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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P030343/1
Title: High Voltage Test Systems For Electricity Network Research
Principal Investigator: Fagan, Professor C
Other Investigators:
Freer, Professor R Cotton, Professor I Rowland, Professor SM
Liu, Dr Q Dupere, Dr IDJ Smith, Professor S
Wang, Professor Z Kopsidas, Dr K
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
National Grid
Department: Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 April 2017 Ends: 31 March 2018 Value (£): 1,856,635
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Processing
Sustainable Energy Networks
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
18 Jan 2017 Underpinning multi-user equipment Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The UK needs to reduce the amount of fossil fuels it uses for heating / transport to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere. Replacing fossil fuels will only be possible through the use of more electricity generated from low carbon sources (nuclear, wind, solar and marine). Estimates suggest the electricity transmission system may need to carry a peak power four times higher than is carried today. The power that flows through the transmission system will also become more intermittent as wind and solar power is dependent on variable weather conditions. We therefore need to develop a new generation of equipment that can be used to carry electricity from generator to customer. This equipment needs to be cost-effective and have a minimal impact on the environment (whether this be measured in terms of visual impact, noise, ability to recycle at end of life or a whole range of other factors).

The advances in disciplines such as material science mean there are many exciting opportunities to examine new ways to manufacture and operate transformers, overhead lines, cables and circuit breakers that will be used on the electrical transmission system. We need to have facilities that are capable of translating underpinning science at the scale of full size transmission system equipment. We need to ensure we can test objects measuring some metres in length with a maximum weight of thousands of kilograms. We need to apply over 400,000 volts continuously to this equipment and at times up to 1.6 million volts to simulate the impact of lightning. We can only do that using a specialist facility that includes a large space into which we can place equipment and the high voltage test sets. The test supplies must be capable of testing equipment when we spray water onto surfaces in a way that represents rainfall. It must operate 'quietly' and allow us to measure extremely small electromagnetic signals associated with failures in insulation systems.

Delivering this test facility will ensure we can help the efforts to decarbonise the UK energy system. The facility will allow the UK academic community to play a leading role in the global research community that is developing new insulation systems and the next generation of transmission system equipment. Working with the new full-size substation being developed by National Grid to test equipment for prolonged periods, we will attract industry to the UK and will support the efforts of smaller companies to convert their ideas into reality. Through the facility we will train the next generation of engineers who will support the efforts to develop a low carbon electricity system that is reliable and provides low cost energy to customers for many years to come.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk