Slashing the cost of electricity substation monitoring

Slashing the cost of electricity substation monitoring

Technology News |
By Julien Happich

The company has patented and prototyped a metrology sensor solution dubbed “Triple Ohm” that can increase the dynamic range, accuracy, frequency bandwidth while reducing the BOM cost by ten compared to competing solutions.

“The system is being specifically designed with a target price of around £100 per installation whereas today’s alternative solutions are more than 10 times as expensive, making them too costly for widespread use,” said Jeremy Carey, managing director of 42 Technology.

The easy-to-install and compact hardware reduces cost for both voltage and current sensing, monitoring six or more Rogowski coils. The Triple Ohm solution has a high rejection of external magnetic fields and can detect small and fast variations in the load current and voltage (signature detection). It has a high level surge immunity with an intrinsically high insulation voltage up to 15kV. Software-enabled features are numerous, giving out the RMS voltage and current of each phase, the active and reactive power for each phase as well as the apparent, fundamental and harmonic power for each phase. The unit also calculate the total power factor, four-quadrant reactive power and detailed voltage/current harmonic content.

The new system will potentially allow distribution network operating companies (known as DNOs) to start accurately monitoring the performance of every substation within their part of the network so they can make more informed infrastructure investments and minimize the risk of costly asset failures.
The phase one grant will see 42 Technology working with the UK’s Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) in Glasgow to develop the business case for the new system.

The work will include development of a recommended system design and an understanding of the key technical and commercial aspects required to help drive a future development programme in partnership with one or more UK-based DNOs. The system can also be adapted for use in international markets, such as US or Europe, where operating companies are similarly looking to improved monitoring as a way of optimizing their distribution networks for performance and cost.

The UK’s existing network of low voltage secondary substations needs to be carefully managed to match energy supply and demand, and to ensure the existing infrastructure can accommodate emerging social trends such as increasing use of small scale solar installations or charging of electric vehicles.  Improved monitoring would allow DNOs to run more of their assets close to capacity, in other words more cost-effectively, while helping them to determine the ideal time to upgrade equipment, replace or add in new capacity.

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