NanoAL, LLC. announced that it has been awarded a 2021 Stage 1 Award from the U.S. Department of Energy for the "Conductivity-enhanced materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric applications” (CABLE) program. The aim is to demonstrate the performance of its next-generation aluminum conductor technology to improve the efficiency of the national electric grid. With the massive societal shift towards electrification, green conductor technology that can be economically produced in large volumes and that significantly reduces power loss during transmission is becoming a crucial upgrade needed by nation’s power grid.
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Today, the most common high-voltage transmission conductor in the United States is the aluminum-conductor steel-reinforced (ACSR) cable. It is composed of relatively pure aluminum wires stranded around a steel core. This steel core has a high strength to withstand the conductor’s heavyweight, spanning from one tower to the next.
However, because steel is a poor conductor of electricity it has a negative impact on the overall conductivity of the cable. In this competition, NanoAL presents a breakthrough solution by developing an ultra-high-strength, highly conductive aluminum alloy, which achieves a tensile strength of 500 MPa and electrical conductivity of approximately 48% of standard annealed copper. Its specific strength is higher than the traditional steel core, while its conductivity is nearly 8X higher than steel.
This advanced aluminum alloy enables new conductor designs that entirely eliminate the high-strength steel core found in ACSR cable, while maintaining the strength of the cable and significantly boosting the overall electrical conductivity. The newly designed conductor will provide a much-needed performance boost for the power grid.
This award highlights NanoAL’s core technologies which focus on performance, economics, and scalability for newly developed aluminum alloys. Our materials are a crucial component for improving the electrical grid for decades to come, and this award will help drive forward toward market adoption.
Dr. Nhon Vo, CEO of NanoAL LLC
About NanoAL, LLC
NanoAL LLC is an award-winning materials research and technology company dedicated to designing, developing, and commercializing high-performance aluminum alloys based on scientifically-designed nanostructures. NanoAL has developed several innovative products that deliver extraordinary performance and economics for wire, cable, sheet, and casting applications and the Addalloy® family of powdered aluminum alloys tailored for the additive manufacturing process. NanoAL LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unity Aluminum.
About the CABLE prize
The $4.5-million CABLE Prize encourages researchers and inventors to develop and manufacture breakthrough conductivity-enhanced materials. Competitors must make affordable conductors that demonstrate significant enhancements in conductivity and enable U.S. manufacturers to leapfrog to next-generation materials. Up to four Grand Prize winners will be selected in this three-stage, three-year contest.