Massive Energy Storage in Superconductors (SMES)

Novel high temperature superconductor magnet technology charts new territory.

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Image courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory

A toroid SMES system consisting of a number of high field coils made with the High Temperature Superconductors (HTS).

The Office of Nuclear Physics funds a community of scientists to do basic nuclear physics research that seeks to uncover the fundamental nature of matter. As a consequence of this basic research, many ideas and instruments (funded through various sources) have found their way into many different areas in public life as well as in other government programs. This highlight is an example of such a "spinoff".

The Science

Batteries store energy in chemicals: similarly, superconducting coils store energy in magnets with low loss. Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory have demonstrated high temperature superconductors (HTS) for energy storage applications at elevated temperatures and/or in extremely high densities that were not feasible before.

The Impact

The HTS magnet technology could be useful in renewable energy storage and remote energy distribution applications.


Significant development of HTS magnet technology at BNL was funded by DOE/NP to provide a unique solution for the magnets in the fragment separator region of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), which is currently under construction at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. The same coil technology (HTS tape co-wound with stainless steel tape) is used in high field (~24 Tesla) superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) solution that can withstand the high stresses that are present in high field magnets. This technology has already been successfully applied in creating the record 16 T field in an all HTS magnet. High fields significantly reduce the amount of conductor for the same stored energy in SMES. This is mainly because the stored energy increases essentially as the square of the field. In addition, because HTS SMES can operate at high temperatures, the high efficiency cryo-coolers can now replace the more expensive and precious liquid Helium cryogen.


Ramesh Gupta
Building 902A
Superconducting Magnet Division
Brookhaven National Laboratory
gupta@bnl.gov, (631)344-4805


ARPA-E, Control Number: 0290-1649


R. Gupta, M. Anerella, J. Cozzolino, A. Ghosh, H. Hocker, W. Sampson, J. Schmalzle, Y. Shiroyanagi, P. Wanderer, A. Zeller, "Second Generation HTS Quadrupole for FRIB," IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp. 1888-1891, June 2011.

R. Gupta, M. Anerella, J. Cozzolino, A. Ghosh, G. Greene, W. Sampson, P. Wanderer, A. Zeller, “Design, Construction and Test Results of a Warm Iron HTS Quadrupole for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams," IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp. 236-239, June 2008.

Highlight Categories

Program: HEP, NP

Performer/Facility: SC User Facilities, NP User Facilities, RHIC

Additional: Technology Impact, Collaborations, ARPA-E

Last modified: 1/3/2016 12:04:17 PM