Its function has two main aspects: Enhancing the power system stability and improving power supply quality. Improving the stability demonstrates that SMES can damp system oscillations, thus improve the transmitting capacity of the power system. In addition, SMES can prevent voltage drops, caused from the generator fault or the large load inserted in the system, through the active and reactive power compensation. Improvement of power supply quality has several considerations: (1) Improving flexible AC transmission system (FACTS); (2) Compensation of fluctuating loads; (3) Spinning reserve; (4) Improving power system symmetry; (5) Protection of critical loads; (6) Compensation of dynamic voltage (VAR compensation) in dynamic voltage support; (7) Backup of power supply. The potential applications of SMES are shown on Fig. 11 [20], the shaded areas represent that the applications have reached the commercialized application level.

performance of SMES achieved [24]. In order to decide the suitable SMES capacity having the best ratio of quality to cost, 1kWh/1MW and 100kWh/20MW SMES systems have been designed. The validity of the SMES of 1kWh/1MW has been under investigation by linking its prototype to a 6kV power system and a 66kV power system. Experiments were conducted to compensate load fluctuation in a 6kV and a 66kV power system by varying the degree of controlling energy output of the SMES, according to energy capacity variations stored in the SMES and the load at the demand side [25]. In 2004, researchers in Japan carried on the conceptual design of a 15MWh SMES in order to improve the stability of the wind-force 100MW electricity generation system [26].
In Russia, the T-15 superconducting magnet fabricated in 1988, its capacity reaches 370-760MJ [27]. Since the 1990s, researchers of Russia have carried on the design of the energy storage magnet of 100MJ/20MW [28]. In Korea a 1MJ/300kVA SMES system has been fabricated using as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), it is shown that a 3s power interruption is successfully compensated, and high on-line efficiency (96%), low output voltage (2.5%) and input current (3%) are achieved [29]. In 2005, Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute designed a 3MJ/750kVA SMES system for improving the power supply quality [30], with 1000A operation current. DGA (Dlgation Gnrale pour LArmement) strongly supports applied superconductivity research in France. After a successful 100kJ SMES built using Bi-2212 tapes with cooling in liquid helium, the DGA required to develop this technology at a higher energy storage level with operation temperature at 20K. In 2004, DGA had a project aimed to build a 800kJ HTS SMES operating at 20K, engineering current densities exceed 300MA/m2 (20K, 5T) [31]. In Germany a few companies have joined and designed a 150kJ/20kVA SMES system used for UPS [19].

Figure 11: Energy-power potential SMES applications.





A 30MJ SMES system was installed in BPA (Bonneville Power Administration) Tacoma transformer substation in 1982-1983, its system has steadily worked for 1200 hours, and its results indicate that the system meets its design requirement [21]. In 1988-1989, a 20MWh SMES have been designed by University of Wisconsin, Westinghouse, Teledyne and et al. [22]. 1MJ and 3MJ SMES units can also be supplied by Superconductivity Inc. of USA. At present in USA a SMES system of 100MJ/50MW is under designing, it is the biggest SMES system so far, the goal of designing this system is to damp the low frequency oscillation in the transmission power system. The SMES magnet has been built in 2003; this magnet has been tested in the Center for Advanced Power System [23]. The Superconductive Energy Storage Research Association was established in Japan in 1986, its task is to promote the practical application using SMES. In 1991, Kyushu Electric Corporation designed a 30kJ SMES to improve the stability of a 60kW hydroelectric generator; the test results indicate the suitable

At present, the study on SMES system concentrates on the following four aspects: (1) Study of PCS, it concentrates on the study of the topological structure of the circuit and its control strategies; (2) Application of SMES, it mainly expends the field of application of SMES; (3) SMES magnet design, it concentrates on the study of HTS materials and optimuim of the structure of the magnet; (4) Protection system, it focuses on the methods to measure the loss of superconductivity and to ensure the SMES system in a security operation.



With the fast development of the HTS technology, SMES devices with high efficiency, rapid response with active and reactive power compensation, will play an irreplaceable role in the power systems. According to the estimation made by various investigators, the new developing superconductive industry's market will exceed 25 billion dollars by 2010, among them it is 30% in the power system; and will reach 70 billion dollars by 2020. Nearly all kinds of superconducting power products can reach the commercialized use in about 2015, among the electricity application, the SMES

technology is more development prospects.





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