Distributed sensor technology set to benefit electrical network operators
26 June 2018
Pioneering light-speed tech innovation offers new levels of protection, monitoring and control for electrical network operators
A new distributed sensor technology called Refase™ dramatically reduces the cost and complexity of circuit protection for hybrids and multi-end feeders and improves remote fault response.
By leveraging the speed, bandwidth and range of the optical fiber already available in many modern networks, Refase™ can monitor up to 30 locations over a 60 km radius in one single system. And, with unique, passive sensors, Refase™ eliminates much of the traditional cost associated with installing CTs and relays; buildings, power supply, data networks, copper wiring and GPS satellite access are all avoided, resulting in significant cost savings.
In multi-ended feeders, Refase™ avoids many of the issues associate with distance protection and line differential protection; the need for power at a remote location, protection accuracy, plus the need for GPS synchronization, relays and communications at each end. In multiple-ended circuits, this becomes a significant cost saving.
Refase™ also reduces operating cost by automating the response to remote faults.
In hybrid or mixed circuits, Refase™ creates independent protected sections for undergrounded cables and overhead lines, permitting auto-reclose on transient, overhead faults and blocking reclose commands on underground faults to avoid costly damage and limit outage.
Philip Orr, MD of Synaptec said:
“Until now, no-one has been able to use optical fiber for real-time monitoring and control of electrical networks which, by their nature, are remote and inaccessible. Optical fiber is the gold standard for long range applications like this so using something that’s already paid for to remotely detect faults and automate the response offers significant capital and operating cost savings. Whilst the science behind it may sound complex, in reality the mechanism is simple both in terms of installation and operation. Refase™ sensors fit in the palm of your hand and require no power supply.”
With network operators undergrounding hundreds of kilometres of electrical power cables per year and dealing with increasing challenges of renewable generation connections in remote locations, the launch of Refase™ is a timely solution for reduced cost, higher range, and faster network awareness.
Philip Orr added:
“As the world’s energy demands increase and power systems become more complex in response, it’s technology like Refase™ that will facilitate the sustainable and resilient supply of power needed.”