May 2015
Electricity Transmission
Distributed Photonic Grid Instrumentation
May 2015
May 2016
SP Energy Networks, SP Transmission and Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission
James Yu (Future Networks Manager)
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Network Innovation Allowance
The project will be conducted over a 9-month period and will focus on the development of photonic sensors that will demonstrate the potential for faster, safer, more accurate and less expensive instrumentation for monitoring, control and protection. An initial 4.5- month phase will focus on the design and simulation of voltage and current sensors using optical fibre. The second 4.5-month phase will focus on construction of the sensors and basic testing to ensure compliance with key elements of the relevant IEC standards.

Following this project consideration will be given to subsequent field trials where the technology would be retrofitted to the secondaries of existing instrument transformers at 132 or 275 kV. By retrofitting to existing CTs/VTs in a follow-on field trial, the distributed measurement capability and resulting minimisation of communications networks, enhanced speed of operation, and improved fault location will be demonstrated with a minimum of disruption.

Phase 1 – Sensor System Design Programme – 4.5 months:

This phase will involve the design and simulation, and production of a bill of materials, of the prototype optical sensors.
This work will be in accordance with the sensor specifications detailed by IEC standards and in line with the expectations of the
project’s stakeholders.

Synaptec will liaise with manufacturers of piezoelectric elements – a crucial component in the design of the sensors – in order to
rigorously evaluate which materials exhibit an optimum balance between responsiveness and robustness to fluctuating outdoor
environmental conditions.

The design and simulation activity will ensure that assembled transducers shall be packaged and insulated appropriately for conditions
in the target environment.

Phase 1 Deliverables

D1.1 Design / packaging specification
D1.2 Bill of materials for transducers

Phase 1 Milestones

M1.1 Functional and physical specification of transducers completed

M1.2 Transducer design and simulation completed

Phase 2 – Sensor Construction and Initial Testing – 4.5 months:

This phase will involve the assembly and testing of prototype sensor elements. This task will be managed by Synaptec, who will work
with the University of Strathclyde and the sub-contractor Optocap Ltd to produce packaged sensors based on the designs produced
in Phase 1. Assembly will be carried out primarily by Scottish optical packaging company Optocap Ltd, with intermediate testing
performed at Synaptec’s facilities throughout the assembly procedure.

This phase will ensure transducers are packaged and insulated appropriately for the target environment, and have the potential to
progress into commercial manufacturing at the project conclusion.

Phase 2 Deliverables

D2.1 Prototype voltage/current sensors

D2.2 Report on prototype evaluation and testing

Phase 2 Milestones

M2.1 Sensor array assembled

M2.2 Testing of prototype sensor array completed


The following aspects of the project outputs will be used to assess whether the project has been a success and whether the performance of the innovation is as desired:

  1. The project physically demonstrates that standard fibre can be used to measure electrical parameters, i.e. the sensor concept is proven in the laboratory;

  2. The project physically demonstrates that this technology is capable of meeting the environmental and safety criteria expected by the target industry, as defined by IEC standards.

  3. The project delivers clear recommendations for further demonstration project(s).

  4. Produce a business case including validation of expected savings/benefits while complying with ESQCR