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AMSC To Provide Wire For Fault Current Limiter In Europe's Largest Superconductor Grid Project

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 29, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AMSC (Nasdaq:AMSC), a global solutions provider serving wind and power grid industry leaders, today announced at DistribuTECH an order from Nexans, a worldwide expert in the cable industry, for high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire to be used in a superconductor fault current limiter (SFCL). The SFCL will act as a surge protector at "AmpaCity," a project being undertaken by Nexans, RWE Group, one of Europe's leading electricity and gas companies, and the German research institute KIT. AmpaCity aims to replace inner-city high-voltage equipment with superconductor systems.

Medium voltage superconductor systems uniquely provide an alternative to conventional high voltage installations. The SFCL will provide overload protection to a superconductor cable, lowering the fault current levels, and allowing for a safe and reliable interconnection to the grid. The complete HTS system, comprising of a cable and SFCL, will be manufactured by Nexans. The SFCL will employ AMSC's Amperium® superconductor wire.

"The AmpaCity project is laying the groundwork for modern inner-city electricity distribution," said Jean-Maxime Saugrain, Nexans Corporate Vice President Technical. "The fault current limiter is an important part of the complete system, and we are happy to utilize AMSC wire for it."

Superconductor fault current limiters act as surge protectors for power grids. As electricity demand and generation are steadily growing and power grids are becoming more interconnected, the magnitude of fault currents on power grids is increasing significantly. By lowering the fault current levels, SFCLs enable utilities to defer or eliminate equipment replacement, increase equipment life and enhance system operation.

"AMSC is proud to act as a supplier to Nexans on the landmark AmpaCity project," said Daniel P. McGahn, President and CEO, AMSC.

Nexans and AMSC recently announced a cooperation to bring the same medium-voltage SFCLs to the North American market. The resistive SFCL is a fast and self-acting system that limits currents to safe, manageable values. The system is passive, typically sitting idle and "invisible" to the grid, but can sense and then suppress fault currents when they occur, sparing transformers, switchgear and other equipment from damage and protecting the broader power grid. Its ability to sit passively eliminates the losses associated with normal power flow along with many other constraints that are encountered with conventional solutions.

AMSC's Amperium superconductor wire is able to conduct approximately 200 times the electrical current of copper wire of similar dimensions. This wire is being used in numerous high-power applications, including SFCLs, power cables, motors and generators.

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