Metal Oxide Technologies (MetOx), Houston, partnered with the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in a cooperative research and development agreement to transmit 150 times more electric power through long-length, high-temperature superconductors compared to conventional copper wire.

The Department of Energy plans to have viable, high-temperature superconductivity industry in place by 2010.

The wires will be made with the modified metal-organic, chemical vapor deposition process developed at the University of Houston. ORNL will focus on characterizing the properties and microstructure of the enhanced wire at its Accelerated Coated Conductor Laboratory. MetOx will start producing long lengths of second-generation superconducting wire early next year.

Superconducting technology will allow more efficient generation of electricity. About 8% of all electricity generated in the United States never reaches the customer because of inefficiencies in the transmission and distribution system. Researchers believe that high-temperature superconducting technology will improve electric transmission efficiency and save more than $1 billion per year in electrical losses. Other benefits include more compact transmission cables and lighter, smaller motors and generators.