Energy Department selects PARC to develop grid monitoring system

Published on August 05, 2019 by Dave Kovaleski

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability selected PARC, a Xerox company to develop a low-cost optically based smart monitoring system.

The monitoring system — called TRANSENSOR (Transformer Real-time Assessment INtelligent System with Embedded Network of Sensors and Optical Readout) — will increase the reliability and safety of the power grid. The office is spending nearly $10 million in early-stage research to help utilities inform decisions about increased deployment of solar photovoltaics, plug-in electric vehicles, combustion engines, and energy storage systems on the grid.

“It’s been predicted that the smart grid sensor market will reach $39 Billion by 2019,” Ajay Raghavan, PARC Research Area Manager and Principal Investigator leading the effort, said. “Clearly, the sensor market in a myriad of industries will grow rapidly, given the IoT explosion. We are working on innovative low-cost embedded fiber-optic sensors that can reliably monitor conditions in a broad variety of harsh environments, including those seen in smart grids, so that we can understand the real-time state of critical systems. This work with the DOE OE is an exciting new application, and we think we can help gain a greater understanding of and better manage the electric grid that serves us all as it increasingly integrates distributed resources. It’s very important work at a very important time.”

The monitoring system will combine embedded fiber optic sensors and intelligent algorithms to sense internal parameters, gather information, and predict safety conditions and remaining life.

Consolidated Edison Company and New York and General Electric will also play critical roles. Con Edison, which serves 3.4 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, will lead the final field demonstration of TRANSENSOR. General Electric will test TRANSENSOR on its market-leading Safe-NET network transformers.