Clamp-On, Untethered Power Interface Pod

Period of Performance: 01/01/2002 - 12/31/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Cpy Consulting
2106 37th Street
Bellingham, WA 98226
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


65209 As distributed generation accounts for an increasing share of electrical power, real-time sensory information (to monitor voltage, current, power flow, power quality, etc.) that describes the status of each generation point is required to maintain reliable electrical grid operation and ensure safe maintenance practices. However, many of the monitoring points in today's electrical grid provide incorrect data due to faulty wiring, poor equipment performance, or lack of utility resources to process raw sensor data. In addition, many sensors are needed to replace aging instrument transformers, equip new generation plants, and monitor new locations within the transmission and distribution grids. The installation of new sensor technology should require as little infrastructure change as possible, in order to minimize total cost. This project will develop a low maintenance, self-powered, clamp-on power interface pod for metering, for identifying incipient equipment failure, and for power quality processing. It will rely on wireless communication to interface with a centralized control center, specific equipment at a distributed energy resource, and individual consumers. In Phase I, the voltage monitor, current monitor, and power supply for the clamp-on sensor pod were evaluated, and a viable scheme for achieving 0.3% accuracy class for both voltage and current was developed. In Phase II, a final design for the current sensor, voltage sensor, wireless communication system, and power supply will be completed as part of the integrated pod design. Additional prototypes will be built for field trials, which will include at least one installation in a nationally recognized utility system. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: A clamp-on power interface pod, suitable for use at low, medium, or high voltages, should directly address an annual $1 billion worldwide electric utility market for voltage and current sensors alone. The clamp-on design, with no insulating structure between high voltage and ground, would permit improved installation flexibility, low installation and maintenance costs, and low manufacturing costs. The pod also could be used to support other types of sensors, for example, enabling the deployment of a nationwide network of sensors relevant to homeland security