Institute for Technology Assessment and  Systems Analysis (ITAS)

Prospective life cycle assessment of high-temperature superconductor tapes for future grid applications

Project description

In order to achieve a robust and reliable future energy system in the course of the energy transition, not only regenerative energy production and energy storage are important, but also the distribution of energy.

Within the electric grid, power lines are used to transmit and distribute energy. High-temperature superconductor (HTS) cable systems can replace conventional power lines and first field tests already showed promising results. Advantages of HTS are the compact design, no electromagnetic field outside the cable, and a possible reduction of transmission losses. To increase these positive effects, different materials and configurations are investigated in the EU project FASTGRID. Different HTS applications, including cables and fault current limiters made from a new generation of HTS tapes, are in the focus of the planned investigation.

The main research questions are: 1) What are the environmental impacts of HTS tape and cable production and how can you analyze and evaluate them? 2) How does life cycle assessment (LCA) help to identify promising ecologically beneficial design options in an early stage of technology development?

It is planned to conduct a life cycle assessment for different HTS tapes including the shunt and their new manufacturing routes with a “cradle to gate” approach. The aim is to compare the environmental impacts of different tapes developed in the FASTGRID project. Additionally, within a prospective analysis the environmental impacts of a potential use of tapes in an HTS cable system will be elaborated.

Administrative data

Supervisor: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Noe
Advisor: Prof. Dr. Grunwald
Related projects: FASTGRID
Doctoral students at ITAS: See Doctoral studies at ITAS


Alexander Buchholz
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-22265