Mar 2016
Electricity Transmission
Power 2 Tower: Stage 1 Energy Harvesting Feasibility
Mar 2016
Dec 2018
SP Energy Networks and SP Transmission
James Yu (Future Networks Manager)
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Network Innovation Allowance
Project stages

The main focus of Power 2 Tower: Stage 1 Energy Harvesting Feasibility is covered in Stage 1, the successful output of which will determine the exact specifications of stages 2 and 3. High-level overviews of stages 2 and 3 are provided, but the precise detail will depend on how efficiently energy can be harvested from an OHL and a separate proposal for stages 2 and 3 will be provided towards the end of stage 1.

- Stage 1: Energy harvesting feasibility (15 months)

- Stage 2: Wireless communication (TBC)

- Stage 3: Prototype development and trialling (TBC)

Stage 1: Energy harvesting feasibility. The main challenge of this stage is to identify the most technically appropriate method of harvesting energy from the OHL. The level of ‘appropriateness’ will depend on the ease of application, cost of hardware, minimum energy yield over 24 hours and anticipated reliability of hardware.

Proposed Stage 2: Wireless communication. The data bandwidth of the system will be influenced by the distance over which the wireless transmission is made and the available power for the communications device. Due to the highly serial nature of the proposed system it will be advantageous for a TMH unit to be able to communicate with units on non-adjacent towers to allow an element of redundancy. Since the OHL may be taken out of service, thus powering down the monitoring system, a fail-safe method of rapidly re-establishing contact between the TMH units will be required. A suitable protocol to perform the anticipated communications tasks will be identified together with the wireless hardware. A series of tests to determine the distance of transmission, as a function of transmitter power, along an OHL route will be required. The successful output of this stage will become a design specification for stage 3.

Proposed Stage 3: Prototype development and trialling. The pre-requisites for this stage are the exact details of how the energy will be harvested from the OHL, and the wireless hardware and software to be employed. With these details available, a prototype design for the device can be established. The design approach will be to establish a generic platform on which an application specific monitoring system could be implemented. By analysing all potential applications for the platform, consideration can be given to the range of the inputs required. It is anticipated that features commonly found on smart phones, e.g. GPS, accelerometers, analogue data acquisition, will be incorporated as standard since these functions are now highly developed, readily available and are power minimisation compliant. The external casing of the TMH unit will require particular attention with the respect to the operation, environment and installation requirements.

The following objectives for stage 1 have been identified below; the successful outcomes of which will be used to develop future work packages.

  • Technology investigation and design of harvesting devices, including review of the market. (This stage has partially been completed during initial scoping studies and has identified three main technologies)

1.       Electric Field

2.       Aeolian Vibration

3.       Earth Wire Current

  • Trial of harvesting devices, suited to the 3 energy sources described, on an OHL tower. Develop a measurement system that can be attached to a transmission tower to record the outputs from the trial devices
  • Produce a report which summarises the findings and makes recommendations for stages 2 & 3.
The project will be considered successful if the outputs from the objectives allow for further investigation and product development.