Learn more about Synaptec’s projects across a range of applications in the power grids, renewables and industrial sectors. 

Digital substations

UK’s first digital substation with ScottishPower, UK

ScottishPower are a UK transmission system operator. Their FITNESS project demonstrated for the first time IEC 61850 interoperability within a digital substation with the goal of reducing copper use and overall substation size by 10%. The Synaptec system monitored one substation bay and demonstrated successful interoperability with ABB and GE relays.

Equipment installed: Synaptec Interrogator and Secondary Connected Module for Current | Communication protocol: IEC 61850 SV | Live since: 2018

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Centralised digital busbar protection with Statnett, Norway

Synaptec instrumented six bays of a HV substation to deliver a centralised and digitalised busbar protection scheme and provide new condition monitoring information in one system. This achieved several goals for Statnett, including demonstrating IEC 61850 interoperability, reducing scheduled outage times for protection hardware upgrades from weeks to days, eliminating need for merging units and copper wiring, and generating new digital twin data to automate future condition monitoring approaches.

Equipment installed: Synaptec Interrogator, Secondary Connected Module for Current and Photonic Temperature Sensor | Communication protocol: IEC 61850 SV | Live since: 2019

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Wide-area protection

Multi-ended circuit protection with SSE Transmission, UK

To facilitate new grid connections from renewable generation schemes in remote locations, and to overcome the limitations of distance protection in circuits with resulting multiple branches, SSE deployed Synaptec systems to instrument each branch discretely from a single end on a 275 kV circuit. This enables a wide area, and fully digital, unit protection scheme. By leveraging existing fibre networks present in the OPGW, significant civil works and telecommunications costs were avoided for substation upgrades, while proving IEC 61850 interoperability with three different relay manufacturers.

Equipment installed: Synaptec Interrogator and Photonic Current Transducers | Communication protocol: IEC 61850 SV | Live since: 2020

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Validating thermal capacity models for overhead power lines with RTE, France

RTE is France’s transmission system operator. Having established a national thermal capacity model for future dynamic rating of critical circuits, RTE requested Synaptec to retrofit passive sensors on HV phase conductors to validate the model. This is done by monitoring temperature, vibration, and line sag on a span with passive sensor requiring no power supply, batteries, maintenance or 4G telecoms infrastructure. Synaptec’s Synthesis™ software solution provides live visualisation of these mechanical parameters to which current data can be added to provide live ampacity from any location with minimal equipment footprint.

Equipment installed: Synaptec Interrogator, Synthesis™ and Overhead Line Sensor | Communication protocol: IEC 61850 SV | Live since: 2022

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Mixed Circuit Protection (MCP) with Tata Power, India

Tata Power is the largest power generation company in India. Synaptec installed a Mixed Circuit Protection system on a 110 kV mixed circuit (which contains both overhead lines and underground cables) to improve post-event protection response by permitting auto-reclose on transient overhead faults, while blocking auto-reclose for faults within cable sections. This scheme demonstrates how Synaptec can instrument up to five cable sections in series or parallel over unmatched distances from substations.

Equipment installed: Synaptec Interrogator, Photonic Current Transducer and Secondary Connected Module for Current | Communication protocol: IEC 61850 SV and IEC 61850 GOOSE | Live since: 2022

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Wide-area condition monitoring

Underground cable monitoring with Red Eléctrica de España, Spain

Red Eléctrica de España (REE), the transmission operator of Spain, undergrounded a 12 km section of a critical 400 kV feeder near the capital Madrid. Containing multiple joints, and terminations which account for 69% of power cable failures, REE required an automated, passive, low footprint but permanent monitoring solution. This is to provide early warning of more failure modes compared to manual inspection, DTS or PD monitoring, considered too expensive, too complex, or which offer insufficient time to avoid failure. This system monitors the relationship between load current, sheath current, and temperatures of inaccessible and remote joint bays using passive sensors connected only by optical fibre. Streaming IEC 61850 data generated by the sensor array is analysed by Synthesis™ to validate and compare with REE’s ATP models of the circuit behaviour.

Equipment installed: Synaptec Interrogator, Synthesis™, Secondary Connected Module for Voltage, Photonic Current Transducer and Photonic Temperature Transducer | Communication protocol: IEC 61850 SV | Live since: 2022

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Mixed Circuit Protection with RTE, France

Synaptec won a three-year framework contract with RTE to supply instrumentation systems to enhance protection of mixed circuits across France. Each Mixed Circuit Protection system typically consists of six sensors, primary or secondary connected, and an Interrogator to detect faults in underground cable sections and thereby permit or block auto-reclose in response over unprecedented distances, with future IEC 61850 compatibility built in.

Equipment installed: Synaptec Interrogator and Photonic Current Transducer | Communication protocol: IEC 61850 SV and IEC 61850 GOOSE | Live date: TBC 2023

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Monitoring storm damage to overhead power lines with Tata Power, India

Tata Power requested to trial Synaptec’s overhead line sensor technology for centralised sag and temperature monitoring of transmission lines already instrumented with Synaptec protection-class current sensors. The instrumentation system comprises a fully passive sag and temperature sensor package attached directly on the lowest phase conductor along the Kurla-Dharavi line, specifically at the BKC transition tower ashore the Mithi River. This enables Tata to visualise, characterise and locate any damage caused by increasingly frequent and violent storms, allowing dispatchers to respond more appropriately to transient faults and permanently damaged remote HV towers and conductors.

Equipment installed: Synaptec Interrogator, Synthesis™ server and Overhead Line Sensor | Communication protocol: IEC 61850 SV | Live since:2022

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Overhead line monitoring on rail networks with Deutsche Bahn

Deutsche Bahn (DB) are a German railway company. As part of DB’s mindbox innovation program, Synaptec distributed sensor technology was deployed to locate and characterise impacts on overhead power lines. This includes alarms for dangerously low conductor cables posing high ‘tear down’ risk from passing trains, and cookie loss. DB installed sensors in two locations to capture and distinguish types and magnitude of impacts, as well as location and direction of travel. Synthesis™ analytics were used to visualise data.

Equipment installed: Synaptec Interrogator, Synthesis™ server and Photonic Strain Transducer | Communication protocol: IEC 61850 | Live in: 2020

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Offshore wind

Retrofit array cable instrumentation with ORE Catapult, UK

Synaptec’s photonic current and temperature sensors were retrofitted on ORE Catapult’s grid-connected offshore wind demonstration platform in Levenmouth, Scotland. This successfully demonstrated Synaptec’s unique ability to retrofit monitoring systems quickly, stream real-time operational control data from remote locations to optimise availability, and reduce outage costs by earlier warning of more failure modes overlooked by conventional monitoring.

Equipment installed: Synaptec Interrogator, Photonic Current Transducer and Photonic Temperature Transducer | Communication protocol: IEC 61850 SV | Live since: 2019

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Export cable condition monitoring with Vattenfall, UK

Retrofitting both export cables of Vattenfall’s Aberdeen Bay windfarm provide synchronous and permanent Power Quality measurement, and cable termination monitoring using the latest digital communication protocols. The ability to correlate electrical and mechanical information in one real-time system enables Vattenfall to identify far earlier the electrical stresses which accelerate cable insulation failure by comparing harmonic content and termination temperature over time, whilst avoiding expensive cable failures.

Equipment installed: Synaptec Interrogator, Synthesis™, Photonic Current Transducer and Photonic Temperature Transducer | Communication protocol: IEC 61850 SV | Live since: 2021

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Dogger Bank offshore windfarm, UK

Dogger Bank is set to be the world’s largest offshore wind farm located more than 130 km off the northeast coast of England, featuring 112 individual 33 kV array cables connecting the largest wind turbine generators to be deployed at sea in history. Synaptec instrumented phases A and B, permanently and synchronously monitoring every individual array cable and all their terminations to provide early warning of thermal failure at over 600 locations. This complements the DTS system installed on all 16 strings, which overlooks the terminations, where historically failures occur twice as often. Data from both systems is combined into one dashboard view of the cable system.

Equipment installed: Synaptec Interrogator, Synthesis™ server and Photonic Temperature Transducer | Platform: Synthesis™ and Proserv ECG™ | Live date: TBC 2023

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