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I'm no expert, but I have a couple thoughts....

Nobody has ever built a long distance superconducting transmission line to my knowledge and I would think there are engineering kinks to work out. For instance, you've got to ensure that every bit of the line from end to end (many miles) remains superconducting, which requires massive input of liquid nitrogen (I presume) along with temperature and leak monitors. You'd also need to develop some kind of shutdown process in the event of a local "hot spot" to avoid that hot spot from literally blowing up. That then also implies both some kind of equipment to isolate sections for repair and a shunting system if you want to send the power somewhere else in lieu of shutting down the whole power generation operation that's feeding your line.

I would think some of this is normal operating procedure for power transmission, but if you're putting some extraordinary amount of power through a dedicated line, you're going to have unique problems.

Bottom line: It'll take some time to develop such a transmission network and it'll probably start small. It also has to be demonstrated that a long distance line (where space is not a factor) can be cheaper as superconducting rather than a normal high efficiency line. I think superconducting is attractive when there are additional constraints such as space limitations, but not so under normal conditions.

Real bottom line: I don't see this as a factor with AMSC for a long time.

Just my thoughts. Maybe somebody else will weigh in with more information.

Rob
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