GE Power Conversion announced the successful trials of its PassiveBoost technology that allows remote power networks to go DC.
The technology provides a straight replacement on the same footprint for the AC transformer inside every wind turbine and allows direct connection to an efficient, high-voltage, DC power collection grid while reducing cable cost and without the need for an expensive and complex DC breaker.
With this technology, GE expects to lower the cost of power delivered from offshore installations and increasing the electrical output delivered from renewable energy sources in distant, inhospitable places.
DC power has been efficient in the transmission of electricity from the sites where it is generated to the homes and businesses where it is needed.
The trials were performed at the company’s full-scale power system test site near Leicester, in the U.K. The tests were carried out using new technologies which GE has been introducing over the past four years.
Keiran Coulton, senior executive, global industry at GE Power Conversion said, “Whether extracting fossil fuels or capitalizing on renewable energy resources, we find ourselves working further offshore or in inhospitable desert locations. In either case, the energy wasted in AC transmission systems is costing the energy consumer too much. The technologies behind PassiveBoost will enable these costs to be cut.”
In PassiveBoost, GE has used a new power device packaging technique with a novel cooling system. Crucially, GE also has its ActiveFoldback fault protection system, which has allowed it to protect the DC network at equivalent or lower cost compared to AC.
The PassiveBoost project has been supported by Scottish Enterprise, with parts of the trial system being manufactured in GE’s Glasgow plant. Research and development was undertaken by teams from GE Power Conversion’s Advanced Technology Group at the University of Edinburgh and in Rugby, Warwickshire, in the U.K.