Knowledge & News

Marks & Clerk at EUCAS2019

7 September 2019

On a damp and windswept week in September, on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow, over a thousand delegates gathered for the 14th European Conference on Applied Superconductivity. The conference was a vibrant mix of academic, commercial and government enterprises, in fields including power transmission, nuclear fusion, aerospace, and particle physics.On a damp and windswept week in September, on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow, over a thousand delegates gathered for the 14th European Conference on Applied Superconductivity. The conference was a vibrant mix of academic, commercial and government enterprises, in fields including power transmission, nuclear fusion, aerospace, and particle physics.

The sheer number and variety of sessions means that it was only possible to see a snapshot of the incredible range of technology on offer. As a patent attorney with considerable experience in high temperature superconducting magnets for fusion devices, it was very interesting to see what other companies and research organisations are doing to push forward the field. The special session on electrical aircraft was fascinating, with proposals of hybrid aircraft with generators and engines cooled to a few degrees above absolute zero, where the liquid hydrogen coolant is used as fuel once it boils off.

While much of the focus on superconducting magnets has historically been in the scientific or medical fields (such as the giant magnets at CERN, or the magnets inside an MRI scanner), the more recent applications of the technology provide a wealth of opportunity for innovation.

Beyond magnets, superconductors are also finding their way into power grids – with reports being presented at the conference on test systems in Korea, Russia, and Japan. These systems have the potential to greatly reduce transmission losses, and also move bulky substations out of downtown areas, making it easier to satisfy demand.

The general sense from the conference is that there are several fields with a huge potential for innovation – and as the broader field continues to move towards commercial, rather than academic, projects, it will be more and more important for that innovation to be protected.

The sheer number and variety of sessions means that it was only possible to see a snapshot of the incredible range of technology on offer. As a patent attorney with considerable experience in high temperature superconducting magnets for fusion devices, it was very interesting to see what other companies and research organisations are doing to push forward the field. The special session on electrical aircraft was fascinating, with proposals of hybrid aircraft with generators and engines cooled to a few degrees above absolute zero, where the liquid hydrogen coolant is used as fuel once it boils off.

While much of the focus on superconducting magnets has historically been in the scientific or medical fields (such as the giant magnets at CERN, or the magnets inside an MRI scanner), the more recent applications of the technology provide a wealth of opportunity for innovation.

Beyond magnets, superconductors are also finding their way into power grids – with reports being presented at the conference on test systems in Korea, Russia, and Japan. These systems have the potential to greatly reduce transmission losses, and also move bulky substations out of downtown areas, making it easier to satisfy demand. The general sense from the conference is that there are several fields with a huge potential for innovation – and as the broader field continues to move towards commercial, rather than academic, projects, it will be more and more important for that innovation to be protected.

For further details, please contact:
www.eucas2019.org

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