AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 29, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Superconductor Technologies Inc. (STI) (Nasdaq:SCON) has been selected as prime recipient of the $4.5 million program award provided by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), on behalf of the Advanced Manufacturing Office, for its Next Generation Electric Machines (NGEM) program. Collaborating with STI is TECO-Westinghouse Motor Company (TWMC), an industry leading manufacturer of electric generators and motors, and renowned academic institutions Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of North Texas (UNT). The combined team will focus on improving the manufacturing process of superconductive wires to improve performance and yield while reducing cost at high enough temperatures where nitrogen can be used as the cryogenic fluid. "Advancing these enabling technologies has the potential to boost the competitiveness of American manufacturers and take the development of more efficient electric machines a giant step further," said Mark Johnson, director of the EERE Advanced Manufacturing Office. "These technology R&D projects aim to significantly improve industrial motors for manufacturing, helping companies who use these motors in manufacturing save energy and money over the long run." "We believe that being selected first by our esteemed proposal partners and then winning the DOE award recognizes STI's unique HTS manufacturing process and our ability to achieve high performance, cost efficiencies and commercial scale capacity," stated STI's president and chief executive officer Jeff Quiram. "In addition, the significant wire improvement goals for this program will address our customers' desire for increased infield magnetic performance and high performance/low cost wire for many applications, such as motors, generators, magnets, power cables and MRI machines. STI expects to transition from R&D to full scale production of motor- and generator-optimized wire during the three-year project plan, which will enable our superconducting technology to be introduced into Next Generation Electrical Machines utilizing high performance/low cost HTS wire."