The University of Southampton

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 of the ECS 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 percent gain in generator conversion efficiency could save the equivalent of 1000 MW (megawatts) which is comparable to one nuclear power plant or €1.5 billion. “The current insulation systems used in generators are old fashioned and are rather thick, poor thermal conductors,” said 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 electric 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 the Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory.

The other consortium members for this project are:

Von Roll Switzerland AG Alstom Hydro Laborelec-Electrabel Politecnico di Torino University of Montpellier 2 Institut de Recherche Hydro-Québec Nottingham Trent University

For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453.

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