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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number NIA2_NGET0019
Title Aerial E-field Inspection System for Live Overhead Transmission Assets
Status Started
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
National Grid Electricity Transmission
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source Ofgem
Start Date 01 June 2022
End Date 31 May 2025
Duration ENA months
Total Grant Value £1,181,000
Industrial Sectors Power
Region London
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , National Grid Electricity Transmission (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , National Grid Electricity Transmission (0.000%)
Web Site https://smarter.energynetworks.org/projects/NIA2_NGET0019
Objectives NGET recognises that the challenges highlighted above could be more effectively and efficiently addressed by employing a live inspection system for OHL insulators that would be capable of performing inspections with the same or even higher quality than a human, and at the same time, capable of delivering health condition assessment reports in real-time, so that forensic analysis for OHL insulators would no longer be needed.A drone mountable, electric field (E-field) sensor-based system, with incorporated on-bard computing and analysis capability to generate asset health condition assessment in real-time appears to be a viable option for such a live inspection system. All HV insulators produce E-fields when they are in live operation. The distributions of the E-fields can be altered by localised defects. With a purposely built and tunned E-field sensor system carried by a drone flying in close proximity to the OHL insulators, the E-field distributions of the OHL insulators can be accurately captured and compared with known E-field distribution profiles to produce the asset health condition assessment. This solution would enable live inspections for OHL insulators and would remove the needs for circuit switching, tower climbing and taking insulator samples away for forensic analysis. Therefore, the time and costs related for OHL insulator health management could be substantially reduced while the inspection results would be available much faster and the visibility for the overall health of this asset class could be significantly increased due to more data being made available. Data Quality Statement (DQS):​The project will be delivered under the NIA framework in line with OFGEM, ENA and NGET internal policy. Data produced as part of this project will be subject to quality assurance to ensure that the information produced with each deliverable is accurate to the best of our knowledge and sources of information are appropriately documented. All deliverables and project outputs will be stored on our internal sharepoint platform ensuring access control, backup and version management. Deliverables will be shared with other network licensees through closedown reports on the Smarter Networks Portal.Measurement Quality Statement (MQS): ​The methodology used in this project will be subject to suppliers own quality assurance regime. Quality assurance processes and the source of data, measurement processes and equipment as well as data processing will be clearly documented and verifiable. The measurements, designs and economic assessments will also be clearly documented in the relevant deliverables and final project report and will be made available for review.In line with the ENAs ENIP document, the risk rating is scored 8 = Medium.TRL Steps = 2 (3 TRL steps)Cost = 3 (>£1m)Suppliers = 1 (1 supplier)Data Assumption = 2 (Assumptions known but will be defined within project) The project is scoped into 4 work packages (WPs). WP1: Analysis for E-field sensor sensitivity and measurementLiterature review of the state-of-the-art of OHL insulator condition monitoring and the most frequent insulator faultsLaboratory based sensitivity experiments and analysis of commercial E-field sensors for sensor selections and tuningRequirements capture and workshop for stakeholdersWP2: HV laboratory testing and algorithm buildingSmall scale testing of E-field sensors using less complex insulator samplesFull scale testing of E-field sensors using the full NG rangeof insulator samplesInterpretate the test results, optimise the hardware configuration and build the health condition assessment algorithmWP3: Digital twin constructionBuild digital twins for NG insulators to define the electric field profiles for different conditions. These profiles are used in WP2 as references for health condition assessment.WP4: UAV integrationRe-engineer, miniaturise and instrument the commercial E-field system into a drone carriable payloadRecommendation for drone operation and safety The objective of this project is to deliver a live inspection system for OHL insulators based on E-field sensors and drone. The key aspects are:Select the most suitable E-field sensors for the project basing on detailed laboratory experiments and analysisComprehensively test the selected E-field sensors on a range of insulator samples to optimise the hardware configuration and the algorithm for asset health condition assessmentBuild digital twins for NGET insulators and define different E-field distribution profiles for different conditionsRe-engineer, miniaturise and instrument the commercial E-field sensor system into a drone carriable payloadProduce recommendations for drone operation and safety to NGET
Abstract This project aims to deliver an inspection system based on E-field sensors and drone to enable live inspections for transmission OHL insulators with asset health condition assessment reports produced in real-time. This project will characterise and quantify the efficacy of E-field sensor in identifying defects in OHL insulators, perform through tests in UoMs HV laboratory to optimise the hardware configuration, construct digital twins for a range of insulators to define the electric field profiles for OHL insulators under different conditions, design algorithms to best assess the asset health conditions for OHL insulators and will re-engineer, miniaturise and instrument the commercial E-field system into a drone carriable payload. This project will also produce recommendations for drone operation and safety guidelines.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 14/10/22