STARTUP CHALLENGE: POWER ELECTRONIC CHALLENGE

A spin-off from the University of Cardiff will help us optimize medium and low voltage networks with power electronics

The Welsh startup Integrated Powertech has been the winner of this challenge in which we were looking for competitive and innovative solutions, based on power electronics, that allow optimizing medium and low voltage networks, improving their flexibility in different load scenarios.

The company, a spin-off of Cardiff University, participated under the name E-Power and was one of the four finalists. They submitted a solution under the name Power Electronics and Underground substation upgrades.

BACKGROUND

Iberdrola has more than 1.2 million kilometres of electric transmission and distribution power lines, distributed in the United States, Brazil, the UK and Spain. As part of this network there are more than 4,400 high to medium voltage substations and more than 1.5 million medium-to-low voltage distribution transformers, all built and operated to provide a high quality and reliable service to a total of 31 million electricity supply points.

Furthermore, it is a pioneer in the digitization of its networks through the deployment of smart grids, the integration of storage solutions and the roll-out of electric vehicle charging stations.

All this work is carried out in parallel to a great effort to minimise the environmental impact of these facilities.

For all this, through its International Startup Programme - PERSEO, in October 2020 Iberdrola launched this challenge, looking for new innovative power electronics solutions that allow medium and low voltage networks optimization, improving their flexibility.

CHALLENGE DESCRIPTION

The electricity network is experiencing a significant change in the way electricity is generated and consumed due to the increased uptake of low carbon technologies (LCTs). Therefore, the need to enhance network flexibility and adaptability is critical, with power electronics proving to be a key enabler in this transition.

Iberdrola's ScottishPower (SP) Energy Networks, along with other electricity licensees, are actively promoting the potential benefits of applying Power Electronic devices within the electricity network. SP Energy Networks have a holistic approach on this topic, covering medium voltage and LVDC, such as onload tap changer, smart transformers and LVDC networks.

Despite the recognised benefits of using power electronic devices in medium/low voltage networks, there are several barriers preventing the wider application within the energy network including developing technologies, communications, health & safety, product lifetime and efficiency.

This is why Perseo launched this challenge to find competitive, innovative solutions that allow the medium and low voltage networks optimization, improving their flexibility under different load scenarios.

WHAT ARE WE SEARCHING FOR?

The solutions sent, which were analysed by experts in the network business of Iberdrola group, needed to meet the following needs:

 Improve the efficiency and reliability of power electronic devices.

 In particular, power electronic devices that are economically competitive in the market.

 Integrate these power electronic devices as part of new solutions/services to support a net zero energy network.

 Solutions that can effectively improve the power quality of distribution network.

 Ensure the control & communications associated to avoid and defer conventional reinforcement, to ultimately achieve tangible savings for the network business.

THE PRIZE

The selected project will be developed in collaboration with the technical specialists from the Iberdrola Network area.

The prize will consist of us signing a collaboration and test agreement with PERSEO - International Startup Programme and/or with any other relevant Iberdrola group company, who will assume the costs and provide the winner with the necessary technical support, giving access to infrastructures and real data to test the solution.

If the assay or test of the concept is satisfactory, Iberdrola may offer the winner the opportunity to scale up the solution by means of commercial agreements. In addition, Perseo may consider investing in the participant.

If you have any questions, please contact IberdrolaChallenge@iberdrola.es.

TIMELINE

11/04/2020
Public launch
of the
challenge
12/31/2020
Deadline for
receiving
proposals
MARCH 2021
Announcement
of the winner