Transelec, a Chilean electricity transmission company, is collaborating with Canadian startup Zero Sound to implement a noise-canceling technology in electric substations. This initiative, part of Transelec Ventures’ open innovation program, aims to mitigate noise pollution and is already operational at the Ancoa substation in the Maule region. Plans are in place to extend this technology to the Alto Jauel and Cerro Navia substations this year, and to the Entre Ríos substation in the Ñuble region by 2025.
The project responds to charges filed by the Superintendencia del Medio Ambiente in 2020 against Ancoa operators for excessive noise, following community complaints. Transelec initially implemented conventional measures like acoustic barriers but sought to improve upon these with the new system.
Alejandro Rehbein, Transelec’s vice president of Innovation and Technology, highlighted the solution’s efficiency, noting it prevented the need for a 15-meter wall and saved about US$3 million. The system uses 60cm x 60cm panels, positioned 30 meters from substation equipment, to achieve the same noise reduction as a 400 square meter physical barrier.
Zero Sound was a winner of the “Cero Ruido” 2022 initiative and its technology, after successful pilots, became the first to be implemented under the open innovation program. Transelec Ventures has conducted three calls for innovations, with the first two completed and 12 pilots carried out, and the third currently selecting startups.
Rehbein mentioned that five of the six pilots from the first contest would be scaled up within the company. These include a nanotechnology coating for glass and ceramics, dynamic line capacity calculation models without hardware, high-tension transformer sensors, and passive noise cancellation panels.
By 2025, Transelec plans to scale projects that have progressed to the pilot phase and conduct one or two more innovation calls. Regarding the venture client model, Rehbein disclosed that they are considering entering Zero Sound’s ownership, affirming the operational scaling decision for the solution.