AMSC Teams with TECO-Westinghouse Motor Company on Superconductor Wind Generator Project

  • AMSC's HTS Wire, Motor and Wind Turbine Design Strengths to be Coupled with Advanced Stator Technology and Manufacturing Expertise from TECO-Westinghouse
  • National Institute of Science and Technology to Fund Development of Technologies for 10 Megawatt-Class, Direct Drive Offshore Wind Generators Powered by HTS Wire

    WESTBOROUGH, Mass. & ROUND ROCK, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 1, 2007--American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: AMSC), a leading energy technologies company, and TECO-Westinghouse Motor Company (TWMC), a leading manufacturer of motors and generators, announced today that they have formed a research joint venture to develop high temperature superconductor (HTS) and related technologies for high-power, direct drive wind generators for offshore wind farms.

    Direct drive wind generator systems utilizing HTS wire instead of copper wire for the generator's rotor are expected to be much smaller, lighter and more efficient than conventional generators and gearboxes. The net effect is expected to be a lower cost of wind generated electricity, particularly for offshore wind farms. AMSC and TWMC also announced that they have received an award from the National Institute of Science and Technology's (NIST) Advanced Technology Program (ATP), which is providing $3.4 million in funding toward the $6.8 million research project to be conducted under the joint venture.

    "The objective of the TWMC-AMSC research joint venture is to develop technologies that will enable the deployment of offshore 10 megawatt class, direct drive wind generators - double the power capacity of conventional systems," said AMSC founder and chief executive officer Greg Yurek. "The result will be more power delivered from each offshore wind turbine, which would significantly reduce the total costs of offshore wind farms. This advanced system will provide a powerful option for our Windtec customers and others who want to capitalize on the rapid growth of the offshore wind market."

    According to BTM Consult ApS, the installed base of offshore wind generated electricity at the end of 2006 was approximately 877 megawatts (MW), representing approximately one percent of the world's wind power capacity. By 2011, BTM predicts this figure will increase to 7,606 MW, representing eight percent of wind power capacity worldwide. Research firm Douglas-Westwood expects there will be $11.8 billion in offshore wind power capital expenditure over the next five years.

    "HTS technology provides a new, powerful option for enabling large-scale offshore wind farms," said Dr. H.C. Meng, President, TWMC. "Our wind generator business is growing rapidly, and today's turbine manufacturers are increasingly focusing on offshore locations and higher power systems. Our research joint venture with AMSC gives us the opportunity to expand our product offerings in the global wind energy market."

    Wind generators up to 5 MW are now being sold commercially on the market. However, higher power systems have not been introduced due primarily to generator weight and cost limits.

    Lower weight HTS direct drive generator systems are expected to provide more power in a smaller package for about the same cost as conventional direct drive generators. By replacing copper with HTS on the generator's rotor and utilizing a new high-efficiency stator design to be developed under this project, AMSC and TWMC estimate that they could produce 10 MW class direct drive generator systems that would weigh approximately 120 metric tons, or about one-third the weight of conventional direct drive generators with this power rating. Technically, weight reductions could be greater, albeit at a higher cost, giving wind energy system manufacturers and developers new options to design and deploy cost-effective offshore wind farms.

    The 30-month cost-shared research project to be conducted by the joint venture with NIST funding calls for the development of new HTS wire and coil technologies that will help enable the design and manufacture of 10 MW class, direct drive AC synchronous generators for off-shore wind turbines. The targeted ultra-low-speed, high torque generators are expected to produce full power at 6 kilovolts at 11 revolutions per minute.

        About the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST)

    Founded in 1901, NIST is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Commerce Department's Technology Administration. NIST's mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. More information is available at www.nist.gov.

    About TECO-Westinghouse Motor Company

    TECO-Westinghouse Motor Company is a leading manufacturer of electric motors and generators, with a broad selection ranging from 1/4 HP to 100,000 HP. The company also manufactures and supplies motor controls, engineering services, renewal motor parts, and large motor repairs. Headquartered in Round Rock, Texas, TECO-Westinghouse serves the petrochemical, electric utility, pulp and paper, water, mining and metals industries in applications that include pumps, fans, compressors, wound rotor generators for wind turbines, conveyors, rolling mills, grinders and crushers. More information is available at www.tecowestinghouse.com.

    About American Superconductor (NASDAQ: AMSC)

    AMSC is a leading energy technologies company offering an array of solutions based on two proprietary technologies: programmable power electronic converters and high temperature superconductor (HTS) wires. The company's products, services and system-level solutions enable cleaner, more efficient and more reliable generation, delivery and use of electric power. AMSC is a leader in alternative energy, offering grid interconnection solutions as well as licensed wind energy designs and electrical systems. As the world's principal supplier of HTS wire, the company is enabling a new generation of compact, high-power electrical products, including power cables, grid-level surge protectors, Secure Super Grids(TM), motors, generators, and advanced transportation and defense systems. AMSC also provides utility and industrial customers worldwide with voltage regulation systems that dramatically enhance power grid capacity, reliability and security, as well as industrial productivity. The company's technologies are protected by a broad and deep intellectual property portfolio consisting of hundreds of patents and licenses worldwide. More information is available at www.amsc.com.

    American Superconductor and design, Revolutionizing the Way the World Uses Electricity, AMSC, Powered by AMSC, SuperVAR, D-VAR, DVC, PQ-IVR, PowerModule, PQ-SVC, Secure Super Grids, Windtec and SuperGEAR are trademarks or registered trademarks of American Superconductor Corporation or its subsidiaries.

    Any statements in this release about future expectations, plans and prospects for the company, including our expectations regarding the future financial performance of the company and other statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "will" and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. There are a number of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include: uncertainties regarding the company's ability to obtain anticipated funding from corporate and government contracts, to successfully develop, manufacture and market commercial products, and to secure anticipated orders; the risk that a robust market may not develop for the company's products; the risk that strategic alliances and other contracts may be terminated; the risk that certain technologies utilized by the company will infringe intellectual property rights of others; and the competition encountered by the company. Reference is made to these and other factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of the company's most recent quarterly or annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the company's views as of the date of this release. While the company anticipates that subsequent events and developments may cause the company's views to change, the company specifically disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the company's views as of any date subsequent to the date this press release is issued.

    CONTACT: American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: AMSC)
    Jason Fredette, 508-621-4177
    Director of Investor & Media Relations
    jfredette@amsc.com

    SOURCE: American Superconductor Corporation