New system identifies troubled power grids
With a patented new system, SmartKable Powerline Solutions has developed a way to identify troubled power grids and predict the remaining lifetime for power lines. The system also makes green energy more reliable and more efficient.
SmartKable was started in 2018 by Doug Hirsh. With a background in artificial intelligence technology with the US Air Force, he generated a cost-effective approach to identify challenges faced by electric distribution and renewable energy companies.
“Many of the problems faced in the utility industry are due to incorrect data or lack of data,” says Jon Parry, director of operations at SmartKable. “Power is often lost on grids that are aging past their designed lifetime. Basically, we’re providing smart data to the utility industry at a low cost.”
The Line Ranger is a proprietary sensor developed by SmartKable to address the increasing demand for accurate and real-time data in the utility industry. The football-sized device measures line voltage and current. Each sensor is built from low-cost components and allows communication through a wireless network with higher accuracy than competitive sensor technologies. It can identify, track and trace losses in substations and predict the remaining lifetime of powerlines. The system is the first to be able to monitor the conditions directly on and around the lines, including fast-changing wind speed, abnormal current and voltage loading, shorts and faults.
SmartKable systems also include the Line Analyzer software, which collects, analyzes and reports the real-time data provided by Line Ranger sensors. It includes a straightforward interface, historical charting and custom configuration options for utility operators and independent power producers.
Surmotech out of Victor, is currently manufacturing all the circuit boards for this product.
The first step in this process is identifying inefficient equipment.
“The truth is you can have a 60-year-old transformer that works fine,” Parry says. “You might have one that’s 10 years old that has bad equipment and has the highest inefficiency rate. Utilities really don’t know that information right now.”
He adds: “If there is a power outage, we can tell you what caused it and why it happened. If equipment is degrading, we can let you know.”
With installations in New York State, India, Australia and the Caribbean, SmartKable is well positioned for future growth.
“We’re out there to help companies make better decisions,” Parry says. “Our goal is to help them increase the lifetime of the equipment and make any renewable energy source more efficient.”
For more information, visit SmartKable.