IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017 - 95

line in the world, according to an article in IEEE Power Engineering Review.
This landmark achievement in dc
transmission brought the technology to
full maturity, according to reports. "It
was also to be the high point in the use of
mercury-arc technology-future systems
would look to the emerging technology of
solid-state, semiconductor, or transistortype valves," according to Gould.
Published reports by Gould recall
that Lamm's contributions to the success of the Pacific DC Intertie went
beyond his technical expertise. "There
were significant political problems, because the project involved entities of different regions of the western states and
of different ownership format. In all of
this Uno Lamm filled the role of technical consultant, political adviser, and
peacemaker. While many individuals,
corporate entities, and political subdivisions of government made notable and
enabling contributions to the success of
the undertaking, that of Uno Lamm was
salient in its importance."
In 1970, Lamm led the move to replace the mercury-arc technology with
semiconductors used in thyristor technology. "When William Shockley received the Nobel Prize for the invention
of the transistor and applied this name
to it, he was reported to have said that he
had heard 'some Swede' use the word
in a technical presentation and thought
it aptly applied to his new discovery,"
Lamm biographer Gould stated.

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Mercury-Arc Valve
The first mercury-arc valve rectifier
was invented in 1902 by New York-born
electrical engineer and inventor Peter
Cooper Hewitt. The rectifier was used
in electric railways, industry, electroplating, and HVdc power transmission.
Over the next two decades, researchers
in Europe and North America made
modifications to the original design that
converted ac into HVdc. In the 1970s,
mercury-arc valves were largely replaced by new semiconductor technologies used in diodes and thyristors.
Today, most rectifiers use solidstate technology. However, before the
1960s and prior to the development of
september/october 2017

energyexemplar.com
ieee power & energy magazine

95


http://www.energyexemplar.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017 - Cover1
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017 - Cover2
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017 - 1
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017 - Cover3
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017 - Cover4
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