TPS gives speech at Better Networks Forum on our next-gen power converters for Active Response

Wondering what TPS is up to? We are working on a new, much more efficient generation of power converters for both LV and MV networks, as part of Active Response:

Earlier this year TPS’s Engineering & Business Development Director, Dr. Nigel Jakeman, participated as one of the main speakers at the Better Networks Forum, event organised by our partners, UK Power Networks. Here he joined Alex Jakeman – Innovation Project Lead at UK Power Networks – in describing the intricacies of Active Response and our role in this ground-breaking project.

Dr. Nigel Jakeman speaking during Better Networks Forum - event hosted by UK Power Networks

Better Networks Forum took place on 23 January 2019 at the IET, Savoy Place in London and it focused on describing UK Power Networks’ innovative projects that have the primary goal of securing a safer, more efficient and more reliable electricity network.

One of the key projects presented during the Forum referred to the revolutionary Active Response trial for which TPS is providing the hardware platform through our award winning range of power converters that enable the creation of Soft Open Points on the distribution network. This project leads the way to efficiently managing spare network capacity that could save customers £271m and cut more than 448,000 tonnes of carbon emissions by 2030.

Building on the learnings that we have gained from the flagship Flexible Urban Networks (FUN-LV) project, as holders of a key role in Active Response we are now building a new generation of converters that will bring significant benefits to both the Low Voltage (LV) and Medium Voltage (MV) networks. This will lead to a better balance of power between substations to facilitate a higher adoption of low carbon technologies, such as the predicted increase in electric vehicles.

During his speech, Dr. Jakeman explained how the SOP converters works, what our initial power converters had achieved and how we are upgrading these devices to the next level for Active Response.

The main benefits that our next-generation converters will bring to the LV Network can be summarised into:

  • Silent operation due to faster switching
  • Continuous Rating increased by 60%.
  • Electrical Losses halved
  • Forced cooling near eliminated
  • Single sided access to reduce pavement utilisation and enable ease of service, more space efficient

The enabler for the above benefits is Silicon Carbide Semiconductor Switching technology which we are utilising in this project.

At MV level, we are building a Soft Power Bridge (SPB) which will have the same functionality as the LV SOP, however utilising a different architecture to deliver meshing capability at 11kV. To create a commercially viable solution for MV networks, Silicon Carbide comes into play once again for same reasons as for LV: noise, size and loss reduction.

Listen to Dr. Jakeman below to understand more about our next-gen power converters and how we are improving our solutions to better suit the requirements of today’s network: