SUBRA secures 3.5 million € to develop innovative superconducting cables for power transmission supported by Europe’s flagship accelerator programme

SUBRA A/S is proud to announce that a major funding package has successfully been secured through the competitive European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator programme. This will accelerate the development of a breakthrough in superconductor transmission cable technology, the SUBRACABLE, to meet the urgent demand to upgrade the European backbone grid ahead of future green electrification.

Aiming to transform the way we transport electricity, the Danish deep-tech company SUBRA, has secured a major funding package from the prestigious European innovation programme, the EIC Accelerator. Funding, that will go towards accelerated development of the SUBRACABLE, a world’s first within superconductor technology, with a mission to upgrade the European transmission grid and electrify Europe.

This initial funding package of 3.5 million € includes a grant of 2.5 million € and will support SUBRA’s newest innovation, from prototype to production stage. The EIC’s support demonstrates strong institutional confidence in SUBRA as a key player for a sustainable Europe and as a leading innovator within the superconductor industry.

Europe needs new grid infrastructure. To continually meet rising energy demands while transitioning to renewable energy sources, it is estimated that the EU must implement a 75,000 km pan-European power grid. To benefit from renewable energy sources spread across Europe, long distance (1000s km) power transmission is required. Constructing this grid using conventional high-voltage copper cables, would require 177% of the yearly global supply of copper, making it incredibly expensive, and entail massive energy losses during transmission.

By harnessing the potential of superconductors, SUBRA is developing the SUBRACABLE, supporting Europe’s grid requirements while reducing the copper usage to less than 1% of its yearly global supply, in addition to significantly reducing energy losses, cost, and environmental impact of the grid.

“The SUBRACABLE innovation is a technological leap in the field of superconductors with the potential to become a key enabler for the use of high-temperature superconductors in power transmission and could revolutionise European power grids, making a critical impact in the green transition.” Anders Wulff, CEO.

The technology

A superconductor is an electrical conductor – a tape, wire, or cable – which conducts electricity with zero resistance when cooled. It can transport vast amounts of electrical power, 300 times as much as copper, without suffering from energy losses. In comparison, traditional copper cables heat up when transporting electricity, incurring massive energy losses of 8 to 13% of the transmitted power.

Current state of the art high-temperature superconductors (HTS) are based on a flat tape technology, which have inherent limitations in capacity, cost and length.

By taking superconductors from flat tape technology to bundled wires, the SUBRACABLE innovation has the potential to overcome all limitations of traditional copper cables and current flat tape superconductors, by enabling the production of superconductors that are scalable to extreme lengths, in excess of 100 km, with superior properties and at an enabling lower price. This is the SUBRACABLE.

SUBRACABLEs have the potential to revolutionise the European grid, enabling high-power and long-distance power transmission. This will make it possible to implement Europe’s 75,000 km backbone 10 GW high power grid – to meet the needs of increasing production and consumption of renewable electricity.

The expected advantages of the SUBRACABLE compared to conventional high-voltage copper cables used today are:

  • 90% lower energy loss during transmission – equivalent to the energy production of 45 nuclear power plants; energy savings that result in significant CO2 savings
  • 86% narrower cable corridor – reducing cost of right-of-way and civil engineering
  • 99% lower copper usage
  • 75% lower levelised cost of transmission
  • Transmission at any voltage – simplifying grid architecture.

SUBRA A/S is a science-based, deep-tech company that is pioneering the field of superconductivity and is a spin-off from the Technical University of Denmark, with more than 15 years of excellency in superconductor R&D. SUBRA’s vision is to transform the way we transport electricity.

As an impact-driven company, SUBRA is strongly committed to a sustainable future and to being a key player in the climate solution. All products and technologies help push towards that goal. The developed technological solutions directly target four of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and will have knock-on effects that aid the progress toward others.

With world-leading expertise in superconductivity and surface technology, SUBRA is building the bridge between superconductor research, innovative production systems, and engineering technology to make low cost manufacturing feasible at scale. SUBRA aims to be the first in the sector to reach this objective, by providing the game changing solution for ramping up a pan-European energy grid.

Read more about the EIC Accelerator and the other projects funded in this round here.