In a pioneering stride towards advancing energy management in electricity distribution, Gateshead based power electronics firm Turbo Power Systems (TPS), has successfully completed the installation of the first of its kind Smart Power Bridge (SPB) device as part of UK Power Networks’ ‘Active Response’ flagship project.
The objective is to release latent network capacity, improve network performance, support the uptake of Low Carbon Technologies (LCTs), and help UK Power Networks achieve their Net Zero ambition. Active Response solutions could save customers over £270 million in reinforcement costs by 2030.
With the ability to intelligently and dynamically balance power allocation on Medium Voltage networks, based on geographical demand, the SPB device heralds a new era of optimised energy utilisation. By dynamically balancing power distribution, it significantly increases the overall power capacity available to meet energy demand.
This energy management innovation has demonstrated an unprecedented 5 MVA (Mega-Volt-Ampere) of power transfer from one Medium Voltage Primary substation to another utilising power electronics in the form of the SPB device; itself being of only 1 MVA rating. Notably, this accomplishment breaks new ground in the field of power electronics as such an achievement had never been realised before. The successful implementation of this technology highlights its immense potential and efficiency, propelling it into the realm of industry breakthroughs.
Dr Nigel Jakeman, Engineering and Business Development Director at TPS commented,
“The installation of the SPB device marks a significant milestone for TPS, the Active Response project and the DNO community. By effectively balancing power based on geographical usage, we have achieved a remarkable reduction in the total power required for energy supply. This breakthrough not only showcases our commitment to optimising energy management but also highlights the unprecedented capabilities of power electronics. We are thrilled to be at the forefront of this exciting and efficient breakthrough, bringing us closer to a more sustainable and resourceful energy future.”
The Active Response project also explores utilising Silicon Carbide (SiC) power devices, having successfully unlocked the capacity of 400V and 11kV networks, allowing neighbouring feeders in the electrical grid to connect and transfer power more efficiently. The combination of high performance SiC devices and the unique, patented power electronic architecture enables a high efficiency solution with smaller serviceable footprint per MVA of power transfer capability, thus providing a more compact and powerful alternative to current state of the art, such as Modular Multi level Converters (MMC). This breakthrough allows for greater optimisation of power transmission and opens up new possibilities for energy network management. In addition, as the SPB operates at high frequencies above 20kHz, near silent operation results, this being a critical requirement for equipment deployed in sub stations within the sensitive urban environment.
The successful realisation and installation of the SPB device by TPS and UK Power Networks marks a significant milestone in the field of electricity distribution network energy management. With the ability to intelligently balance power allocation based on geographical usage, the SPB device revolutionises energy distribution and optimisation. By reducing the total power required for energy supply, TPS has demonstrated their commitment to sustainability and resource efficiency. This achievement, coupled with its unprecedented capabilities of power electronics, further positions TPS at the forefront of innovative energy solutions. As TPS continues to lead the way in advancing energy management technologies, we can anticipate a future where energy systems are smarter, more efficient, and better equipped to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving world.
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