New NIST calibration service 'arms' phasors for more reliable power grids

Aug 17, 2007

While the new calibration service for phasor measurement units (PMUs) offered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology sounds like it would appeal to "Star Trek" fans, it’s actually the operators of America’s electrical power grid—and all of us who value uninterrupted current—who benefit.

The new NIST service provides calibrations for the instruments that measure the magnitude and phase of voltage and current signals in a power system—a combined mathematical entity called a phasor—and report the data in terms of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC, also known as “the official world atomic time”).

Use of absolute time enables measurements called phase angles taken at one location on a power grid to be comparable to others across different systems. Phase angles and their derivations allow grid managers to know the operating condition of their portion of the system and determine if action is needed to prevent a power blackout.

The new NIST calibration service has already yielded two additional benefits. First, a major PMU manufacturer reports that using the calibrations during the manufacture of its instruments has improved their accuracy by a factor of five. Secondly, some PMUs that have been calibrated using the NIST service have revealed incompatibilities in the message format they send out, leading to corrections that have improved interoperability between PMUs across power grids.

Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology

Explore further: FAA, industry launch drone safety campaign

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NIST tornado reports urge new safety standards

Dec 05, 2013

Nationally accepted standards for building design and construction, public shelters and emergency communications can significantly reduce deaths and the steep economic costs of property damage caused by tornadoes. ...

1000 calibration reports . . . and counting

Nov 22, 2012

The U.S. Internet – and indeed any communication system that sends information by fiber-optic cable – depends critically on strong, clear signals propagating reliably through transmission lines. The principal ...

Recommended for you

FAA, industry launch drone safety campaign

2 hours ago

Alarmed by increasing encounters between small drones and manned aircraft, drone industry officials said Monday they are teaming up with the government and model aircraft hobbyists to launch a safety campaign.

Off-world manufacturing is a go with space printer

Dec 20, 2014

On Friday, the BBC reported on a NASA email exchange with a space station which involved astronauts on the International Space Station using their 3-D printer to make a wrench from instructions sent up in ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.