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Nikkei: Sumitomo Electric hopes to show prototype superconducting motor to automakers next spring

The Nikkei reports that Sumitomo Electric Industries (SEI) Ltd. hopes to have a prototype of a superconducting motor (earlier post) for electric buses ready by next spring to present to OEMs.

Sumitomo has been working on motor application for its superconducting wire for a number of years. In 2008, SEI unveiled an electric vehicle equipped with a prototype superconducting motor cooled by liquid nitrogen and built using SEI’s high-temperature superconducting (HTS) wires. The Sumitomo motor developed around 30kW with 120 N·m torque.

In September, 2007, a Japanese research group coordinated by IHI Corporation and including SEI unveiled a 365 kW HTS motor cooled by liquid nitrogen and using SEI’s DI-BSCCO superconducting wire. SEI’s bismuth-based superconducting material is made of bismuth - strontium - calcium - copper - oxygen (Bi-Sr-Ca-Cu-O).

Superconductors have zero resistance to the flow of electricity, so a vehicle with such a motor could consume 20-30% less energy than a conventional electric car using copper wire, according to the company.

The Nikkei reported that SEI hopes to start mass-producing the motors by 2020 and envisions applications in not only buses, but also forklifts and small trucks.



This may become practical when super conduction is achieved at higher temperatures. Keeping conductors at very low temperatures could be too costly (initial + on-going cost) and could negate most of the efficiency savings.


It's cooled by LN2, Harvey.  RTFA.


GCC's very own Dr Pangloss has no need to read articles!
the words just come out as a kind of natural excrescence - no context or comprehension required!


@ E-P:

Liquid Nitrogen is not very cheap and cost about $800/lb. Secondly, it does not last forever. Normal evaporation can be rather fast, specially when heat has to be absorbed at a higher rate. The article does not deal with it?

RTFA & TROLLS (2 of your favorites) must be from your Army days?

@ Davemart:

Were you in the same Army Artillery Corp?


@HarveyD Haha. Seriously? $800/lb???? Wow, how can high schools affort to spend that fortune freezing bananas and roses for a common science demonstration? Maybe that explains our national debt?!?! Lol.

Actually Harvey, we shouldn't just throw out bogus numbers. It appears that LN2 costs about 6 cents per liter if bought in bulk. Harvey, Harvey.... And, you insult his army days? Small....


16 Oz can of liquid nitrogen sells for $800 on eBay?

EV motors are already 95% to 96% efficient and control units are approaching 98%. Not much more to be gain there.

A more interesting avenue is e-city buses versus e-cars. A BYD-12, 40-ft e-bus can carry 60 passengers between 10 and 20 times a day. That's about 300 to 600 times the passenger miles per day that the normal e-car driver will do.

Since a BYD-12 e-bus cost only about 7.5 Tesla S one could say that it is about (450/7.5) = 60 times more efficient. That being said, why not apply 60 x $10K or about $600K subsidy per BYD-12 e-city buses. Cities could procure those e-buses for about $100K NET.

That would clean up city cores and reduce pollution and fuel consumption more than a few hundred/thousand BEVs?


Harvey, you nitwit, LN2 is so cheap that science geeks buy huge Dewar flasks of the stuff to make instant-frozen ice cream at parties.  (It's good ice cream, too.)  In farm country, you can subscribe to a service and have your Dewar topped off at your mailbox once a week; livestock farmers use the stuff to store bull sperm.

If you insist on making such outrageously wrong claims, can you make them somewhere other than GCC?  This isn't a moonbat site, please don't try to make it one.


Except for AD, our licensed Moonbat! :-)


Leave our Harvey alone!..

is LNG an AGW gas?.. we really dont want to boil our planet.


The 'L' in LNG stands for 'liquid', so it is not a gas.

'LNG' usually stands for 'Liquid Natural Gas', or methane. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, about 25x stronger than CO2.

But since the subject was liquid nitrogen, I guess you mistyped and meant 'LN2'. The answer is: no. Nitrogen is not a greenhouse gas and is already 78% of our atmosphere. Furthermore, LN2 is produced by liquefying air. Any liquid nitrogen you buy was taken from the atmosphere. We should therefore all be buying liquid nitrogen, and return it to its natural habitat.

Free the nitrogen molecules!


Eclectic Preacher (E-P) really likes to abase people by calling them dunces and many other names. That may make him feel superior but it is more commonly found among older foot-soldiers. Wonder how many years or how close he was with that group to catch the addiction. The problem is that it may never go away completely.

The price given was for pure liquid nitrogen including the high quality tank because you cannot carry liquid nitrogen in a paper bag. Of course, bulk commercial liquid relatively pure Nitrogen and specially liquid AIR is many many times cheaper.


A more suitable definition for E-P may be Exuberant Pedant?


fyi - N2, 1/10 milk price, engine


isn't this like "putting the cart before the horse"


dursun, does some serious engineering and backs liquid air.


I suspect that if HarveyD had bothered to do a search on "LN2 price", he would have come up with results including this page with figures as low as 6¢/liter.

He was probably thinking of liquid helium or some variant, but that doesn't excuse sloppiness.


Harvey has a small point;

"The price given was for pure liquid nitrogen including the high quality tank because you cannot carry liquid nitrogen in a paper bag."

He must think taxi rides, for $20 are a tremendously good deal.


OK. I'll admit that I should have taken the price of the $750+ container out of the total pure nitrogen price.

On the same table from EP, the price for bulk nitrogen used to cool superconductors are stated as $4.00 (1998$) per quart. (very last line on the table). This is not necessarily for pure nitrogen.

The high quality container and cooling system required for automotive use will certainly cost at least $750 or much more for safety reasons etc.

That being said, how many will be willing to invest an extra $1+K to get another 3% or 4% efficiency from their vehicle e-motors?

Nitrogen cooled Superconductors could become financially effective on larger applications such as wind turbine generators; hydro turbine generators; coal, NG and Nuke power plants generators etc. ,


I should have taken the price of the container out of the total price.

The price of liquid nitrogen used to cool superconductors is sated as $4 (1998 $) per quart on EP's table (last line)

The price of automotive approved container and cooling system will probably be at least $1K. Not so sure that the majority will want to pay that much to gain an extra 3% or so in the EV motors efficiency.

However, nitrogen cooled superconductors could be financially advantageous for 24/7 wind turbines, hydro, coal-NG-Nuke power plants generators, future e-buses-trucks etc.


Harvey, let me quote that section for you, with emphasis added for the reading-impaired:

"These copper ceramic substances can be cooled by liquid nitrogen, which costs only about 10 cents per quart (making it cheaper than Kool-Aid), while conventional superconductors must be cooled by liquid helium, which costs $4 per quart."
If you've lost your ability to read and understand relatively simple prose, it's time to take a posting break.


I had not noticed that the author had effectively switched from Nitrogen to Helium it the same phrase. My assumption was therefore wrong. However, I still maintain that EP stands for exuberant pedant and has often demonstrated it. He will most probably never change his acquired attitude.


If you consider correcting you on an error of 5 orders of magnitude to be "pedantry", I'll tell you something:

Nobody cares.


Pedants never make mistakes let alone admitting it.


Ah, projecting.

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