Schenectady-based SuperPower, Inc., a world-leading high temperature superconducting technology (HTS) company, Union College and Schenectady County Community College have been awarded $5 million in the 2006 Legislative Budget to develop a highly skilled local workforce to enable SuperPower to successfully achieve its goal of manufacturing scale-up and commercial production of second generation (2G) HTS wire beginning in 2006. Funding is contingent on the final approval of the New York State budget.
When cooled to very low temperatures, certain materials called superconductors can conduct electricity without losses from resistance. 2G HTS wire is able to carry 3-10 times the power of conventional wire conductors such as copper or aluminum. This allows for lighter, smaller, and more environmentally friendly electrical equipment such as generators, motors, power cables and transformers. SuperPower has received the number one ranking among its peers in 2G wire development programs funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the past two years.
New York State Senator Hugh T. Farley, who led efforts to secure legislative funding for the project, described the collaboration as transformational and reflective of Schenectady’s history of innovation.
"This initiative is the twenty-first century equivalent of Thomas Edison's original investment in Schenectady," said State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R,C- Schenectady). "Not only will the world's first production second-generation high temperature superconducting wire be manufactured in Schenectady, but the people who know how to design and build this leading-edge product will learn their skills in Schenectady. I am honored to help ensure Schenectady's position in the global high-technology community."
New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno stressed that this collaborative approach is a powerful complement to New York State’s recognized efforts to drive technology development in the region.
"This collaborative approach represents another step forward in the Capital Region’s transformation into a high-tech global leader in the 21st century," said Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno. "With this funding, SuperPower Inc. will be able to harness their know-how with the expertise of the Schenectady intellectual community to produce cutting-edge technology direct to market while at the same time creating new jobs for the area. I am pleased to be able to work with Senator Farley to improve the quality of life and the economy in the Capital Region and across New York State."
According to SuperPower, Inc. president Philip J. Pellegrino, the award will provide funding for capital equipment, which historically has come exclusively from SuperPower's parent company, Intermagnetics General Corporation (Latham, NY). To date Intermagnetics has invested about $65 million in HTS R&D. The capital equipment provided through the State funding will be used to establish state-of-the-art quality control tools and processes for 2G HTS wire manufacture. This will, in turn, support internships to develop locally the specialized science and engineering graduates needed to manufacture 2G wire. Having that workforce available locally will help to ensure SuperPower's success.
Further, Pellegrino added that the funds will provide for state-of-the-art capital equipment and facilities upgrades for each of the partner organizations.
"We are exceedingly grateful for Senator Farley’s and Senator Bruno’s leadership support of this innovative collaboration," Pellegrino said. "These funds will enable the partners to drive commercialization and workforce development at an accelerated pace – the critical component to ensure that SuperPower achieves a first-to-market competitive advantage. The partnership reflects what is possible when business, education and government share a common goal. The funds provided will enable SuperPower to hit commercialization milestones, continue our growth in the Capital District, and ultimately, provide technology solutions that help to meet the daunting global energy challenges we face."
According to DOE, more than 7% of the energy generated in the U.S. is lost during transmission and distribution. The DOE estimates that half of this loss could be eliminated by the application of HTS technology. The savings could amount to $16 billion per year, reducing the use of fossil fuels and reducing the generation of greenhouse gasses and pollutant emissions. Liquid nitrogen, which is non-flammable, inexpensive and environmentally benign, is used as the cooling medium, rather than oil, which can burn or explode.
"Union College is proud to partner with SuperPower and Schenectady County Community College to support the next generation of electrical transmission and distribution here and around the world," Roger H. Hull, president of Union College noted. "Thanks to Senator Farley, each of us is now that much stronger in the incredibly competitive academic and corporate marketplaces."
"We couldn't be more pleased with today's announcement," said Gabriel J. Basil, president, Schenectady County Community College. "The partnership with SuperPower and Union College affords us the opportunity to strengthen our own technology programs while pursuing an economic development initiative that holds great promise for Schenectady."
The partnership is expected to begin immediately following final New York State budget approval.
Funding will support:
SuperPower ($2.3 million)
Procurement of quality control equipment for all steps of 2G wire manufacturing
Development of new, specialized quality control tools and processes
Related facility upgrades
Union College ($1.7 million)
Mechanical and microscopy testing equipment
Design and installation of quality control testing equipment
Facilities upgrades, including clean room and characterization laboratory space
Internship and professional development programs
Schenectady County Community College ($1 million)
Acquisition of microscopy and spectroscopic testing equipment
Curriculum development in HTS manufacturing processes
The collaboration will, according to the partners, provide additional benefits, including:
* Retention of the 50 jobs established since 2000 and more than tripling the number of
jobs at SuperPower by 2010, with further growth in high tech manufacturing jobs as the market fully develops during the next decade
* Enhancing student and faculty recruitment efforts at Union and SCCC
* Retaining graduates in the region to address the "brain-drain" issue
* Establishing high-tech manufacturing in an Empire Zone of Schenectady
* Providing tax benefits to the local economy (payroll, sales tax, etc.)
* Developing training opportunities for local employees on state-of-the-art equipment in high-tech fields
* Providing benefits to local and other New York State-based vendors
* Supporting the emerging cluster of high tech companies in the region – business-to-business relationships, supply chain relationships, strengthened industry ties with academia, teaching exchanges, and a locally supplied high-tech workforce.
SuperPower, Inc. (www.igc-superpower.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intermagnetics General Corporation (NASDAQ: IMGC), created in March 2000 to address the emerging market for high temperature superconductivity, uses core capabilities in materials, cryogenics and magnetics to develop fault current limiters, 2G wire and related electric power components for application to power cables, transformers, motors and generators,
Union College,(www.union.edu) founded in 1795 as the first college chartered by the New York State Board of Regents, offers programs in the liberal arts and engineering to 2,000 undergraduates of high academic promise and strong personal motivation. Union has a long history of blending liberal arts, the sciences and engineering, and the college’s Converging Technologies initiative is further bridging these disciplines and graduating students who are comfortable and prepared to live and work in today’s diverse world. Union’s latest College-wide innovation is the Minerva Houses, which bring together students and faculty for intellectual and social exchange through affiliation with seven campus "living rooms."
Schenectady County Community College: (www.sunysccc.edu) One of the 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, the nation's largest comprehensive system of higher education, Schenectady County Community College in upstate New York has over 4,500 full-time and part-time students. SCCC offers 41 career degree, transfer degree and certificate programs. The College opened its doors for classes in 1969 and continues to provide affordable comprehensive higher education and adult educational opportunities in response to local educational needs.