Efficient and Effective

Detection of Broken/Low Hanging Overhead Line Conductors

Project Data

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Investigation and trial use of techniques using existing protection technology and mechanical sensors to detect the presence of broken or low hanging overhead line conductors.

What is the project about?

Broken/downed conductors in overhead lines generate faults that are sometimes difficult to detect in distribution networks. Traditional methods of detection have been based on some form of zero sequence current detection but this does have limitations, including principally, the impedance of the fault path and the sensitivity of the protection device to detection of this type of fault.

Modern multifunction protection relays are capable of more complex measurements including negative sequence current detection and this has been incorporated into some Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs) as one possible means of detecting broken conductors. However, there are overriding factors that limit successful detection using this method, and therefore it is not a guaranteed means of detection.

This project will develop and trial sensors that can detect Low Hanging Conductors and alarm control if an action is required. Sensors will be developed and trialled on a number of UKPN sites to demonstrate their successful operation.

How we’re doing it

The project will:

  • Review what high impedance earth fault protection is currently available on the market and report back to UK Power Networks.
  • Investigate detection through change of SEF over time
  • Detection through rate of change of capacitance
  • Trial Mechanical sensors to detect broken and low hanging conductors
  • Development of self-powered prototype sensors and demonstrate their functionality

What makes it innovative

This research is innovative as it will be exploring new concepts not previously tried or considered. As the project evolves additional concepts will be considered as they become apparent. The resulting outputs may lead to the development of a commercially available product for use by the electricity supply industry.

What we’re learning

Developing a solution to detect Low Hanging Conductor and trial the sensors to demonstrate their functionality.

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