Request for Information: Electrical Conductivity Testing for New Conductor Materials

NREL has issued a request for information (RFI) about Stage 2 of the conductivity-enhanced materials prize.

The RFI, issued on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy, is in regard to the American-Made Challenges Conductivity-enhanced materials for Affordable, Breakthrough, Leapfrog Electric and thermal applications Conductor Manufacturing Prize, or CABLE Conductor Manufacturing Prize. The letters C, A, B, and L in the acronym represent the prize's goals.

A person tinkers with copper wires on an electric motor.
Stakeholders will help shape the testing requirements and specifications for the second phase of the CABLE Conductor Manufacturing Prize by providing feedback through the Electrical Conductivity Testing for New Conductor Materials RFI.

Purpose

The purpose of this RFI is to solicit feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, testing vendors, and other stakeholders on CABLE Conductor Manufacturing Prize Stage 2 documentation, testing requirements and specifications as well as potential sources for the testing itself.

How To Apply

All responses shall be submitted via email to Emily.Evans@nrel.gov on or before 5 p.m. MT on Dec. 7, 2021. In your response, please answer the questions below individually, and clearly indicate which questions you are responding to. The email subject line must be "Request for Information (RFI)/CABLE Prize Stage 2 Testing."

Brevity is encouraged, and responders do not need to respond to all the questions but can respond to only the ones that they are interested in. Read the full RFI for details.

About the CABLE Prize

The CABLE Conductor Manufacturing Prize will identify, verify, and reward affordable breakthroughs in conductivity that will enable U.S. manufacturers to leapfrog to next-generation materials. The prize will award a total of up to $4.5 million in cash prizes and vouchers for testing and technical assistance to competitors. More information on the CABLE Prize can be found in the official rules document.

Questions

NREL is interested in learning the following from stakeholders:

  1. Overall Conductivity Goals
    1. Is 65 MS/m a fair and reasonable conductivity goal?
    2. Is 14 kSm2/kg also reasonable?
    3. Are there other conductor-related metrics that should be considered?

  2. Material/Manufacturing Cost Documentation
    1. Is it reasonable to request sample material/manufacturing costs?
    2. Is it reasonable to specify factors for economies of scale, and learning by doing for all materials?
    3. Is it fair and reasonable to specify a baseline electrolytic copper material/manufacturing cost?
    4. Should a cost for electrical Al alloy also be specified?

  3. Superconductivity Testing
    1. Is it fair and reasonable to require testing to confirm Tc?
    2. Is it fair and reasonable to include a linear cooling penalty that is proportional to the difference between Tc and room temperature?
    3. Is it fair and reasonable to include an explicit cost credit/penalty only for superconductors?
    4. Are there other metrics that should be required for superconductors, including for testing?

  4. Testing Logistics
    1. Are the proposed Stage 2 testing logistics fair and reasonable?
    2. If you are a non-Stage 1 winner and wish to compete in Stage 2, do the logistics described earlier present any undue hardship that would prevent you from competing in Stage 2? If so, what can the prize team do to alleviate your concerns?
    3. For superconductors, please comment on any logistics issues related to superconductivity, Tc-related, or other types of testing.

  5. Testing Requirements
    1. Are the Stage 2 testing requirements comprehensive, fair, and reasonable?
    2. What is a reasonable requested minimum resistance to achieve accurate measurements for non-superconductors (20 µΩ has been suggested)?
    3. If you are a non-Stage 1 winner and wish to compete in Stage 2, do the testing requirements described earlier present any undue hardship that would prevent you from competing in Stage 2?
    4. If the testing requirements described earlier would prevent you from competing in Stage 2, what changes would help alleviate your concerns?

  6. Vendors
    1. Please provide information on potential vendors for nonsuperconductor electrical conductivity testing and superconductor Tc testing.

  7. Overall Feedback
    1. Are there any other concerns or items not covered in the questions above that you would like the CABLE Manufacturing Prize Administration team to be aware of?

Contact

If you have questions, email Emily Evans.