Project Well Underway

The 6-month face-to-face consortium meeting took place in Krakow, Poland from 25-26 April, hosted by ABB Corporate Research. A first-year review is already scheduled for the first half of November in Brussels but looking back now at the project progress currently underway shows an engaged and enthusiastic team determined to see this technology in the market once the pilot has proven itself.

What’s Happening Now

As part of the material formulation on the project, JRS, Munksjo, VTT, ecoXpac, 3DTech,and Exergy, and ABB have split tasks and undertaken the following actions:
• Raw material screening
• Raw material optimisation
• Circular economy considerations.

The final report on raw material characteristics and circular economy considerations are planned for delivery in the 18th month of the project, but already the project team has successfully established the list of technical requirements for insulation components produced with a new technology.

Currently, ABB together with AGH are identifying and modifying the procedures and testing standards for the laboratory testing of new materials formulations developed within the NOVUM project and of cellulose pressboard used today to produce insulation components. This second step will allow for the initial tests to be focussed on oil compatibility. Materials characterization is the third step in the prototyping activities for NOVUM which will begin shortly.

Other tests of prototype insulation components (both produced on the NOVUM pilotline and of components manufactured in the existing technology) include: vapor phase drying test, mechanical tests, electrical tests, and aging behaviour, with the critical parameters to be considered for NOVUM’s materials being: transformer oil compatibility, dielectric constant parameters, and mechanical strength properties.

In parallel, 3DTech (3D printing), VTT (foam forming), and ecoXpac (‘smart tool’ thermoforming) are collaborating diligently on the concept development of the 3D printer’s core process, components, concept design, and of course the definition of materials required for processing (filament, granulates, pastes, powders, liquids, etc.). From there, RMA will start the design of a robotized and automated pilot line for the production of advanced cellulose-based electric insulation components.

In the Works

Looking ahead to the 18-month marker in the project, the NOVUM team is busy collecting data for stating limitations and conditions for Vertech Group’s (VTG) LCA, LCC&S-LCA analysis. Already, the partners have noted that data gathered in this initial phase must be comparable for all the analysed manufacturing methods as the price of electricity could vary depending on the country of installation. Likewise, the exploitation and dissemination plan is also being devised by consortium member organisation Exergy with support from VTG. The market uptake activities of innovative technologies stretch the entire duration of the project as information from each project phase is integrated and leveraged. Today, the team is working to identify and assess commercially exploitable innovations with the exploitation plan due at the end of the project’s first year of activity.

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