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System That Predicts Powerline Faults To Be Rolled-Out

Early Fault Detection (EFD) System
Photo Credit: RMIT University

A multi-award winning system, which was designed by Australia’s RMIT University, predicts powerline faults before they can cause blackouts or bushfires is being scaled up for commercial release.

According to a recent press release, the predictive Early Fault Detection (EFD) system designed is being hailed as a game-changer for electricity network management.

Melbourne-based IND Technology will now scale up the system following impressive results at early sites in Australia.

The company signed a commercialisation agreement with the University to deliver it more broadly.

Associate Professor Alan Wong led the development of the technology at RMIT University and is now CEO of the company.

About the Early Fault Detection (EFD) System

  • The system would enable more proactive and cost-effective management of electricity network assets.
  • The technology is successful in identifying the faults that are about to happen through deterioration before they even happen.
  • This function solves the problem of reactive network maintenance once damage is already done.
  • The system is unlike anything else in the market due to its patented sensing method and data processing algorithm.
  • It can even identify the precise location of expected faults down to a 10-meter section of a powerline stretching many kilometres.
  • This level of performance means electrical asset inspection every few years will soon be a thing of the past.

Benefits of Early Fault Detection (EFD) System

With the EFD system, the network owners can now monitor every network asset, every second, 24/7 including during extreme weather when asset failures are likely to first appear.

With an excellent return on investment for the cost of roll-out, the system is already generating large amounts of interest locally and internationally.

The University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Calum Drummond shared that the agreement reinforced RMIT’s role in delivering high impact solutions through research.

The clear benefit of this technology to communities around the world in terms of public safety and continuity of supply of an essential service is the ideal target outcome for RMIT research.

Under the agreement, RMIT University will retain the rights to use the technology for research and teaching purposes.

Other Initiatives

Energy technologies are important, particularly since households and businesses rely on having electricity, power and energy.

Researchers and industry partners have been raving about UNSW’s Real Time Digital Simulation (RTS) Laboratory, which has the largest real-time simulator in Australia.

OpenGov Asia reported that the Lab offers extremely powerful equipment that enables the digital simulation of power electronics and power systems in real-time.

A benefit gained from using the Lab was being able to simulate very complex network scenarios and interact with protection devices in real-time.

Companies or organisation that might be interested in the capabilities of the Lab include utility companies, transmission system operators, distribution system operators, and developers of renewable energy projects.

The Lab has extended simulation capabilities in the areas of:

  1. High-voltage DC networks
  2. Power system protection testing
  3. Smart grids
  4. Microgrids
  5. Renewable energy systems
  6. Distributed generation
  7. Power electronics
  8. Control system testing
  9. Hardware-in-the-loop testing

The general public in Wellington, New Zealand will be able to check if a street light in the city has been reported and is being dealt with via a new feature, which was recently piloted as part of the FIXiT App.

A link from the app takes users to a web page featuring an interactive map that shows each light outage, which are highlighted in red.

This new functionality helps customers as they can now see whether an outage has been reported and when it is due to be fixed.

The outage map will show everyone that an outage has been identified and that a solution is being progressed.


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