Atmospheric icing on lines and transmission towers is a serious risk for safe operation of electrical transmission network. Icing on overheaad lines and transmission tower affects their design features and integrity. Consequently, cables and transmission towers have been damaged on numerous occasions. Icing also leads to a corona discharge and flashovers. Both causes distortion of electric field and decreases onset voltage, leading to power losses and breakdowns. Icing also creates operational inconveniences. The repair costs up to 50% to 150% of construction costs. Statnett has experienced one ice induced collapse/year in the last 10 years, at the cost of approx. 20 MNOK/year, in terms of lost revenue of non-delivered energy only .
The problems caused by atmospheric ice on structures are mainly related to its adhesion to material and its bulk strength characteristics. Methods for anti-icing and deicing can be divided into four categories: i). Passive methods, ii). Active coatings and devices, iii). Mechanical methods, iv.). Thermal methods. Weights are used to increase the torsional stiffness of the conductors and are only slightly effective against snow and light ice, but they also increase the risk of galloping of the conductor. Similarly, rings and spiral rods are used to reduce wet snow accumulation to some extent, while replacing simplex conductors with duplex conductors is another option. The use of robots for ice removal can be a good strategy, but present technology can only be used on simplex conductors. These robots are brought on close to power lines by helicopters or boom of trucks and are therefore difficult to use in harsh weather conditions and remote installations. Statnett uses mechanical methods such as ‘striking pole’ from helicopters for ice removal, which is a risky countermeasure. Preventive measures such as external heating, current redistribution and heating by high frequency are relatively efficient and economical than other methods. The only problem with preventive heating method is the difficulty in identifying efficient network topologies for deicing without compromising system security. More than thirty different anti-icing and de-icing techniques have been explored but only 19% were found effective.
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In 2020, we received market clarification grant from Innovation Norway. Using that grant we established collaboration with NANIZE AS, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Abalonyx AS, NTNU Nanomechanical Lab, and Quantum Design GmbH Germany.
In 2020 we have received pre-qualification project funding from Regionale forskningsfond (RFF). Using that grant we have done proof-of-concept testing of our first coating. Our partners in pre-qualification project were NANIZE AS and UiT The Arctic University of Norway.
We are now working on the applications to participate in EU Horizon Calls, and RCN open calls for Industries. Our project partners in these applications are Abalonyx AS, NTNU, and UiT.
The project fits with the following UN sustainability development goals (SDGs):
SDG 13- ‘climate action’ because the large-scale utilization of renewable energy sources is partly and significantly dependent on a reliable power grid. Our solution will reduce atmospheric icing risk on overhead lines, reduce downtime or chance of downtime, improve durability of existing coating by at least 10 years, reduce risk of powerline collapse under weight of ice, and help to reduce power line maintenance cost.
SDG 9: ‘industry, innovation and infrastructure’, because we aim to increase the efficiency of energy systems by using new materials and new technologies. The project will lead to develop new industry business. Once the solution is qualified by the end users we foresee establishing a production line in Norway, including quality control process, marketing, business developers and building a network of suppliers.