Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation (TNSC) has developed a turbo-Brayton refrigerator, termed the NeoKelvin®-Turbo 10kW, which can cool high-temperature superconducting power applications at -200ºC by using neon (Ne) gas as the working fluid.

The Tier One corporation’s technological breakthrough of its previous NeoKelvin-Turbo 2kW lead to the creation of this upgraded 10kW model, which is capable of cooling superconducting power cables of up to 1km in length for commercial use.

The company uses active magnetic bearings to compress and expand the Ne in the turbo-machine and has developed the expander and compressor onto the same shaft in order to recover and recycle the power generated from the expander into the compressor.

The Ne ejects the compressed heat into the atmosphere before being expanded under an adiabatic condition by the turbo expander to lower its temperature. Following this process, it absorbs the surrounding heat before being returned to the turbo compressor’s inlet.

In a statement, the North Pacific rim country said, “In the electricity related field, the research and development of electricity units that use superconducting technology is driven as one of the solutions to establish a resilient electric grid. Among them, there is an expectation that there will be a huge demand for the overall cable system by developing practical uses going forward, and the amount of such demand is expected to be YEN 10-15bn in Japan alone.”

“We will expedite our activities to take orders mainly in Korea and the US as they are aggressive to consider the introduction of superconducting electricity transmission cables.”

The prototype refrigerator is currently being used to cool the superconducting power cables in a joint test executed by Korea Electric Power Corporation and LS Cable & System Ltd. in Korea. This electricity transmission project, which began in March this year, marks the turbo-Brayton’s first commercially applied attempt in the world.