LS Cable & System has commercialized superconducting cables for the first time in the world, along with KEPCO.
Superconducting cables were installed in a 1-kilometer section between Heungdeok substation and Singal substation in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, and began commercial operations from Oct. 6.
Although five companies in Europe, Japan, and the U.S., including LS Cable, have superconducting cable technology, South Korea has succeeded in commercializing it for the first time.
Superconducting cables can send five to 10 times more power at a lower voltage than conventional copper cables. This is because there is almost no electricity lost during power transmission due to 'superconductivity' phenomenon where electrical resistance disappears at minus 196 degrees Celsius.
In addition, the area of the substation can be reduced by one-10th because there is no need for transformers. Not only will the installation and operation costs of substations be reduced, but the existing substation site will be able to be used for other purposes as well as solve the problem of facilities that are shunned in urban areas.
Because one superconducting cable can replaces 10 copper cables, installation space can be greatly reduced. In case of the construction of the new city, the 3-meter-high power zone can be replaced with a 1-meter-high cable conduit, reducing the cost of civil engineering work by one-20th.
It is also highly leveraged in urban areas, where power usage is rapidly increasing. By using existing power zone and conduits as they are, the amount of electricity can be increased just by replacing existing copper cables with superconducting cables.
South Korea started developing superconducting cables in the early 2000s and has settled on a 30-year gap in technology with advanced companies in less than 20 years. Industry sources expect the commercialization to grow rapidly, with related markets surpassing 1 trillion won in 2023.
"The commercialization of superconducting cables will bring about a paradigm shift in which South Korea will take the lead in the power industry, which has been led by European and Japanese companies," said Myung Noh-hyun, head of LS Cable.
LS Cable became the fourth company in the world to develop superconducting cables in 2004. It completed demonstration of the world's first 80kV-class superconducting cables, having the DC (DC) and AC (AC) technology in 2015. It has also succeeded in developing the world's biggest and longest superconducting cable.