British institute to study new network fault limiter technologies


Dr David Clarke,
Chief Executive,
Loughborough, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — July 15, 2011 – Britain’s Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has launched two £4 million projects aimed to reduce the impact of faults on electricity distribution networks and help the growth and increased flexibility of distribution systems.

The technologies are also expected to help minimize the costs of upgrading the nation’s electricity distribution network over the next 20 to 30 years.

The two projects, part of the ETI’s Energy Storage and Distribution Program, will accelerate the development and demonstration of two of the most promising fault current limiter technologies from around the world.

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.

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 other project will design, develop and demonstrate a resistive superconducting fault current limiter. It will be developed by Applied Superconductor Ltd, 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 both projects.

Both devices will be demonstrated on the networks for two years. Once the devices have been built and independently tested, they will be demonstrated in service on the UK’s networks from 2013.

“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. “These projects will deliver a radical new approach for fault current limiters which will be thoroughly demonstrated on live substations.”

In its recent electricity market reform white paper the government estimated that up to £110 billion investment in electricity generation and transmission is likely to be required by 2020.

The ETI is a public-private partnership between six global industrial companies and the U.K. government tasked with developing “mass scale” technologies that will help the U.K. meet its 2020 and 2050 energy targets.