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Konstantin Papailiou: The Father of Overhead Lines

Konstantin Papailiou considers the worldwide “overhead lines society” to be like a big family. If that is the case, Papailiou would be the father. He is chairman of the CIGRE Study Committee “Overhead Lines” (SC B2) and says that CIGRE plays an important role in bringing people together.

Papailiou has spent his entire career (almost 40 years) in overhead lines and considers himself fortunate. “Overhead lines are not only technically very, very interesting, but also the project management of OHL projects is demanding,” he said.

The demand for and nature of overhead line projects is what gave Papailiou and CIGRE the idea to create a reference book series on the subject. The idea for the Green Book was first presented to the CIGRE Technical Committee four years ago, and the decision to make the series available for the 2014 Paris session was presented last summer.

“I still can’t believe we made it,” Papailiou said.

In recent years Papailiou had co-authored a book on silicone composite insulators with colleague Dr. Frank Schmuck (published by Springer). He said the process was a strenuous but very satisfying experience.

“Because of that, I thought that there would be demand for a reference book covering the complete field of overhead lines, mainly based on the pioneering work of CIGRE,” Papailiou said. “In particular these days, there is big demand for overhead lines and a big discussion on the pros and cons of OHL, because of the megatrend in renewable energy sources.”

So at this year’s CIGRE, held in Paris on Aug. 24-29, the first two Green Books, one on “Overhead Lines” and the other on “Accessories of Extruded HV Cables,” were available for purchase. The Green Books can also now be purchased via the CIGRE web site. The Green Book Series is for practicing engineers in power utilities, as well as researchers, consultants and equipment manufacturers.

“The books may also help newcomers, but with sound engineering education,” Papailiou said.

CIGRE is seriously committed to supporting young members, but newcomers in this field are always welcome, according to Papailiou. “Of course no book can replace experience, but it can make the ‘entrance’ easier. And overhead line people are cool and always ready to help,” he said.

Papailiou was pleased with the process of producing the Green Books. He said he had the full support of many friends working in the field, all active in the Cigré Overhead Lines Study Committee.

“It was almost moving to see how all the authors, more than 30, despite their daily workload, managed to put together such an excellent book. It has been great teamwork,” he said.

Now other Study Committees have followed suit and are working on their own Green Books, notably SC B3 “Substations,” SC A1 “High Voltage Equipment,” SC B5 “Protection and Automation,” SC C6 “Distribution Systems and Dispersed Generation” and SC D2 “Information Systems and Telecommunication.” Also, SC B1 “Insulated Cables” will continue with Green Books, covering other aspects of underground cables.

Papailiou has been a leader his entire career, always working hard for the next goal. He studied electrical engineering at the Braunschweig University of Technology and civil engineering at the University of Stuttgart. Then he received his doctorate degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich and his post-doctoral qualification as lecturer (Dr.-Ing. habil.) from the Technical University of Dresden. Until his retirement at the end of 2011, he was CEO of the Pfisterer Group in Winterbach (Germany), a company he served for more than 25 years. He has held various honorary positions in technical bodies and standard associations.

He is also active in power engineering education, teaching Master’s level courses on high-voltage transmission lines at the University of Stuttgart and the Technical University of Dresden.

Papailiou is married and has two grown children and also finds time to collect old travel books on Greece. He also enjoys hiking, opera and good food.

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