Essen, 19 January 2012, RWE Deutschland AGThis pressinformation is more than two years old

"AmpaCity“: Essen to become model city for new superconductor link for electricity transmission

  • RWE Deutschland starts project for forward-looking electricity transmission with partners from industry and science
  • Superconductor system of technology leader Nexans to replace inner-city high-voltage cable
  • Karlsruhe Institute for Technology is optimising the cable design as part of the supporting research project

The city of Essen will be the pioneer for a new chapter of inner-city electricity distribution for the future: in 2013, the currently longest high-temperature superconductor cable (HTS cable) in the world will be buried underground here. The "AmpaCity" project was presented to the public today. Project partners are RWE Deutschland AG, Nexans as manufacturer of cables and cable systems, the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) and the project sponsor Jülich (PTJ).

High-temperature superconductor cables (HTS cable) are based on ceramics. When cooled down to about minus 200 degrees Celsius they can transport electricity almost without any losses.
High-temperature superconductor cables (HTS cable) are based on ceramics. When cooled down to about minus 200 degrees Celsius they can transport electricity almost without any losses.

The "AmpaCity" project will be sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology ((BMWi) given its special benefits and the prospects of superconductors for electricity distribution in the future. The total costs of the research project amount to some € 13.5 million, including the financial support provided by the federal government in the amount of approx. € 6.3 million.

The conventional 110,000 volt lines between two substations in Essen's city centre will be replaced by a modern 10,000 volt superconductor cable over a length of one kilometre. Superconductors are regarded as forward-looking solution for space-saving and particularly efficient transmission of electricity in urban areas. Dr. Joachim Schneider, Executive Board member of RWE Deutschland: "Superconductors are going to play an important role for energy supply in cities. We are very proud to be among the frontrunners with this pioneering project."

The "AmpaCity" project was presented to the public today. From the left: Dr. Joachim Knebel (Karlsruhe Institute for Technology), Dr. Joachim Schneider (Executive Board member of RWE Deutschland), Reinhard Paß (mayor of the city Essen), Dr. Arndt Neuhaus (CEO RWE Deutschland), Dr. Hans-Christoph Wirth (BMWi) und Christof Barklage (Nexans).

The detailed planning of the project will start in the next few months. This includes determining the exact route of the cable link. This will go hand in hand with design optimisation and prototype tests on the premises of the manufacturer; Nexans intends to manufacture the compact superconductor cable system late in 2012, which will be developed specifically for the application in the city centre. From a present perspective, it is planned to commission and integrate the superconducting cable into the electricity grid of Essen by the end of November 2013.

Superconductors are based on ceramics. When cooled down to about minus 200 degrees Celsius they can transport electricity almost without any losses. As a result, their energy efficiency is superior to conventional cables. What is more, the installation of one superconductor cable section can replace up to five parallel conventional 10,000 V cables or 110,000/10,000 volt substations because superconductors can also transmit larger power volumes at small voltage. This creates space and makes sites available at expensive inner-city locations.

The superconductor cable for the field trial in the distribution grid of RWE Deutschland is produced by Nexans, one of the world's leading suppliers of cables and cable systems. The Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) will support the project scientifically by optimising suitable superconducting and insulating materials. According to experts, the large-scale use of superconductors will be economically viable in just a few years. A study of the project partners determined the benefits which are now to be confirmed in the field at Essen.

RWE Deutschland AG
RWE Deutschland AG, based in Essen, is responsible for the German sales and distribution grid operations as well as natural gas storage facilities for the RWE Group in the electricity, gas and water segments. It manages RWE's regional companies in Germany and also develops innovations in the field of energy efficiency, including e-mobility and smart grids. RWE Deutschland has interests in around 70 regional and municipal energy utilities and has a workforce of approx. 21,000 employees.

Nexans Deutschland
Nexans Deutschland ranks among Europe's leading cable manufacturers. The company offers a wide range of high-performance cables, systems and components for telecommunications and the energy sector. The programme is rounded off by superconducting materials, components and systems as well as Cryoflex transfer systems and special-purpose machinery for the cable industry. The company has manufacturing operations at home and abroad with approx. 7, 260 employees. Revenues in 2010 totalled approx. € 810 million. Through its close integration into the Nexans group, Nexans Deutschland has excellent opportunities to leverage synergies in all group segments. This is true not only for global projects, but also for research and development, know-how exchange, etc. More detailed information is available from

Karlsruhe Institute for Technology
The Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) is a public-sector entity under the laws of the state of Baden-Wurttemberg. It fulfils both the mission of a university and the mission of a national research centre within the Helmholtz community. The KIT pursues its tasks in the knowledge triangle of research – teaching – innovation. More information is available from

Project sponsor Jülich (PTJ)
Being a source of expertise in research and innovation management, the project sponsor Jülich supports its clients at federal and state level as well as the European Commission in meeting their research-policy targets, especially by way of sponsoring projects. Project sponsoring enables the public sector to place a strong emphasis on research. (

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