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Reference Number EP/T001232/1
Title DC networks, power quality and plant reliability
Status Started
Energy Categories OTHER POWER and STORAGE TECHNOLOGIES (Electricity transmission and distribution) 100%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 20%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) 80%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 90%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Policy and regulation) 10%;
Principal Investigator Dr SM Rowland
No email address given
Electrical & Electronic Engineering
University of Manchester
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 November 2019
End Date 30 April 2023
Duration 42 months
Total Grant Value £727,155
Industrial Sectors Electronics; Energy
Region North West
Programme Energy : Energy
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr SM Rowland , Electrical & Electronic Engineering, University of Manchester (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , National Grid plc (0.000%)
Project Contact , ABB Limited (0.000%)
Project Contact , Scottish Power Renewables Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract The movement of electrical energy from generators to customers, through electricity networks, has historically been based on High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) technology. This has been a major success of the twentieth century, enabling reliable and stable energy supplies across the developed world. The technology dominated partly as a result of the ability to change voltage levels readily and efficiently using transformers. The alternative technology of High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) has historically only been used for point-to-point links because of particular advantages in this situation. Now however, with the advent of power electronics, utilisation of HVDC systems is rapidly increasing across the world. This has been accelerated with the growth of renewable distributed energy supplies, such as offshore wind farms in the UK. As a result, local and international energy supplies are becoming dependent on HVDC. Consequently, the reliability of DC technologies is becoming critical as they become more embedded in supply networks. However, in comparison to AC systems, the understanding of insulation and plant reliability under HVDC is still in its infancy. At the same time, the working environment for DC plant is not well documented and, in reality, DC systems have AC ripple, impulses and voltage variation just as in any other system, and these time-varying waveforms are likely to control plant ageing and reliability.This project comprises internationally leading researchers from The University of Manchester, The University of Strathclyde and Imperial College. They bring complementary expertise to form a unique team to address the problem. Prof Tim Green (Imperial) is an expert in the use of power electronics to enhance the controllability and flexibility of electricity networks; Prof Simon Rowland (Manchester) is an authority on ageing of high voltage insulation materials; and Prof Brian Steward (Strathclyde) has unique experience in condition monitoring and insulation diagnostics for high voltage systems. The project is designed to embed the work into the global community and in particular is linked to researchers in China where the largest systems are being developed.This project will firstly identify the voltage profiles experienced by plant insulation in a real HVDC network or link, because in real systems the voltage on the network is not a constant, fixed value. The power converters that feed a DC network create intrinsic "noise" in the form of high frequency elements as part of their normal operation, and also create voltage disturbances in their responses to fault conditions and emergency overloads. Characterising these is the first step in the overall study of how DC power quality impacts the lifetime of HV insulation. The team will then, through laboratory exploration, develop life models for polymeric insulation subject to known levels of DC power quality. The focus will be on AC ripple over a wide frequency range. Inaddition, the influence of fast transient signals of varying levels and durations will be considered, as identified above. The third experimental theme is to develop tools for monitoring transient signals and power quality in a real DC cable setting, and enable subsequent interpretation. Finally, we will develop input for utility policy documents on acceptable DC power quality. We will also provide evidence for optimal insulation design for equipment manufacturers and asset management recommendations for utilities.Through these means we hope to de-risk the UK's growing dependence on DC networks, and optimise equipment and system design and operation.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 25/08/21