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Home > Press > Leaders in High Temperature Superconductivity Commercialization Win Superconductor Industry Awards

CERN's Large Hadron Collider Current Leads Project Head Amalia Ballarino Named Superconductor Industry Person of the Year 2006. Former High Temperature Superconductivity Program Manager at the U.S. Department of Energy James Daley Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Leaders in High Temperature Superconductivity Commercialization Win Superconductor Industry Awards

Portland, OR | Posted on May 21st, 2007

Superconductors are at the heart of several large and rapidly growing industries, ranging from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to fusion energy research. Superconductors, which can transmit electricity with zero losses, may soon revolutionize other industries as well, including electric power, communications, computing, nanotechnology, and transportation. Superconductor Week, the leading publication on superconductor business and technology, today calls attention to two leaders at the forefront of the global superconductor industry.

The award for "Superconductor Industry Person of the Year," the industry's most prestigious international award in the development and commercialization of superconductors, has been bestowed upon Amalia Ballarino, Project Leader for the high temperature superconducting (HTS) current leads for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, a particle accelerator designed to probe the limits of physics and expand our understanding of the universe. James Daley, recently retired from Program Manager of the HTS program at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), was recognized for his career accomplishments with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The awards were determined by a panel of recognized leaders in science, R&D, and government in North America, Europe, and Asia. The winners were selected from dozens of nominations submitted by peers around the world from every field of superconductivity.

Ballarino Heralds Commercialization of HTS

More than 1,000 HTS leads transfer about 3MA of current from the room-temperature converters to the thousands of superconducting magnets in the LHC's accelerator ring at CERN. As Project Manager, Ballarino has been responsible for the leads from the initial materials testing and selection, through the conceptual and detailed engineering design of the leads, to the collaboration with industry and laboratory for manufacturing and testing of the final series production.

Mark Bitterman, Executive Editor at Superconductor Week, commented, "With 99% of all the LHC current leads completing delivery and successful testing in 2006, it is appropriate to recognize Ballarino's work, which represents the largest commercial use of HTS wire in the world, with an impact extending far beyond CERN."

The LHC's massive superconducting magnets are refrigerated with superfluid helium to a temperature colder than outer space (1.9 K, or 271°C) in order to achieve their extremely high performance ratings. Bringing electrical current from the room temperature power system into this extremely frigid environment posed the engineering challenge of how to transport large amounts of electricity without introducing large amounts of heat generated by resistance in the wiring or conducted from outside. HTS materials, which conduct electricity at somewhat higher temperatures, and which also have low thermal conductivity, limit the amount of heat that is transferred into the cryogenic environment, and significantly reduce the cooling requirements of the accelerating rings. In the case of the LHC, using HTS leads reduced the heat load into the liquid helium environment by a factor greater than ten.

Ken Marken, R&D Program Manager at Oxford Instruments Superconducting Technology, commented: "Ballarino is responsible to a very great extent for the success of the LHC HTS leads, which have now been used in a range of commercial and scientific applications including other HEP installations, conduction cooled LTS and HTS magnets for a variety of applications, and MRI magnets."

Jurgen Kellers, Jens Müller of Trithor GmBh: "The first truly commercial application of HTS is current leads. Whether it be for small magnets, or for large systems in high energy physics, HTS current leads now come first to the mind of the user when he or she is about to plan a magnet system."

Dr. Ballarino received a Master's Degree and Ph.D in Nuclear Engineering from the prestigious Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy. Her Ph.D work was done at CERN, where she has been employed since 1997.

Daley Establishes Global Model for Public-Private Collaboration on HTS

Dr. James Daley, who retired at the end of 2006, receives the Superconductor Industry Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of leadership at the DOE, where programs he implemented have been key to the collaborations between business and government that make the HTS program so successful.

"Dr. Daley has provided strong leadership to the DOE's HTS Program in the Office of Electricity for almost two decades," Bitterman commented. "He is recognized as a champion of cooperative partnerships between government and industry, and for his strong support for research and development―his advocacy led to 90 collaborative projects between industry and national laboratories. Dr. Daley is also noted for his leadership at a series of HTS Wire Development Workshops, which led to technological advances in conductors."

Bob Hawsey, Director of the Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, and Electricity Delivery Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, commented, "Before Jim Daley came to Washington there was no standardized mechanism for industrial collaboration with the DOE national laboratories. Jim's program piloted what has now become commonplace across the agency―the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. In addition, Daley initiated a new tool to accelerate development of electric power applications of HTS: the Superconductivity Partnerships with Industry Program. These partnerships, along with the new peer-review mechanism first adopted by Jim Daley, helped keep the U.S. program in a leadership position in the world-wide race to commercialize HTS."

Dr. Daley was manager of the High Temperature Superconductivity Program since the program's inception in the late 1980's. Before joining the DOE, Dr. Daley was a staff scientist at Argonne National Laboratory for 15 years, performing research in a variety of fields that included nuclear energy, advanced heat engines, and electric utility storage systems.

About the Awards

The winners of Superconductor Week's Superconductor Industry Awards were determined by an independent panel of nine leading experts in science and industry from around the world working in every field of superconductivity.

Additional information on the awardees and panel members is available at:

The award's official plaques will be presented to the winners at the 20th International Conference on Magnet Technology (MT20) in Philadelphia, Penn. and the DOE Superconductivity for Electric Systems Peer Review in Crystal City, Virg., and at the 8th European Conference on Applied Superconductivity (EUCAS 2007) in Brussels, Belgium.

Last year's winners were Yuh Shiohara of the International Superconductivity Technology Center (ISTEC) and Seung Hong of Oxford Instruments Superconducting Technology.


About Superconductor Week
Founded in 1987, Superconductor Week is the leading provider of critical information and expert insight for the technology and business of superconductivity. Original reporting, exclusive interviews, and expert analysis cover medical, electric power, communications, military, basic science, nanotechnology, and other markets.

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