Fujitsu and Chugoku Electric Power T&D conduct joint trials to expand use of renewables and improve maintenance of power transmission facilities

TOKYO, Oct 12, 2022 – (JCN Newswire via SEAPRWire.com) – Fujitsu and Chugoku Electric Power Transmission & Distribution Co., Inc. (hereinafter Chugoku Electric Power T&D) today announced the successful completion of joint trials to verify the practical application of environmental data (wind conditions)(1) in the maintenance of power transmission infrastructure. Through the trials, the two companies aim to realize dynamic line rating (DLR)(2), a promising next-generation power network technology, and to utilize drones for improving the maintenance of power transmission facilities.

Figure 1: Overview of the field trials
Figure 2: (Left) Environmental data (wind conditions) converted from OPGW vibration data (wind conditions)
(Right) Comparison of environmental data (wind conditions) converted from vibration data with an anemometer installed on a steel tower
Figure 3: Comparison of estimated and measured transmission line temperatures
Figure 4: Screen image of prototype system supporting advanced operation of transmission network (in Japanese)

Under its „Carbon Neutrality Promotion Plan“(3), Chugoku Electric Power T&D is actively promoting carbon neutrality initiatives in its business. Through their cooperation, Fujitsu and Chugoku Electric Power T&D will accelerate efforts by transmission and distribution companies to expand the installation of renewable energy systems including solar and wind power. Ultimately, the partners seek to help utilities to develop grid control technologies to adapt their power systems(4) to the standards of next-generation power generation to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050(5).

Background

Regular patrolling and inspection play an essential role in maintaining a stable supply of electricity at power transmission facilities. This maintenance work requires considerable time and a large work force, however, and as the number of workers in the industry continues to decrease, demand is growing for smart security(6) solutions that leverage technologies like drones and other innovative measures to improve the efficiency of security operations to ensure a safe and secure operational environment at critical facilities.

To this end, Chugoku Electric Power T&D is utilizing drones to conduct patrols and inspections and to identify defects in its facilities. Certain challenges remain, however, including how to make effective use of drones in difficult conditions, such as areas that are unusually windy or located in rugged terrain. One potential solution to these issues centers on obtaining real-time, accurate environmental data (wind conditions) in the vicinity of power transmission lines.

To address these issues, Fujitsu and Chugoku Electric Power T&D conducted joint trials utilizing Fujitsu’s proprietary data conversion technology to convert optical ground wire (hereinafter OPGW)(7) vibration data acquired by using optical fiber sensing technology(8) into OPGW for power transmission lines.

As this enables the efficient and accurate acquisition of environmental data (wind conditions) in the vicinity of a wide range of power transmission facilities, power transmission operators can apply this data to their inspection patrols using DLR and drones to ultimately expand the use of renewable energy and further enhance the maintenance of power transmission facilities.

Outline of the field trials

1. Overview

Fujitsu and Chugoku Electric Power T&D installed equipment at substations and other facilities managed by Chugoku Electric Power T&D including an optical fiber measuring device for OPGW vibration and a computer for calculation to measure vibration data in milliseconds at intervals of several meters over a length of 70 kilometers. Based on the vibration data, the two companies leveraged Fujitsu’s data conversion technology to estimate environmental data (wind conditions) and transmission line temperatures and conducted trials to apply this data to drone operation support and DLR (Figure 1).

2. Period

September 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022

3. Test site

Three power transmission lines in the Japanese Chugoku region (Shimane, Hiroshima, and Yamaguchi Prefectures) of Chugoku Electric Power T&D

4. Verification contents and results

(1) Verification of data conversion technology to determine whether to fly a drone
– Comparison of environmental data (wind conditions) obtained by converting OPGW vibration data with actual measurement data of an anemometer installed at the site (successful confirmation that the two data were in general in accordance (Figure 2))
– Trials showed that the technology can support workers in determining whether a drone can fly or not and in selecting a flight route in consideration of wind conditions; the technology can thus ultimately improve the safety of inspection patrols using drones and enhance maintenance work at Chugoku Electric Power T&D’s facilities (9)

(2) Verification of application to dynamic line rating for expansion of transmission capacity
– trials showed that the technology could successfully be applied to DLR that enables accurate estimation of the temperature of transmission lines from ever-changing weather conditions; a dynamic operation of transmission capacity proved to be effective in expanding the use of renewable energies (10)
– technology enables real-time estimation of environmental data (wind conditions) across the entire area in the vicinity of transmission lines, which are main factors for changes in transmission line temperature

(3) Creation and operation verification of a prototype system for business implementation
– creation of a prototype system by Fujitsu to support advanced transmission network operations and visualize various types of data (environmental data (wind conditions) and transmission line temperatures) obtained during the field trials on a map
– successful verification that the system enables DLR based on visualized data and can support operators in judging whether or not to fly drones

Future Plans

Moving forward, the two companies will promote the development of an advanced transmission network operation support system to utilize environmental data (wind conditions) and transmission line temperature data to flexibly operate transmission capacity using dynamic ratings and enhance maintenance operations using drones.

The two companies will further promote digital transformation (DX) in the electric power industry to solve societal issues including operational reforms and the realization of a sustainable energy supply.

Chugoku Electric Power T&D will continue to enhance its operations using cutting-edge technologies to realize power and business quality that meets customer expectations and respond to diversifying network usage patterns. Chugoku Electric Power T&D will further contribute to the expansion of renewable energies to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050.
Fujitsu is promoting a data-driven management to promote an agile shift to the „new normal“ as part of its vision for „Digital Shifts“, a Key Focus Area under the Fujitsu Uvance portfolio to realize a sustainable future.

(1) Environmental data :
A group of data that estimates the environmental conditions (wind conditions, etc.) of a fiber-optic composite optical ground wire (OPGW) and its vicinity.
(2) Dynamic line rating :
Technology to flexibly operate transmission capacity of transmission and transformation facilities.
(3) Chugoku Electric Power T&D „Carbon Neutrality Promotion Plan: Toward Next-Generation Power Networks“:
www.energia.co.jp/nw/press/2021/13581.html (in Japanese)
(4) Power systems :
A series of electric power facilities and systems consisting of „transmission,“ „transformation,“ and „distribution“ to deliver electricity from power stations to customers.
(5) Carbon neutrality :
Balancing greenhouse gas emissions and removals; in October 2020, the Japanese government declared that it will aim for carbon neutrality (reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero) by 2050.
(6) Smart security :
By introducing new technologies in the field of electrical security, such as IoT sensors, AI, and drones, efforts are being made to maintain and improve security while improving productivity.
Reference: Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry – „Smart Industrial Safety „:
www.meti.go.jp/shingikai/safety_security/smart_hoan/denryoku_anzen/index.html (in Japanese)
(7) OPGW :
Optical Ground Wire; a facility in which an optical fiber cable is built into an overhead ground wire to protect transmission lines from lightning.
(8) Optical fiber sensing technology :
A technology that enables real-time measurement of how optical fiber cables vibrate by inputting specific laser pulse light into optical fiber cables for communications and measuring changes and components of light such as backscattered light. For the measurement, a dedicated measuring device and a computer for calculation which processes the data are used.
(9) Trials showed that the technology utilized in this demonstration test was suited to acquire data efficiently and accurately even in mountainous areas with complex wind conditions.
(10) Transmission voltage, thickness of the transmission line, weather conditions (wind speed of 0.5 m/s (meters per second), solar radiation of 1,000 W/m2 (watts per square meter), outside temperature of 40 degreesC) were specified to determine the upper limits (transmission capacity) under which power lines can conduct electricity.

In order to estimate the temperature of the transmission line, the environmental data (wind conditions) estimated in verification contents and results (1) , the amount of solar radiation and outside air temperature measured by various sensors installed in the tower, and the current value actually flowing through the transmission line were converted into temperature data as parameters, and the temperature of the transmission line was estimated; temperatures of the transmission lines were measured with infrared thermographic cameras to confirm the accuracy of the data.

About Chugoku Electric Power Transmission & Distribution Co., Inc.

Chugoku Electric Power T&D Co., Inc. is a general power transmission and distribution business operator in Japan, located in Naka-ku, Hiroshima City, with five prefectures in the Chugoku region and part of neighboring prefecture as supply areas. A wholly owned subsidiary of Chugoku Electric Power Co., Ltd. www.energia.co.jp/nw/index.html (in Japanese)

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu’s purpose is to make the world more sustainable by building trust in society through innovation. As the digital transformation partner of choice for customers in over 100 countries, our 124,000 employees work to resolve some of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Our range of services and solutions draw on five key technologies: Computing, Networks, AI, Data & Security, and Converging Technologies, which we bring together to deliver sustainability transformation. Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 3.6 trillion yen (US$32 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2022 and remains the top digital services company in Japan by market share. Find out more: www.fujitsu.com.

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