SuperGrid Institute hosts
the 11th Quarterly review of NanocompEIM 2
Since October 2016, SuperGrid Institute has been involved in the NanocompEIM 2 project. The goal of the project is to develop nanocomposites (Nanocomp) for electrical insulation materials (EIM) in order to reduce CO2 emissions and improve system reliability and availability. Financed at 50% by Innovate UK, a government organisation dedicated to research and innovation in the United Kingdom, the overall budget of the project is around 1M£ (1.1M€). SuperGrid Institute hosted the 11th Quarterly review of NanocompEIM 2 the 17th of July in its headquarters.
The NanocompEIM 2 project’s technical direction is led by Gnosys, a UK-based multidisciplinary company that carries out advanced materials development and assessment. GE Grid Solutions Ltd, a branch of General Electric based in Stafford (UK), is acting as the project manager and the University of Southampton is contributing to the project through the use of its high voltage laboratory and expertise.
GE Grid Solutions Ltd asked SuperGrid Institute to lead 2 of the 6 work packages (WP) that make up this project on their behalf which is testament to the confidence that our industrial partner has in our team of materials experts. The SuperGrid Institute High Voltage Substation Equipment team worked closely with General Electric to develop the full scope of the project from late 2015 to early 2016.
SuperGrid Institute is involved in work packages 3 and 4. WP3 focuses on the design and characterisation of test rigs for insulating spacers (170kV) within small Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS). To this end, SuperGrid Institute has developed three test rigs:
- A mechanical pressure test rig for 170kV spacers
- A DC ageing test rig for 170kV spacers.
- An electrical erosion test rig which employed 3mm-thick sheets of materials to evaluate the resistance of dielectrics to corona effects.
Caption: SuperGrid Institute Erosion test rig developed for NanocompEIM 2
Caption 12: spacers ageing test rig equipped with arc detectors
SuperGrid Institute was assigned another critical task within this work package: casting nano/microcomposites spacers using the Automatic Pressure Gelation (APG) industrial process. This task is crucial for the overall success of the project as the work carried out in work package 4 depends entirely upon the results of the APG process.
WP4 focuses on the characterisation of insulating spacers and draws on the results of the work carried out in WP3. The samples used by WP4 are spacers made with APG and the characterisation platforms used to test them are the test rigs developed by SuperGrid Institute. The most important element of WP4 is a set of 3 ageing campaigns which aim to evaluate the benefits of nanofillers for dielectrics. The first campaign took place between February and April 2019, the second is ongoing and is due to finish in August and the third will start shortly afterwards.
The consolidated data from WP4 will represent one of the most important deliverables of the NanocompEIM 2 project to date as it will outline the whether or not nanocomposites may be a solution for the improvement of High Voltage electrical insulation for the supergrid.
As is often the case with projects of this nature, progress reviews are scheduled quarterly. The most recent review took place at SuperGrid Institute, giving the various project participants the opportunity to visit our facilities and to inspect the equipment that was created specifically for the project.
The participants were very pleased with SuperGrid Institute’s investment in the NanocompEIM 2 project and were also very impressed by the institute’s other platforms and capabilities.