MANHASSET, NY -- The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a grant to On-Ramp Wireless for a project to install an intelligent system to monitor events in the underground distribution grid.
On-Ramp will connect below-ground distribution grid sensors with a fixed installed network in partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison
The system will use on-Ramp's Ultra-Link Processing wireless communication system underground for the first time to help manage the two utilitiesí grid sensors.
Overall, there are tens of thousands of distribution grid sensors, above and below ground, whose sensors end up being largely unmonitored until a fault event occurs, usually in an emergency situation.
On-Rampís ULP technology will help to reliably and securely reach into the below ground sensors, which would significantly reduce time to isolate, repair and restore service to consumers. ULP finds weak signals in high noise environments.
Earlier this year On-Ramp successfully demonstrated the ability to connect wireless sensors throughout the distribution grid in a field test with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc.
SELís wireless sensors for overhead lines were combined with On-Rampís ULP system to monitor and report real-time fault indication and condition data. That field test enabled a comprehensive view of the distribution grid performance.
The DOE grant to On-Ramp was awarded earlier this month as part of Department of Energyís more than $19 million for five projects aimed at optimizing the nation's electric grid.
The projects included awards to Areva T&D, Inc. for designing and testing a platform for integrating distributed energy resources into the electric grid; Boeing Company to demonstrate a automated and self-healing electric distribution management; ABB Inc. to research, develop, and demonstrate a real-time monitoring, control, and health management; and Varentec, Inc. to conduct R&D on a wide range of next-generation power electronics.
I wonder what they use for the below ground sensors... On-Ramp's technology is for M2M communication ULP technology that appears to have an advantage in managing the PHY layer. They must have partnered with a sensor provider that specializes in (GPR) ground penetrating radar-based technology. I remember reading couple of years ago on a technology that used GPR to sense an inch below surface of a concrete layer with 70% receive power from free space @5.xGHz.
Earlier this year at one of the UC Berkeley events, there was a healthy discussion of need for this technology from a PG&E rep. Perhaps On-Ramp Wireless is a company to watch?
Dr. MP Divakar
It is interesting to see such project. Power Grid monitoring is a very important and yet difficult task. Old school monitoring method has been used for long time and it is great to see new ideas flowing around. Maybe this ULP technology is so sexy that people can't refuse. Usually people the power grid industry are so reluctant to change as they just want well proven solution and can't take mush risk.
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