Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New conductor could provide answers for energy demand

07.11.2002


Oak Ridge National Laboratory and 3M Company are hoping for powerful results from a project aimed at making transmitting electricity more efficient and reliable.



Researchers from 3M, working with ORNL, are developing a promising replacement conductor for conventional power lines that addresses the problem of power outages caused by sagging lines. Lines sag under the heat of high current loads. The replacement conductor also avoids the high cost and environmentally harmful effects of building new towers.

"3M’s new composite-core conductor can increase the current-carrying capacity of a transmission line at minimal cost and environmental impact," said John Stovall, technical leader in ORNL’s Engineering Science and Technology Division. "Its advantage is using existing structures to increase transmission capacity without the cost of a new transmission line."


The design uses 3M Nextel 650 ceramic fibers, embedded in an aluminum matrix, to make a composite wire that does not stretch as much when heated. An enhancement in the new cables is the addition of zirconium, which makes the aluminum more resistant to deformation at higher temperatures. The aluminum matrix also helps prevent rust in the cable. 3M is working with Nexans and Wire Rope Industries to manufacture the conductor.

"The new conductor’s ability to handle greater temperatures will allow more current to be transmitted," Stovall said.

ORNL researchers will test 3M’s small, medium and large diameter conductor cables successively in a field experiment at ORNL. The tests will evaluate the overall performance of the conductors to verify predictions of computer models by looking at sag and tension data, such as stress/strain curve and breaking point, and by testing various conductor accessories that attach the conductor to the towers.

The 3M conductor and line accessories by Alcoa Fujikora and Preformed Line Products are being tested for thermocycling, or high current situations, at ORNL. In Fargo, N.D., the conductor and its accessories are being tested for resistance in high winds and ice on a transmission line owned by Western Area Power Administration, while corrosion tests are being performed by Hawaii Electric Co. ORNL is monitoring the performance of the conductor at the Fargo site as well as other future utility sites.

In addition, the National Electric Energy Testing, Research and Applications Center in Atlanta is testing all of the components in their laboratories.

"As far as I know, there is not a conventional conductor that has been tested as thoroughly," said Tom Rizy of the Engineering Science and Technology Division.

Each test will run from five to six months. The researchers hope to put each conductor through 500 cycles of simulated thermocycling--taking it to peak load and then returning it to normal load-- the equivalent of 30 years of peak loads.

The Power Line Conductor Accelerated Testing or PCAT facility will be a closed loop of approximately 2,400 feet of composite core conductor. A 2MW direct current power supply fed by a transformer will provide current for the site. The Tennessee Valley Authority is helping to design the line structure at PCAT and install poles, hardware and other accessories at the test site.

"If the tests show that the new conductor performs well, it could mean that electric utilities will take greater interest in replacing their lines with new cables," Stovall said. "It also could provide one possible answer to the growing energy demand and transmission bottlenecks."

Others involved in the project from ORNL are Roger Kisner, Larry Phillips and Randall Wetherington of Engineering Science and Technology Division. The project is funded by the Department of Energy and through a cooperative research and development agreement with 3M. TVA donated the PCAT line design and the Electric Power Research Institute’s Power Electronics Applications Center, a local research and development company, donated the load equipment to test the refurbished power supply that came from UT-Tullahoma’s Space Institute.


ORNL is a Department of Energy multiprogram research facility managed by UT-Battelle.

Written by Jodi Lockaby

Ron Walli | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ornl.gov/news
http://www.ornl.gov/

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Fraunhofer Researchers Develop High-Pressure Sensors for Extreme Temperature
28.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zuverlässigkeit und Mikrointegration IZM

nachricht Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon
27.06.2017 | WayCon Positionsmesstechnik GmbH

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>