GridON’s unique Fault Current Limiter solution has been selected by the Energy Technologies Institute to be developed and tested in a £4m project aiming to reduce the impact of fault currents on electricity networks and helping the growth and increased flexibility of distribution systems while minimizing capital expenditure in upgrading the UK electrical networks.
Once the FCL is built by Wilson Transformer Co. and one of GridON’s shareholders and independently tested, it will be installed and demonstrated in service on the UK Power Networks (UKPN) substation in Newhaven, East Sussex. E.ON will provide network analysis and data management for the project.
Fault current levels are becoming a significant barrier to the installation of low-carbon and other generation facilities. Management of these fault levels is also a key enabler for the growth of smart distribution systems, offering improved operation, flexibility and efficiency.
ETI Chief Executive Dr David Clarke said: “Although we hear a lot about the importance of renewable energy sources to the UK’s future energy mix, the infrastructure that provides power and heat to people’s homes and businesses is also vital. This project will deliver a radical new approach for a fault current limiter which will be thoroughly demonstrated on a live substation. FCLs which are reliable and cost effective, would benefit distribution network operators, suppliers of distributed generation equipment as well as consumers who would experience more reliable electricity supply at a time when more energy is generated from renewable sources.”
GridON is an Israeli company whose novel, saturated core, 3-phase fault current limiter, is based on a standard transformer manufacturing technology. The device instantaneously turns itself into a very high impedance system upon current surges, and limits the current for as long as required to clear the fault. It recovers immediately thereafter and thus can protect from multiple faults occurring in quick succession. In addition to the device fault currents suppression ability, it facilitates current regulation and reactive power balancing.
The roots of GridON’s technology are in the research and development conducted for the past eight years by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers with grounding in electrical engineering, mathematics, magnetism and superconductivity from Bar-Ilan University and Ricor.