By Anthony Capkun
January 23, 2013 – A device developed by engineers at The University of Manchester and EPL Composite Solutions Ltd. promises to dramatically increase the capacity of the United Kingdom’s electricity network, while enabling rapid increases in renewable generation and lowering bills for consumers.
Insulated cross-arms—manufactured and sold by university spin-off Arago Technology Ltd.—have been installed on pylons “in some of the most stark and remote areas of the UK to test their resistance to extreme weather, and are also being tested for an eventual use with 400,000-volt systems at a coastal site in Scotland”.
Tests have also been carried out at the university’s High-Voltage Laboratory, which has subjected them to lightning strikes of more than 1.4 million volts. Modelling shows that, in some cases, the cross-arms are capable of increasing the power-carrying capability of a pylon by up to 2.5 times.
The insulated cross-arms enable increased electricity supply using the same pylons or the use of smaller pylons when building a new electricity line.