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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number NIA_NGET0176
Title Feasibility study on the application of advanced materials
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 PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 50%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) 50%;
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 January 2016
End Date 01 July 2017
Duration 18 months
Total Grant Value £160,000
Industrial Sectors Power
Region London
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , National Grid Electricity Transmission (100.000%)
Web Site http://www.smarternetworks.org/project/NIA_NGET0176
Objectives The completion of an in-depth analysis that identifies the feasibility and associated benefits that new advanced materials could bring to electrical transmission system equipment. The delivery of a road-map that outlines the opportunities for the use of grapheme, 2D materials and other relevant advanced materials to electrical transmission systems. This road map to describe the engineering benefits, likely financial return, time to deployment, network risk and environmental impact.
Abstract Virtually all electrical transmission system equipment is limited in performance and lifetime by issues associated with the materials used in its construction. Improved materials would allow capital spend to be deferred as asset life times are extended / maintenance periods to be increased. Enhanced materials may also allow a reduction in the upfront cost of an asset. Some of the typical challenges that exist across the electricity supply industry relating to materials include: Ageing of electrical insulation: The ageing of paper insulation within transformers and outdoor polymeric insulation both limit the life of the assets. Transformer ageing is load dependent while polymeric insulation is vulnerable to pollution. Materials that could stop ageing / repair ageing in existing assets would allow asset lifetimes to be increased. Corrosion free materials / corrosion protection: Assets, particularly those in outdoor locations, are vulnerable to corrosion and significant expenditure results from tasks such as tower painting. The use of materials that do not corrode / the development of coatings that could be applied once during the asset lifetime could significantly reduce costs. High temperature materials: Many assets have limited performance owing to temperature limitations. Circuit breaker contacts are vulnerable to damage during fault current interruption and have load current restrictions based on temperature rise. The maximum operating temperature of insulation limits the current that can be carried through a cable circuit. The development of materials that can operate at and withstand damage at high temperatures would allow existing asset corridors to carry more power / reduce the maintenance requirements in substations. This work will identify opportunities to enhance the performance / extend the life of existing equipment and deliver more cost-effective new equipment with a lower environmental impact through the use of advanced materials (particularly those based on graphene / 2D materials). This first area of work will be primarily desk based, seeking to explore the potential applications of graphene and other 2D materials on assets found the in electrical transmission systems. Should promising opportunities be identified, work will move to carry out fuller assessments of these specific cases. Evaluating the opportunity for materials to enhance the performance of assets cannot be carried out purely by looking at the properties of the materials. Knowledge of the materials must be combined with an understanding of the design of transmission system assets. For example, the development of a lighter yet stronger and more conductive overhead line conductor would give major benefits yet could worsen audible noise levels if not correctly applied. The ability to develop a thinner, more thermally conductive cable insulation would seem to be beneficial yet would have a negative impact on the circuit capacitance. This project will therefore focus on assessing the properties of graphene / 2D materials and the benefits they can provide by combining knowledge at the materials level with knowledge of the equipment / system level. One of the materials that will be examined is graphene, first discovered in 2004. The behaviour of this 2D material is unique, graphene is: Ultra-light yet immensely tough200 times stronger than steel, but it is incredibly flexible Fire resistant yet retains heat A superb conductor and can act as a perfect barrier - not even helium can pass through it. Graphene in combination with other materials is showing great promise. Recent work carried out at the National Graphene Institute has demonstrated that by combining graphene with paint, a unique graphene coating is formed which could signal the end of the deterioration of steels through rust. The work carried out was not targeted to any particular application yet the use of this on overhead line towers could reduce or eliminate the need for tower painting. Other researchers are highlighting the improvements in electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity that can be delivered using graphene. This research is, again, not specifically targeted to electricity transmission applications. There is, therefore, an opportunity to ensure that the benefits of graphene and similar 2D materials are fully understood and, where feasible, applied to improve the performance of equipment operating on the electrical transmission systems. The project will identify the most promising applications for graphene and other 2D materials in electrical transmission systems and examine the feasibility of using these materials on the transmission system. The project will consider the likely financial benefits, likely time to market, specific application issues) and provide recommendations on the pathway for deployment.Note : Project Documents may be available via the ENA Smarter Networks Portal using the Website link above
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 14/08/18