Two £4m projects have been launched by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) to reduce the impact of faults on electricity distribution networks, helping the growth and increased flexibility of distribution systems and with more low carbon electricity generation installed in the distribution system.
These new projects will also help minimise the costs of upgrading the UK’s electricity distribution network over the next 20 to 30 years, says the ETI. Each project will develop and demonstrate a fault current limiter device, which will reduce the damaging currents resulting from network faults and increase electricity network reliability for the future.
Part of the ETI’s Energy Storage and Distribution Programme, the projects will also accelerate the development and demonstration of two of the most promising fault current limiter technologies from around the world.
One project will design, develop and demonstrate a Pre-saturated Core Fault Current Limiter. It will be developed by GridON, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, manufactured by Wilson Transformer Company and will be installed at a UK Power Networks substation in Newhaven, East Sussex.
The second involves the design, developmenr and demonstration of a Resistive Superconducting Fault Current Limiter. It will be developed by Applied Superconductor, based in Blyth, Northumberland, with technical input from Rolls-Royce, and will be installed on the network at a Western Power Distribution substation in Loughborough, Leicestershire.
E.ON will act as technical consultants on these projects, and both devices will be demonstrated on the networks for two years.
Ambitious specifications have been set, which exceed the capability of devices currently being demonstrated and which meet the real needs of network operators, says the ETI. Once the devices have been built and independently tested, they will be demonstrated in service on the UK’s networks from 2013. The ETI will assess the benefits of the two devices to understand the optimum deployment opportunities for each device to provide the maximum network benefit.
“Although we hear a lot about the importance of renewable energy sources to the UK’s future energy mix, the infrastructure that provides power and heat to people’s homes and businesses is also vital," said ETI Chief Executive Dr David Clarke (pictured). "These projects will deliver a radical new approach for fault current limiters which will be thoroughly demonstrated on live substations.
"Upgrading the UK electricity distribution network will cost tens of billions of pounds over the next 20-30 years and the devices we will test in these projects will help minimise these costs."