Publication: Superconducting Fault Current Limiter

Recently we got published an article on short circuit current limiting on Elevier’s Electric Power Systems Research, were I’m a co-author;

Cover image Electric Power Systems Research

“Performance analysis of a Superconducting Fault Current Limiter in a power distribution substation”, Volume 136, July 2016, Pages 89–99

Antonio Colmenar-Santos, , J.M. Pecharromán-Lázaro, Carlos de Palacio Rodríguez, Eduardo Collado-Fernández

The results of the research and pilot project for this technology are promising. The short circuit current limiting with a superconducting system (SFCL-Superconducting Fault Current Limiter) is an example of FACTS (Flexible AC Transmission System) for the Smart Grid. It allows a real-time response, that is an automatic reaction, reducing short circuit currents, thus avoiding damage to equipment. This enables a more meshed operation while the energy losses are kept low.

The paper presents the operational benefits and performance of an installed system in a distribution network. These benefits are translated into economic terms, with the goal of setting a target price for economic feasibility of such systems. While the difference between the economic target of 100 k€ and the cost of the real project is tenfold, it remains a trigger for market adoption. Moreover, it is likely that economies of scale and technology improvements drive the implementation cost down in the coming years.

The consequence of widespread use of SFCL would be more reliable and resilient distribution networks. We will see more of this coming, in the near future.

The complete article is available for some days on the link:

Smart Grid Reliability! …or Efficiency?

One of the main benefits of the Smart Grid is increased reliability. Investing in Smart Grid technologies that improve reliability may have a good benefit-to-cost ratio or not, it will depend on the value of the improvement and the avoided outage or interruption costs. Examples of such technologies are; automatic outage restoration systems, Wide Area Monitoring, energy storage at distribution level, geographic information maintenance systems, advanced protection systems, etc.

The cost to improve reliability follows an somewhat exponential curve, as having a 100% reliable system is close to impossible, the cost is close to infinite. This leads to an asymptotic curve towards the end. Something like this:

Sigue leyendo

Outage tweetin’

The ways of twitter are inscrutable… Every day new uses or new ways of extracting relevant info are invented. It’s more a kind of a “growing multi-limb mutant” than a bird.

An application I find quite interesting is using it for outage management. A DMS (Distribution Management System) monitoring user’s smart meters with outage monitoring can cost hundreds of thousands of euros for a distribution utility. The monitoring of medium voltage switchgear in a scada to locate disconnected transformer is also a costly investment.

A quick and cost-effective application using twitter can represent geografically the tweets complaining on #outage or #blackout.

Blackout tweet

This tweet-map on top of the grid diagram of the utility helps locate and isolate the faults and help fast restoration, and the implementation cost is very limited. Additionally, responding to the affected customers via twitter with real time info and restoring updates enhances even more the customer service, so the return on quality is potentially huge.

It’s a smart grid application brought directly by web 2.0 to grid 2.0.