Start-up challenge: Wireless sensors in secondary substations

We awarded the start-up Alteria Automation, which will integrate its advanced sensors into the smart grids of our distribution company

PERSEO Start-up challenge Electrical network GSGIH

Alteria Automation's technological solution has won the Start-up Challenge: wireless sensors in transformer substations. Its advanced sensor system will maximise the safety of our transformer substations in Spain in the event of any incident.

The Spanish technology company Alteria AutomationEnlace externo, se abre en ventana nueva. (Linkedin: @alteriaautomation) has been selected by the PERSEO team in the Start-up Challenge: Wireless sensors in transformer substations. As a prize, the start-up has the opportunity to integrate its advanced sensor technology into the smart grids of i-DE, our distribution company, to contribute to the prevention of typical problems in transformer substations: damage to power equipment, fires, leaks, flooding or insulation failures. The winning solution offered by this company, developer and manufacturer of intelligent sensors for industrial predictive maintenance not only has electrical sensors, but also acoustic, thermal, gas or particle sensors.

Context of the challenge

Iberdrola has more than 400,000 Secondary Substations (SS) in the United States, Brazil, United Kingdom and Spain. These Centers house more than 1.5 million medium to low voltage secondary substations, built and operated to provide a high quality and reliable service to a total of 31 million electricity supply points.

The digitalisation of the grid allows us to have new sensor equipment in the SS to monitor the conditions of the installation and critical equipment such as medium-voltage switchgear, the medium-low voltage transformer, the low-voltage panels and the digital equipment itself. This information enables preventive maintenance to be carried out, anomalies to be detected, dangerous situations to be avoided and possible breakdowns and incidents to be anticipated.

The new digitalisation equipment is being designed with the capacity to install the new sensors via Plug&Play architecture and with the possibility of wireless connection.

Description of the challenge

In this context, Iberdrola, through its PERSEO Startups Programme, is looking for solutions that enable the early detection of incidents in installations and equipment through Plug&Play sensors communicated by Zigbee in the secondary substation, with the aim of reducing the impact of incidents on supply and on the installations themselves.

Sensors may be general purpose: smoke, CO2, temperature/humidity, flooding, tightening of connection terminals, intrusion, voltage/current... etc. or may be based on optical and/or thermographic cameras. Together with the sensor system, data processing and alarm management must be proposed.  

When assessing candidacies, the following technologies will be positively considered: Edge Computing, thermal infrared, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision and Plug&Play, among others.

In addition, consideration will be given to:

  • The ability to identify serious incidents at an early stage: flood, fire, intrusion, passive safety (grounding), etc.

  • The maturity, reliability and scalability of the solution, including hardware (sensors), and software/algorithm for both equipment management and data processing to generate warnings.

  • Simplicity of installation (Plug&Play), maintenance and autonomy (low consumption/self-powered).

  • Integration with current monitoring systems (BT RTU / Zigbee).

  • The total cost, both initial and recurrent.

  • Application in other energy assets such as substations and overhead lines.

The challenge is launched within the framework of the new Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub. Iberdrola will make the Hub a worldwide grid benchmark, through open collaboration and Co-Working between i-DE technicians, suppliers, Startups and different organizations from all around the world.

The team of experts from Iberdrola's Networks business will be responsible for selecting the solution or innovative solutions that enable the early identification of incidents at secondary substations.

The prize

The prize will consist of a collaboration and test agreement with  PERSEO or any other Group company, which will bear the cost of these activities and provide the winner with all necessary technical support, as well as an environment and real data to test the solution, providing access to equipment, teams, infrastructure, high technology sites and shared work areas. The project will be developed in collaboration with technical specialists from the Iberdrola Network area.

It will also be included directly in the Global Smart Grids Innovation Hubs registration process, as a collaborator able to benefit from the services, activities and resources that the GSGI Hub makes available.

If the trial or test of the concept is satisfactory, Iberdrola may offer the winner the opportunity to scale up the solution,  adopting it by means of commercial agreements. What's more, PERSEO will consider investing in the participating company and/or the winner of the challenge.