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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number NIA_SPEN_031
Title Portable Radiometric Arc Fault Locator using battery powered field deployable equipment (RAFL2)
Status Completed
Energy Categories Other Power and Storage Technologies(Electricity transmission and distribution) 100%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
SP Energy Networks
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source Ofgem
Start Date 01 April 2018
End Date 31 January 2022
Duration ENA months
Total Grant Value £410,000
Industrial Sectors Power
Region Scotland
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , SP Energy Networks (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , SP Energy Networks (0.000%)
Web Site https://smarter.energynetworks.org/projects/NIA_SPEN_031
Objectives This project builds on earlier proof of concept projects (IFI 1413 and NIA_SPEN005) which SPEN undertook to investigate the feasibility of a Radiometric Arc Fault Locator (RAFL) based on fixed hardware to detect transient faults. These earlier projects culminated in a field trial of the RAFL system which were permanently mounted to wooden poles supporting transformers on an 11 kV OHL circuit.Despite this circuit being chosen due to its historical poor performance, no faults were recorded during the trial period. Nevertheless, the trial demonstrated that the hardware was reliable and suited to the purpose of detecting impulsive radio frequency emissions from power system arcing. Additionally, the process of uploading recorded data to the server was refined for greater availability.This project, with SPEN as lead DNO, now proposes to expand on this learning and develop a low cost, portable, battery powered version of the RAFL system field deployable unit (FDU) that can be rapidly redeployed in service. It is estimated that 10% of permanent faults related to wind-borne or tree damage start off as transient arcing faults. Of these, 10% are estimated to be locatable using the RAFL devices. The project will develop RAFL system hardware and software suitable for locating faults on DNO OHL networks. The hardware will be economic and suited for utility field use. The work will be divided into the following stages:Initial system design, to be informed by - Experience from previous project -Discussions with DNOs focussing on reaction to faults, field practices -Staged 11 kV switching tests to establish signal capture range and optimal receiving antenna-GPS timing tests to establish best-case timing accuracy and appropriate use of GPS hardwareDevelopment phase - Detailed design work involving field unit electronic and enclosure design- Software development of Field Deployable Unit (FDU) code, server code and web and mobile applications-Construction, debugging and factory testing of first 4 FDUs.Evaluation phase-Location accuracy testing by repeating 11 kV switching tests -Design review -Manufacture and factory testing of remaining 20 FDUs-Up to 12 month field trial For each stage of the project the following objectives have been identified Initial system design Identify the electronic specification for the recording hardware of the FDU based on current understanding of the (radio frequency)RF receiving constraints for arcing faults, GPS receiver accuracy and latest battery technology. Similarly, identify the housing for the FDUs considering DNO field practices. Development phase Convert the initial system design specification into hardware suitable for field use; develop software to fulfil the system software specification.Evaluation Phase Validate location accuracy. Review design and establish fitness for purpose. Success will measured by the devices location accuracy, and the field teams feedback on its fitness on purpose
Abstract Radiometric Arc Fault Location (RAFL) utilises radio frequency waves generated in arc faults to assist the identification of faultlocation for intermittent faults on the distribution network.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 14/12/22