The U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (ARPA-E) is providing up to $10 million in funding to develop novel manufacturing technologies for high-performance superconducting (HTS) tapes. The availability of such devices could promote market growth and proliferation of nuclear fusion, superconducting cables for the electric grid, electric aviation and superconductor-based electric generators/motors.

HTS tapes are more difficult to manufacture than their low-temperature counterparts based on niobium–titanium metal alloys that are malleable and easily manufactured into wires or tapes. However, the latter generally have critical temperatures less than 30 K, rely on liquid helium to improve the critical current and cannot operate in very high magnetic fields.

Promising high-temperature superconductors are brittle ceramics, which often require a combination of multiple sequential processing steps, multiple layers of sequential deposition, and highly controlled growth processes. These factors lead to difficult and costly manufacturing for HTS tapes.

To advance this technology, ARPA-E invites interested parties to submit proposals for projects that can concurrently increase the continuous tape or wire length, reduce the electrical variation along the tape or wire and increase overall production rates. Fabrication methods are also needed that can significantly reduce production costs and yield tapes characterized by appropriate transport critical current values.

Applications of interest must be submitted by July 25, 2023.

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