The Advancements in Insulator Technology: A Breakthrough in Power Line Management

Power outages caused by flashovers of high-voltage insulators have long plagued the power industry in Russia. These flashovers are a result of surface contamination and reduced flashover characteristics of the insulators, leading to not only failures but also significant costs for emergency repair works. However, Associate Professor Dmitry Titov and Research Engineer Klim Volkhov from the Energy Center have recently published laboratory results showcasing a promising solution to this persistent issue. Their research, part of a larger project focusing on risk-oriented management of insulation, presents an advanced technology that aims to revolutionize power line management and significantly reduce maintenance costs.

One of the primary challenges faced by power companies is determining the state of their insulators and the level of contamination. Currently, insulators are either replaced after their designated operational lifespan or based on subjective assessments from power company employees. This lack of accurate assessment methods not only increases maintenance costs but also poses a risk to the reliability and stability of the power grid. To address this issue, Titov and Volkhov developed a hardware and software platform with sensors and data processing tools that provide a more objective assessment process.

The researchers began by creating a mathematical tool to assess the state of insulation before moving on to the development of sensors. Their study involved experiments conducted in laboratory settings as well as real-world power grid facilities. The laboratory experiments utilized high-voltage equipment to simulate various operational processes of power lines. Portable oscilloscopes were employed to model different states of insulators and identify their characteristics under different conditions such as contamination and moisture. These experiments provided valuable data for analysis.

In addition to laboratory testing, field measurements were collected from various power grid facilities, including the Dagestan Republic, Volgograd, Tula regions, and Moscow. This data, combined with the oscillogram analysis performed by the researchers, allowed them to identify the 20 most significant parameters for model development. From these parameters, they selected those that best reflected the state of insulators, which laid the foundation for the development and application of sensors capable of measuring these crucial parameters.

The hardware and software platform developed by Titov and Volkhov proved successful in assessing the state of insulation in power grid regions. Through several stages of field testing, the technology was refined and improved, with the goal of assessing the entire insulation system of a power grid region rather than individual insulators. This holistic approach adds significant value to the technology and sets it apart from similar products currently available in the market.

The success of this innovative solution was recognized when Titov and Volkhov were among the winners of the prestigious “Energoproriyv (Energy Breakthrough)” competition, which celebrated the best smart energy solutions. As a result, the project has become part of the research and development program at the Rosseti Moscow power company. The continued collaboration between the researchers and the power company holds promising implications for the future. It is anticipated that the company will be able to implement this technology without any restrictions, further enhancing the efficiency and reliability of their power grid.

The advancements in insulator technology presented by Titov and Volkhov represent a revolutionary breakthrough in power line management. By accurately assessing the state of insulators and effectively managing their maintenance, power companies can significantly reduce power outages caused by flashovers. This technology has the potential to save power companies substantial costs in emergency repairs while ensuring a reliable and stable power supply for consumers.

Furthermore, the successful commercialization experience of this product sets it apart from other similar solutions available worldwide. The dedication and expertise of Titov and Volkhov have resulted in a technology that not only addresses the pressing issue of insulator flashovers but also demonstrates its potential for widespread implementation in the power industry. As this technology continues to evolve, it holds tremendous promise for enhancing power grid management not only in Russia but across the globe. The future of power line management is here, and it is brighter than ever.


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