High temperature superconductors could solve future transmission challenges

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VEIR, a company developing a new approach to using High Temperature Superconductors (HTS) for electricity transmission, has announced $10 million in Series A financing and has simultaneously debuted new architecture for high-voltage superconducting transmission lines.

The company’s Series A investment was led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), with participation from existing investor Congruent Ventures and new investor The Engine.

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The financing brings the company’s total funding to date to more than $12 million.

As the world’s economy shifts to electric power and away from fossil fuels, the increasing amounts of new renewable energy will require a correlating amount of transmission capacity.

However, current transmission technologies can be expensive and often face political opposition. HTS has long held the promise of using smaller transmission lines and better utilisation of existing rights-of-way, but has been hampered by higher costs, distance limitations and overall system complexity.

VEIR’s approach to HTS is seen to solve those problems by simplifying the system design that connects green energy sources to the transmission grid to address the ever-growing demand for electricity and overcoming constraints currently holding back renewables penetration.

VEIR’s founders are from MIT, BP, and ARPA. Together, the team is commercialising an approach based on HTS tape and a novel cooling system for high-voltage superconducting transmission lines. The new capital will allow VEIR to scale its team and begin to develop and test the critical subsystems required to deploy its product to the transmission grid.

VEIR will also use the funding to establish a physical development site in Massachusetts to demonstrate its core technical innovation of evaporative cryogenic cooling, which is crucial in enabling the cost-effective deployment of HTS transmission lines.

“Achieving decarbonisation goals require increasing penetrations of renewables that are located far from major population centers along traditional transmission corridors. This, along with supporting the megatrend of electrification, will require a doubling or tripling of U.S. transmission capacity by 2050,” said VEIR CEO Adam Wallen.

“VEIR’s technology enables increasing the amount of power transmitted in a given right-of-way by a factor of five. This will enable the transmission of more power at lower voltages in smaller right-of-ways, reducing the uncertainty, time, and cost of siting and permitting new transmission corridors.”

“We are very excited to support VEIR’s unique approach to solving the biggest challenges in transmission infrastructure that will improve overall grid resilience, reduce long term energy costs, and increase the amount of renewable energy resources on the grid,” said Joshua Posamentier, managing partner and co-founder Congruent Ventures.

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