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Super Conductivity

Just your random subject I guess, from a technological perspective. Superconductivity is the pheonmenon where electrons basically lose sight of the material they are moving trough, stop interacting and just flow without any resistance. Superconductive materials have no resistance and can conduct electrons e.g. current without loss over (theoretically) infinite distances. 

In your Freezer

Until now, temperatures at which superconductivity could be achieved where pretty low. That meant that to have the lossless conduction and other perks (for instance lossles maglev) you needed to invest a considerable amount of cooling, which complicated the designs. The new type of material, which is a marriage between two other known superconductors (the upper part of a 9212/2212C and the lower part of a 1223, see the article here). It becomes superconductive at 254 Kelvin (-19C, -2F). Less than minus 20 degrees. Within the realm of ordinary (ubiquitous) cooling equipment.  

Cold is usually not beneficial to power lines

Power Lines

One major application of such high temperature superconductivity is in electric power lines. In power lines, according to Joule’s Law, the losses are proportional to the square of the current. Halving the current makes the transmission loss one quarter the original value. Still the loss is about 10% on average. This means after only 33% of the energy in coal is converted into energy, 10% of that is lost on the way to your wallsocket. That 10% could be won with superconducting powerlines. Of course the cooling would cost something as well (it could be solar cooling), but as the line would not absorb energy of the passing current, it would not heat up because of resistance like a normal power line. One commercial example is a company called American Superconductor which plans to be invloved in the Tres Amigas Superstation (interconnecting different grids). AS’s product may be improved on. Of course powerlines mean centralized power generation, an obsolete concept, but this technology could provent construction of new plants.

Practicalities?

The material is made out of abundant elements (Ba, CU, CA, Ti and O). It is a ceramic type sintered (brittle) material, as usual with super conducting materials. No reason it would not open up other applications, for instance in alternative energy, maybe even as a vital part of some new type of generator, magneto hydro dynamics, who knows. 

Royalty Waiver

This discovery may be used royalty free, unpatented. That is a big step which may have to do with the potential social benefits of this discovery. It is a bold one. A general patent waiver should (imho) be mandatory on technology with obvious utility in the fight against climate change. How rediculus would it sound to have to say (in a hundred years) "We had the technology, but could not afford to license it from its greedy owner". Some compensation should flow to inventors of course, but it would be much better if that was a percentage of the profits of a sold embodyment of the invention, not a pre production license fee (which some bankers hope to create a speculative bubble around in the near future).
 

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