Successfully Protecting Against Power Outages

Apr92015

Imagine a storm hitting an urban area, downing trees and power lines. A common result of such weather havoc is a current surge across the power grid that can cut off electricity to thousands of consumers and destroy valuable substation equipment. While nothing can stop weather or other disruptive events from causing some infrastructure damage, utilities can improve grid resilience by incorporating alternative techniques, such as a fault current limiter (FCL), to mitigate faults. FCL systems are designed to reduce the first peak of a fault current on a power line, thereby limiting the potentially destructive forces on the power system and improving transmission reliability. 

Central Hudson Gas and Electric selected Applied Materials’ superconducting fault current limiter (SCFCL) to help protect against devastating fault currents and improve the reliability of the electrical grid. In July 2014, Applied worked with Central Hudson and a team of other companies under a research and development program to install a SCFCL at the Knapps Corners substation in New York. Since then, I am happy to report that the system has performed to expectations, successfully limiting 15 potentially disruptive faults, avoiding infrastructure damage and power loss to the community. 

The SCFCL system has also demonstrated its resiliency. It has been in operation through the summer, fall and winter seasons, representing the longest continuous function of an in-grid SCFCL in North America.

In addition to demonstrating the benefits of SCFCL technology to the utility industry, the project with Central Hudson shows how Applied can uncover new market opportunities where our expertise in precision materials engineering adds value.

Check out Central Hudson’s press release on the success of the SCFCL implementation at the Knapps Corners substation.