Arago Technology Ltd was presented with the Power & Energy Award at the IET Innovation awards ceremony, which was held last Thursday at The Brewery, London.
The company, spun out from The University of Manchester by its technology transfer arm, UMIP, was awarded the prize by the judges in recognition of its work in developing the Insulating Cross-arm (ICA), which has the potential to enable electricity network operators to increase transmission capacity of existing lines. The ICA, which has been developed over the last 4 years, can be retro-fitted onto existing electricity pylons allowing voltage and / or current upgrade and may reduce the height of new build electricity pylons.
Arago’s revolutionary insulator was developed by engineers at the University in a joint venture with EPL Composite Solutions Ltd. The Insulating Cross-arms have been installed for over 2 years on pylons in some of the most stark and remote areas of the UK to test their resistance to extreme weather and since May ’12 they have also been continuously energised and monitored at voltages required for the 400,000 volt transmission network at a coastal site in northern 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.
Arago is currently seeking further investment to complete final development of this technology with deployment of the ICA orders already secured on the transmission system, commencing in 2014.
David Gardner, Director of Transmission for Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc said: "This innovative technology has the potential to deliver a cost effective way of increasing the power carried on our transmission network. We have worked closely with Arago to help develop the technology to the stage it has reached today and we are delighted to see that Arago have received this recognition for this work."
Robin MacLaren, designate chairman for Arago Technology Ltd said: “Winning the IET Award confirms that our innovative technology is world class and has the potential to deliver real solutions for society. We are very proud to have won this award and look forward to supporting the development of Transmission networks throughout the world to support the connection of new low carbon generation, and upgrade existing infrastructure.”
Ian Welch, innovation manager for National Grid, said: “Innovation will be vital for energy network companies as we meet the challenges from the huge changes underway in how we generate our electricity. We have supported this project right from the early laboratory concept, so we are delighted to see it win the award.”
Project funding to-date by National Grid, Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc and The University of Manchester Intellectual Property's Proof-of-Principle Fund, managed by MTI partners, totals £2.5M.
The Winning Team
Clare Coyne, Roland Dransfield PR, 0161 236 1122 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Gillian West, National Grid, 01926 655373 email@example.com