ABB Australia wins High Commendation for fibre optic current transducer
Sydney Australia, 29 November - ABB Australia, part of the global power and automation technology company, announced today that the fibre optic current transducer (FOCT) it has been co-developing with the Australian Photonics Cooperative Research Centre in Sydney has won a prestigious High Commendation in the Innovation and Inventions category at the 2001 Engineering Excellence Awards of the Institution of Engineers, Australia.
The FOCT development won the award against 15 other contenders, all of them large-scale institutional entrants. It also won an Excellence Award from the Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers��� Association (AEEMA) in the Environmental Products category in 2000.
The FOCT is the result of a development project led by ABB in co-operation with TransGrid, the NSW high voltage electricity network owner and Australia���s largest electricity network service provider, and the Australian Photonics Cooperative Research Centre based at the Australian Technology Park in Sydney.
The transducer is a novel optical fibre and digital processing system that measures changes in the phase-shift of a light source caused by the magnetic field produced by the electrical current in high voltage networks. The system then analyses light from the sensor to measure the magnetic field and hence the current in the high voltage circuit. The configuration of the sensor coil minimises the interfering environmental effects of temperature and vibration.
The wide dynamic range of the FOCT makes it the first system of its kind to offer a practical solution for driving protection, control and metering devices from a single transducer. In addition, because its performance is not limited by the geometry of the coil, it is suitable for a wide range of high voltage applications.
Its accuracy, bandwidth, dynamic range and environmental performance are equivalent, and in some areas, superior to conventional current transformer technology, and well able to meet the demands of new electricity markets. At the same time, it is compact, light and therefore has potential to be easily integrated with other high-voltage equipment.
Its benefits also include reduced use of resources such as steel support structures, concrete foundations, copper cabling and insulation; reduced generation of environmentally sensitive waste products; improved isolation of secondary systems in substations, and lower transport and installation costs.
The FOCT is the result of seven years��� co-operative research through the CRC. Key members of the team included Margareta Bjarme, who was seconded from ABB in Sweden to project manage the research; Dr Ian Bassett from the University of Sydney (CRC); Tony Lee, project coordinator from ABB Australia, and John Hoore and Steve Jones from TransGrid.
Having passed performance tests in laboratory and field trials a pre-commercial version of the FOCT has been installed at a TransGrid substation since July 2001 and is recording excellent results.
Douglas Pitt, Senior Vice-President, Utilities Division, ABB Australia, said: "The project demonstrates the ability of ABB researchers and engineers to co-operate across institutional, company and global boundaries to produce world-leading technology wherever they may be."
ABB (www.abb.com) is a global leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering their environmental impact. ABB has 160,000 employees in more than 100 countries.