Ural Federal University: Advanced Developments Improve the Country’s Energy Sector

Innovations implemented in the energy sector give a significant economic effect and make companies more competitive. Sergey Perestoronin, Minister of Industry and Science of the Sverdlovsk Region, managed to make sure of it today – he visited the enterprises that successfully develop and implement technical solutions that are really demanded by the market.

For example, ProSoft Systems together with Ural Federal University is implementing a project aimed at improving approaches to digital management of electric power facilities. They are working on creation and modernization of innovative devices, software, technologies and systems. The goal of the project is to improve technological efficiency and transfer control to international digital standards. New devices and software complexes are being created that will take a large share of the Russian and foreign markets.

Within the project, UrFU is conducting research tests of algorithms and devices from ProSoft Systems, aimed at digitalization of the energy sector. Different models of power systems operating in a variety of operating modes, including very heavy ones, are being studied. At the center of the tests is a hardware-software complex that allows real-time modeling (reproducing currents and voltages, information flows, etc.). This makes it possible to test devices and algorithms under conditions close to the operation of operating power facilities. All this is very much in demand today at substations of various voltage classes.

“This complex will be more and more actively implemented in the Russian energy sector every year. It helps optimize the operation of the power system, make it more efficient and cost-effective. The issue of safety is also important – this development allows reducing the accident rate by several times. Our industrial partner has plans to take a significant market share in Russia and reach the global sales level,” says Andrey Pazderin, professor at Ural Federal University and Digital Substation Project Manager.

Another striking example of effective cooperation between science and industry is the company I-TOR, which manufactures and sells intelligent small sensors for digital power grids. Such sensors are an order of magnitude smaller and lighter than traditional equipment, and this opens up new, previously unavailable opportunities for use. All this is made possible through the use of patented solutions, electronic components and new insulating materials.

As Sergey Kokin, professor at UrFU and project manager, noted, in the future such sensors should become the basis for deploying digital control systems for power grids. They are mounted on power lines with the help of the Kanatokhod system, after which they collect and process data in real time. This makes it possible to implement advanced grid control systems and automatic systems based on the most accurate data possible. Using sensors saves energy by distributing it evenly. A number of these sensors are already available for sale.

According to Andrey Medvedev, director of Ai-TOR, the products that are produced under the project are already supplied throughout Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Now the devices for the facility in Tajikistan are in production. A total of more than 3,500 units have already been produced and are working in networks.

“In a number of cases, with their use it is possible to reduce power losses many times over. This leads to a payback period of implementation projects ranging from a few months to a year. Our plans are to make such sensors even smaller, more compact, and cheaper. In the future, they should become the technical basis for new principles of high-voltage grid control. In 2020, about 1,500 sensors were sold, and this year we plan to increase that volume by 30-50%. I am confident that we will also be successful in the global market. We have no competitors for 110 kV voltage levels,” says Andrey Medvedev.

Andrey Medvedev stresses that the cost of the sensors averages 100-150% of the solutions used. But if we take the total cost of the installation project, the cost of such a project is about 2-2.5 times cheaper than the existing solutions.

As a reminder, I-TOR and ProSoft Systems are participants of the Ural Interregional Research Education Center for Advanced Industrial Technologies and Materials. In May 2021 both companies were among the winners of the Sverdlovsk Region government contest and received funds to reimburse part of the costs of implementation of research and development (R&D) in industrial production to the REC participants. In total five companies won the competition and received from 5 to 25 million rubles.

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