Cross-arms could speed up connection of new electricity supplies

Jan 22, 2013

(Phys.org)—A revolutionary device developed by engineers at The University of Manchester and EPL Composite Solutions Ltd. could dramatically increase the capacity of the UK's electricity network, enabling rapid increases in renewable generation and lower bills for consumers.

Insulated Cross-arms, manufactured and sold by University of Manchester spin-out company Arago Technology Ltd., have been installed on pylons in some of the most stark and remote areas of the UK to test their resistance to and are also being tested for an eventual use with 400,000 volt systems at a coastal site in Scotland.

Tests have also been carried out at the University's High Voltage Laboratory which has subjected them to of more than 1.4 million volts.

Modelling shows that in some cases the new Cross-arms are capable of increasing the power carrying capability of a pylon by up to 2.5 times.

Installing the insulated Cross-arms would aid the UK meet the growing demand for and help in the connection of 'green' forms of .

The dramatic increase in capacity of the that would result from the installation of the cross-arms could reduce the need to build more pylons and could reduce household bills.

Without them, utility companies would be faced with the expensive and laborious task of applying to build more pylons. Receiving planning permission alone can take many years with no guarantee of success.

Resistance to plans to build more overhead lines and the cost of undergrounding have greatly increased demand on utility companies with further demand expected if the UK's householders move from gas to electricity for domestic heating and if electric vehicles gain in popularity. The insulated Cross-arms enable increased using the same pylons or the use of smaller pylons when building a new electricity line.

Arago Technology is now planning to install 12 Cross-arms with energy companies Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission (SHETL) and National Grid (NG) with a view to further roll-out.

Professor Simon Rowland, from the University's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, said: "It's great to see research being translated into solutions for society. If the insulated Cross-arms can help to connect renewable energy sources with lower cost and less visual impact, everybody will benefit"

Arago's Commercial Manager Dr Frank Allison added: "The installation of the insulated Cross-arms in a number of locations is a landmark event for Arago and its partners and vindicates the hours of hard work and dedication by all members of the team.

"Since energisation equivalent to a 400,000 volt system, early results are very positive suggesting the insulating Cross-arms are performing as expected, although more tests are needed."

The Cross-arm won the Power & Energy Award at the IET Innovation awards ceremony at the end of last year.

Explore further: Many tongues, one voice, one common ambition

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Giving the electricity network more grunt

Jan 13, 2012

A new Queensland University of Technology (QUT) research project aims to overcome one of Australia's main hurdles to the increased use of wind and solar energy.

Smart software for self-regulating smart grid

May 24, 2011

Siemens and the utility company Allgauer Uberlandwerk (AUW) in the city of Kempten, Germany, are testing the smart grids of the future. The tests focus on optimized power distribution and the use of a self-organizing ...

The stellar superhighway in the Milky Way

Mar 21, 2012

Conventional wisdom suggests that, like planets round the Sun, stars follow approximately circular orbits which cross the spiral arms, and that the Sun presently lies in a spur rather than a major spiral arm.

Recommended for you

Many tongues, one voice, one common ambition

12 hours ago

There is much need to develop energy efficient solutions for residential buildings in Europe. The EU-funded project, MeeFS, due to be completed by the end of 2015, is developing an innovative multifunctional and energy efficient ...

Panasonic, Tesla to build big US battery plant

13 hours ago

(AP)—American electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. is teaming up with Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. to build a battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. expected to create 6,500 jobs.

Simulation models optimize water power

14 hours ago

The Columbia River basin in the Pacific Northwest offers great potential for water power; hydroelectric power stations there generate over 20 000 megawatts already. Now a simulation model will help optimize the operation ...

Charging electric cars efficiently inductive

14 hours ago

We already charge our toothbrushes and cellphones using contactless technology. Researchers have developed a particularly efficient and cost-effective method that means electric cars could soon follow suit.

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Trenchant
1 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2013
What is it? How does it actually work? What about a picture?
djr
5 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2013
Here you go Trench -

http://www.aragot...t-400kv/
Tristan
not rated yet Jan 23, 2013
The link above is flagged as a phishing site by my browser. Don't know if that's accurate but just a warning.
Trenchant
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2013
Thank you djr. Very informative.