Background: In order to improve energy utilization and correspondingly lower energy use and cost there is growing interest in improving the intelligence of the electricity grid and in particular improving the intelligence of the vast infrastructure of power distribution cables. Technology Description: To address this need researchers at UC Berkeley have developed an innovative way to measure the applied operating voltage inside conventional AC high-voltage insulated power distribution cables. The novel approach measures voltage non-conductively using a sensor that is external to and in proximity with the cables. The voltage sensor can be self powered via energy scavenging and it can be readily coupled to a wireless network for data transmission and collection. Applications: 1) Monitoring the voltage of power distribution cables in vaults inside buildings in outdoor underground power systems and in overhead installations. The voltage sensor can be used in conjunction with architecturally similar MEMS-based current sensors to measure power flow in distribution cables. 2) To assess cable aging and scavenge power for wireless auxiliary equipment.
1) Low costs 2) Easy to maintain 3) Self powering 4) Wireless connectivity 5) Multiplicity of applications (i.e. voltage power aging scavenging)