China's first superconductor cable network became operational on Saturday, making the nation one of the three countries which have such advanced electricity transmission network.
The other two are the United States and Denmark. Superconductor refers to some metals or alloys that will lose resistance in power transmission when they are cooled to certain very low temperatures.
This amazing nature of metals inspired scientists to invent superconductor materials and try to make them available for commercial use.
China's superconductor network is at Puji Power Station in Kunming, the capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province. It was a key project jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Beijing and Yunnan.
According to Han Zhenghe, director of superconductor research center of elite Tsinghua University based in Beijing, the superconductor network has lower operational wear-down, or 50 percent to 60 percent that of common cables, while has higher power transmission capability of up three to five times that of common cables.
He said the previous two-month trial operation showed that the network run well. China is suffering electricity starvation nationwide since this summer as both industrial and domestic power consumption is soaring. The use of superconductor network casts light on reducing power loss during transmission and so increasing power supply.
Scientists discovered superconductor phenomenon as early as in 1911. The United States pioneered in 1999 to put superconductor cables into commercial use and followed by Denmark in 2001.
Other countries like Russia and Brazil are also doing related research. China began its research and development of superconductor technologies in the mid-1990s and now is a leading researcher in this field in the world.
(Xinhua News Agency July 12, 2004)