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£1m Innovate UK grant for revolutionary low-loss cable

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A revolutionary cable which reduces the amount of wasted electrical power will be tested and developed further, thanks to £1 million from Innovate UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund for its developers: British energy microbusiness Enertechnos, together with Brunel University London and partners.

The UK currently has one of the highest electrical power loss rates in the developed world. In 2015, power lost in the transmission and distribution systems totalled 27,458 GWh: enough to power nearly 7 million homes, and wasting £1.3 billion.

A reduction in losses would reduce the overall energy consumed, lowering the cost of financing new generation capacity and helping to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions.

Reducing voltage drop 

Enertechnos’s Capacitive Transfer System (CTS) can significantly improve efficiency during electricity transmission, reducing losses.

CTS uses an innovative design which can provide sufficient capacitance to overcome the effects of inductive reactance in the cable, and reduce voltage drop. The technology delivers a cost-effective solution to replacing existing cabling and deploying new infrastructure.

Innovate UK’s grant will enable Enertechnos to work with Brunel to create a software simulation programme which will test CTS on a simulated grid network. This activity will be led by Dr Mohamed Darwish, of Brunel’s Institute of Energy Futures (Smart Power Networks theme) and the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering.

Other partners Eland Cables and TWI will, respectively, build the cable for the test and develop the jointing techniques needed for CTS to be used in the UK and worldwide, allowing a seamless progression from existing cable technology.

Major reduction in power losses

Dominic Quennell, Chief Executive of Enertechnos, welcomed the funding grant: “This significant funding boost from Innovate UK will assist Enertechnos in continuing to develop our revolutionary Capacitive Transfer System.

“Working with our partners, Brunel University London, Eland Cables and TWI, we can deliver more electricity to where it is needed, reduce waste and help bring down energy costs.

“Our cable re-imagines the way that power is transmitted and distributed from the point of generation to the point of consumption.

"By reducing losses accrued over distance, our cable technology will be more cost-effective and will help revolutionise the energy network system.”

Professor Gareth Taylor, Director of the Brunel Institute of Power Systems and theme leader for Smart Power Networks, added: “Our power systems research group has an internationally established track record of industry-focused research with regard to generating, transmitting and distributing greener electrical power.

“This industrially collaborative project will provide a major step in moving towards a major reduction in electrical power losses at a system level, and thereby further minimising CO2 emissions.”

Enertechnos is currently working to build prototype equipment that will test the cable using a 10-KHz power supply unit.

The high-frequency test will allow Enertechnos to demonstrate the cable’s efficiency across large distances, measuring the value it can bring to the energy network as infrastructure is replaced and upgraded.

Reported by:

Joe Buchanunn, Media Relations
joe.buchanunn@brunel.ac.uk