Advanced Conductors versus ACSR: costs and companies?

Advanced Conductors have 2x higher amperage capacities and temperature limits than standard Aluminium Conductor Steel Reinforced (ACSR) used in AC transmission lines. This data-file screens Advanced Conductors versus ACSR on dimensions such as tensile strength, performance and costs, and also screens leading companies.


ACSR denotes Aluminium Conductors Steel Reinforced, which are the dominant conductor solution for overhead AC transmission lines in power grids. They comprise circular aluminium wires wrapped around structural steel cores, tied together at periodic intervals.

ACSRs are typically limited to 75ÂșC operating temperatures with tensile strength around 300MPa. Cross-sectional area determines current-carrying capacity of different conductors.

Advanced Conductors replace the central steel cores with composite materials, especially carbon fiber, and replace the circular aluminium conductors with trapezoidal ones. This confers 2x higher current carrying capacity, with lower resistance, higher temperature limits, higher strength and less risk of ‘sagging’ below minimum safety clearances.

Geometries of current conductors (left and middle) and advanced conductors (right). The construction is similar but advanced conductors use carbon fiber cores, making them lighter yet stronger.

The Conductors tab of the data-file tabulates the temperature limits, resistance, strength, current, simplified diagrams and descriptions for ASCRs, improved conductors and Advanced Conductors.

The Companies tab profiles leading producers of Advanced Conductors. Three private companies stand out and have been commercializing advanced conductors since the 2000s. The largest is CTC, whose ACCC solution has been used at 1,250 projects in over 60 countries

The Costs of advanced conductors are also estimated on a separate tab, in $/meter of conductor and $/kW-km of carrying capacity. Generally, Advanced Conductors are 2-6x more expensive than ACSR, but these costs are only a small portion of the total costs of an AC transmission line.

Further notes and charts are in backup tabs of the data-file comparing advanced conductors versus ACSR. Advanced conductors help to resolve grid bottlenecks per our recent research into advanced conductors.

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