As the 2003 blackouts in North America and Europe vividly testify, the current power grid is struggling to meet growing demand for electricity and the coming shift from fossil-fueled power and cars to cleaner sources of energy.
For several years, engineers have been designing a new infrastructure that would enable cities to tap power efficiently from large nuclear and renewable energy plants in distant and remote locations.
SuperCables would transmit extraordinarily high electrical current nearly resistance-free through superconducting wires. The conduits would also carry ultracold hydrogen as a liquid or high-pressure gas to factories, vehicle fueling stations, and perhaps one day even to home furnaces and boilers.
Paul M. Grant, Chauncey Starr and Thomas J. Overbye