Western Power Distribution (WPD) and 42 Technology announced the successful completion of the first UK field trials for FuseOhm, a breakthrough in low-cost monitoring that could allow all Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) to monitor the performance of every low voltage electricity substation routinely for the first time.
The results from the six-month trial have fully endorsed that FuseOhm can provide continuous real-time measurement and recording of critical parameters within substations – such as voltage, temperature and phase angle – as well as being fast and easy to install.
“FuseOhm is an easy retrofit solution that could provide network operators with low-cost monitoring at scale, and much better visibility of where to deploy smart management systems or specific network reinforcements.
The FuseOhm units were installed, operating and collecting real-time data within one of our substations literally within minutes but the system could just as easily be included as an optional extra as part of all new installations at marginal extra cost,” said Ricky Duke, innovation and low carbon network engineer at WPD.
All DNOs are under mounting pressure to monitor all of their assets to help improve network stability and performance, and to more accurately identify stress points caused by increasing use of low-carbon technologies: such as electric vehicle charging, domestic heat pumps or consumers exporting back to the grid.
Although several monitoring systems are already available, DNOs report that they can take two hours or more to install and are usually too expensive for routine and widespread use. As a result, current technologies tend only to be installed and used for short periods to help with fault diagnosis on a specific leg of the network when a customer reports a problem.
FuseOhm has been specifically designed to address this and to provide DNOs with a true low-cost approach that could be rolled out to every substation. Widespread network monitoring would also help DNOs to more cost-effectively plan where and when to upgrade, replace or add in new capacity.
FuseOhm uses self-powered ‘plug and play’ adapters that slot into existing fuseways to provide a complete monitoring system that can either store data locally or transfer it via wired or wireless communications networks for remote monitoring applications.
These latest trial results follow on from a series of in-depth tests on pre-production prototypes carried out at The University of Strathclyde’s Power Networks Demonstration Centre in Glasgow (PNDC), where FuseOhm was shown to be robust and accurate over multiple tests, temperatures and environmental conditions.
The field trial results have reaffirmed the considerable market interest in a low-cost, universal monitoring solution and 42 Technology is now working with an established equipment and communications provider to bring FuseOhm to market.