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New energy-efficient insulation for electrical wires

Published: 
13 May 2010

Engineers at the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) are working to develop prototype insulation systems that could lead to new high-efficiency electrical generators.

Professor Alun Vaughan, Dr Paul Lewin and Dr Gabriele Gherbaz at the University’s Electrical Power Engineering group are leading the University’s role in the €3 million EU-funded ANASTASIA (Advanced NAno-Structured TApeS for electrotechnical high power Insulating Applications).

The aim of the three-year project is to develop radically innovative electrical insulating tapes for use in generators and motors to improve the energy conversion efficiency of electrotechnical systems across Europe.

The team predicts that, at a European scale, a 0.2 per cent gain in generator conversion efficiency could save the equivalent of 1000 MW (megawatts), which is comparable to one nuclear power plant or €1.5billion.

“The current insulation systems used in generators are old fashioned and are rather thick, poor thermal conductors,” says Professor Vaughan. “Our aim is to replace the current insulation tapes with new materials integrated with nanofilters to increase the ability to dissipate heat and withstand high electrics field strengths.”

The team will test three different approaches to come up with a prototype that will form the basis for use in new power networks; the ECS team will test the electrical properties of the schemes in their High Voltage Laboratory.

The other consortium members for this project are:
Von Roll Switzerland AG
Alstom Hydro
Laborelec-Electrabel
Politecnico di Torino
University of Montpelier 2
Institut de Recherche Hydro-Québec
Nottingham Trent University

Notes for editors

  • The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for research and scholarship across a wide range of subjects in engineering, science, social sciences, health, arts and humanities.

    With over 22,000 students, around 5000 staff, and an annual turnover of almost £400 million, the University of Southampton is one of the country's top institutions for engineering, computer science and medicine. We combine academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning.

    The University is also home to a number of world-leading research centres, including the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, and the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute

    For further information contact:

    Professor Alun Vaughan, Head of Electrical Power Engineering group, School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, Tel: 023 8059 3398, Email: asv@ecs.soton.ac.uk

    Joyce Lewis, Communications Manager, School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton (tel. 023 8059 5453; email: jkl2@ecs.soton.ac.uk)

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