Ameren extends R&D into fibre optics to monitor transformers

USA, Missouri: Missouri-based energy company Ameren is partnering with Missouri University of Science and Technology and Ontario-based energy start-up Hyperion Inc., to extend research and development into fibre optic cables that can detect temperature along power lines and within transformers.

Fiber optic cables are very thin and can be strung along high-voltage power lines and through transformers, enabling the utility to monitor the health and performance of its substation components and the entire smart grid, other reports ELP.

According to researchers Jie Huang and Rui Bo, assistant professors of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri, fibre cables improve the grid in several ways. They are lined with silica glass and not disrupted by the electromagnetic interference produced by large transformers, cites ELP.

The first step of the new collaboration is to deploy the technology onto a power transformer, and then across other assets. The new technology will enables the utility to receive information at any point along the cable, and provide immediate information on the health of a smart grid.

Source: Electric Light & Power (ELP)