Super-cooled Power Lines

By Deane Barker on January 1, 2010

No more power lines? : Interesting article on super-conductive high-speed transmission lines and how they could be used to connect the big three U.S. power grids.

These superconducting cables contain special materials chilled to superlow temperatures, allowing electricity to flow efficiently, with little resistance. While Harris’s “hub” would run in a loop, it would demonstrate the potential for superconducting power lines that could travel long distances and eliminate the 7 percent of electricity wasted by ugly, above-ground transmission lines.

[…] The strips wrap around a pipe carrying liquid nitrogen, which cools the cable to minus 346 degrees Fahrenheit.

At that temperature, electrons that ordinarily move randomly, losing energy in bumper-car-like collisions that generate heat, shift to highway mode. Electrons then move in pairs in one direction, generating no heat and losing no energy.