Electrically-resistant cross arms for the National Grid.
When wind energy is generated offshore, the energy needs to transferred from the wind farm to the National Grid. With the significant growth of offshore wind energy, this means building new high voltage power lines and pylons around the country, at a significant cost and impact on the environment. To find an alternative approach, our founder, Gerry Boyce, worked with the University of Manchester and the National Grid on a major research project to design, develop, test and certify electrically-resistant cross arms which could be retrofitted onto existing pylons, as a way of upgrading the voltage and doubling the power in the transmission line.
The solution involved designing a cross arm that is both structural and electrically insulating, eliminating the need for an insulation string. The novel approach also enables the conductor wire to be raised and attached directly to the cross arm, resulting in a number of major benefits. Cross arms have now been installed in pilot lines in the Grid, and a spin-off company, Arago Technology Ltd, has been formed to hold the IP and commercialise the product.
The benefits of electrically-resistant cross arms include:
- Conductors can operate at higher temperatures and higher voltages, effectively doubling the power in the transmission line.
- Reduced outages due to conductor swing in high winds.
- Up to 30% reduction in tower size and footprint, for new build transmission lines.
Our areas of expertise
- Expertise and input.
- Material selection for high voltages and environmental durability.
- Product concept and design.
- Pultrusion and silicone moulding.
- Product structural testing and design of full size test rigs.
- Materials performance and test database.
- High voltage electrical testing at the University of Manchester HV lab.
- IP and patenting.
- Business planning and fundraising.