EA Technology, a specialist in asset management solutions for owners and operators of electrical assets, and a valued customer of Impulse Embedded, are responsible for the development, submission, and delivery of a new initiative from Western Power Distribution called the OpenLV project.
The OpenLV project tackles the issue of increased demand on local electricity networks from the ongoing decarbonisation of heat and transport through to the wide-scale consumer adoption of heat pumps and electric vehicles. Accommodating this increase in demand with existing infrastructure could require a large amount of conventional electricity network reinforcement at significant cost and disruption to customers.
To address these problems, the OpenLV project aims to deploy a low-cost intelligence platform in Low Voltage (LV) substations to provide network capacity uplift through use of a variety of technologies. This will be achieved through the implementation of LV-CAP™, a secure platform running multiple independent monitoring and analysis applications.
LV-CAP™ is a software platform designed to integrate with third party products to support network control and automation, and to encourage increased customer participation. The platform hosts applications created by a diverse set of software developers, providing a variety of services to network operators, residential communities and the wider industry. The software platform can then sit as an interface between the substations and the customers that they supply.
The LV-CAP™ software will be trialled in 80 Low Voltage (LV) distribution substations located in Western Power Distribution’s licence areas including the Midlands, the South West and South Wales.
Ultimately, if the OpenLV project proves that the technology it is trialling is viable, the platform could be rolled out to low voltage substations throughout Britain.
The Computing Hardware Demand
The LV-CAP™ software platform required support from rugged, reliable hardware that provides seamless computing and power supply functions. As the platform provides measurement inputs that can be used by third party applications, it was vital that high quality data acquisition hardware was also integrated.
The hardware also needed to withstand harsh environments and be housed in a weatherproof system enclosure from EA Technology that could be installed in a mixture of indoor and outdoor substation sites in England and Wales, where the environment was subject to temperature ranges of (-20°C to +50°C).
Impulse have been partnering with world leading industrial computing manufacturers for a number of years, providing intelligent solutions that address the complex demands of the power and energy market.
In the initial phase of the OpenLV project, identifying which global industrial manufacturer had the best computing hardware solution for the project was essential, and because of our relationship with EA Technology, they had confidence that Impulse Embedded would recommend a solution that fully adhered to all the specifications provided.
Impulse put forward Advantech’s UNO embedded box PC, chosen for its self-management, seamless communication and self-protection which are all important features in the often unmanned and harsh environments of outdoor substations. With longevity of support and scalable performance in mind, the Advantech UNO solution was selected as it utilises a number of different CPU options from Intel Celeron through to Core i7, thus allowing for form, fit and function replacements to be used should a future requirement for heavier computing processing power be required. Additionally, to support specific data acquisition requirements of the project, an Advantech ADAM Remote I/O Module was also integrated.
Our own technical experts along with engineers from Advantech met with EA Technology and the OpenLV team, which subsequently meant that we were able to confidently identify and meet all of the computing hardware requirements.
Moreover, to facilitate a reduction in deployment time for EA Technology, as part of the build process, the hardware was fully configured by the Impulse Embedded production team in our UK purpose built workshop before being dispatched for integration into the overall EA Technology solution.
Robert Plant, Impulse Embedded Sales Director comments: “Because we took time to understand the project, through extensive collaboration and technical input, EA technology were confident that Impulse Embedded were able to provide the best hardware solution to support the OpenLV project.”
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