Sentec launches new sensor design for smart grid market


September 29, 2010 – Sentec, the smart metering and grid technology specialist, has announced the launch of its latest innovation in a series of technological advancements for the smart grid and metering market.

Its latest technology, Iris, is a Rogowski coil-based current sensor designed to provide utility companies with a highly accurate sensing solution for a variety of applications, in both low voltage distribution and grid management.

High quality and cost effective sensors are vital to the growth of the smart grid as more accurate and frequent measurement is needed for feature-rich additions like smart meters. With this in mind, Sentec has developed Iris to offer superior accuracy and multi functional capabilities when compared to other widely used current sensing techniques, such as current transformers.

In many cases distribution companies have little information about dynamic load and the balance of phases on distribution transformers. Iris enables monitoring of transformer output allowing appropriate resourcing of maintenance and upgrades to the network, to prevent transformer overload and improve lifetime.

The new information available from smart meter data and transformer energy output provided by Iris allows reconciliation of the two data, enabling the detection of theft of energy and improved understanding of the topology of the low voltage network.

An additional application of Iris, benefitting distribution operators, is detection and location of faults on the network. Rogowski sensors provide high bandwidth measurement capabilities with a high dynamic range perfectly suited to this application.

Aside from the application benefits, Iris is available in two designs to help utility companies best manage the implementation process. The standard annular model can be easily installed into new networks while the revolutionary open aperture, or C-shaped, design may be retrofitted without interruption of the circuit. This allows the utility company to upgrade the distribution network without shutting off supply to the end user and allowing an upgrade flexibility that the industry has never seen before.

Dr Mark England, CEO of Sentec, said: “We are pleased to be offering such a pioneering technology to the market. The high accuracy that Iris offers at all voltages opens the way to a new generation of applications for grid control, something which we are working hard to develop even further. A sensor design with the calibre of Iris is an indication of the types of innovation which are needed to make the grid truly smart and an area which Sentec is proud to be leading.”