STARTUP CHALLENGE: BIRD PROTECTION ON ELECTRICITY GRIDS

An autonomous predator emulator to improve the coexistence of overhead lines with fauna and flora

A device that emulates a predator has been the winning solution of the Startup Challenge Bird Protection on Electricity Grids, which seeks to minimise the impact of power lines on the environment, especially on birdlife.

The Spanish startup Energiot won this challenge thanks to the project of a self-powered device consisting of 3 parts:

 A predator emulator with random movements and noise to scare the birds.

 A repellent light emitter — similar to the signal balls used in the surroundings of airports — to identify the lines and towers helping to visualize obstacles.

 A piezoelectric compound to power the device from the residual energy captured from the magnetic field of the transmission network, naturally present in the electricity network.

The great innovation of the Energiot solution is precisely the fact that it can be powered with the residual energy from the transmission network, so it does not require batteries or maintenance, and is resistant to adverse weather conditions.

In addition, it has the possibility of adding a motion and temperature sensor module, as well as a communication control with the cloud.

WHY THIS CHALLENGE WAS SET

Iberdrola has more than 1.2 million km of electricity transmission and distribution power lines, distributed throughout the United States, Brazil, United Kingdom, Spain. More than 4,400 high to medium voltage substations and more than 1.5 million medium to low voltage distribution transformers make up this grid, all built and operated to supply a high quality and reliable service to a total of 31 million electricity supply points.

The group is also a pioneer in the digitisation of its networks through the development of smart grids, the integration of storage solutions and the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations.

All this work is being carried out in parallel to a major effort to minimise the impact of these installations on the environment. In this respect, the challenge was focused on finding innovative solutions that discourage birds from using electricity pylons as vantage points to avoid electrocution and collision, as well as using durable materials that facilitate the operation and maintenance of the lines.

The project will be implemented in collaboration with specialist technicians from the Iberdrola network area.