42 Technology develops breakthrough monitoring system for UK’s smart power grid

42 Technology has developed an innovative low-cost ‘designed for installation’ system to make it easier for Distribution Network Operating companies (DNOs) to continuously monitor secondary electrical distribution substations and to help reduce asset maintenance costs, prevent outages and to boost operational efficiencies.

The FuseOhm maximum demand logger offers accurate real-time measurement and recording of key parameters – such as current, voltage and phase angle – combined with fast and easy installation to enable a significant reduction in installation costs.

FuseOhm is unique in using self-powered ‘plug and play’ adaptors that slot into existing fuseways in a few seconds [as shown above] so that a complete monitoring system can be fully installed and operating within a typical substation comprising a dozen or so fuses within minutes.  Whereas most commercially-available monitoring equipment would take two man-hours or more to install, and require careful cable installation, a central control unit and a power connection.

The University of Strathclyde’s Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC), based in Glasgow has recently completed a comprehensive independent test programme on pre-production prototypes which showed FuseOhm was completely robust to fault conditions and remained accurate over many tests, temperatures and environmental conditions.  42 Technology is now actively looking for commercial partners to help bring the new system to market.

“FuseOhm has been specifically designed to help DNOs overcome the cost and installation challenges they face with existing monitoring systems and to give them an easier, faster and lower cost way of monitoring their entire network.  42 Technology has used its in-house skills and experience in system and user-centric product design to come up with a more innovative and practical approach and has worked closely with several DNOs during the development phase to ensure FuseOhm fits their needs,” said Jeremy Carey, managing director of 42 Technology.

FuseOhm is based on 42 Technology’s innovative Triple Ohm technology: a low-cost approach for three-phase metering applications that offers very high isolation voltages, high data sampling frequencies and can be easily linked to wired or wireless communications networks for remote monitoring applications.  The new system is now ready for more extensive industrial trials, although some work will be needed to finalise the data-connectivity features to meet specific DNO requirements or network configurations.

42 Technology has received two grants from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to support the development of FuseOhm: a Phase One award which was announced in November 2016 to help fund the consultancy’s initial work on developing the business case; then a second grant within six months to enable further system development, field trials and commercialisation.

FuseOhm has been specifically developed to offer cost and performance advantages over existing monitoring technologies and to provide a system that DNOs can use to monitor all their substations at acceptable cost.  Widespread monitoring of substation performance would allow network operators to run more assets close to capacity, in other words more cost-effectively, while at the same time helping them to determine the ideal time to upgrade equipment, replace or add in new capacity.

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