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Coelba R&D project develops smart sensor

With investments of BRL 7 million, equipment sends real-time network information and reduces service time

Coelba (BA) is participating in the development of a smart sensor that monitors events in the distribution line. Executed through the Research & Development Program of the National Electric Energy Agency, the equipment is being made in partnership with the Lactec Institutes and Tecsys, consuming investments of BRL 7 million. It can measure the current of each phase in a feeder, it records all disturbances that occur at one point.

According to José Antonio Brito, R&D Corporate Manager of the Neoenergia Group, the sensor can monitor in a way that allows to send real-time information about anomalies, such as fallen tree branches. “It monitors and checks for an anomaly. If there is an anomaly, it sends this information to a control center that triggers staff to repair the distribution network”, he explains.

Project Manager, Francisco Santana, says that before installing the sensor, the service time was around four hours. After its installation, it was reduced to 12 minutes. According to him, the decrease came because the sensor sends the information directly to the consumer center, without needing any consumer to complain. “We have attended cases with zero complaint, no one was picking up the phone and calling Coelba between the event and the repair”, he says. This reduction in the service time can positively impact the DEC and FEC of the utility, the quality indicators of the supply.

The smart sensor also has other applications that will be optimized for a larger project of smart networks. Santana explains that the sensor will also be used to balance charge in the system, such as checking if there is any charge deviation or facilitating the identification of the type of defect in the network. According to him, the current equipment reports the defect, but does not specify it. “Depending on the defect, you trigger staff that are more or less equipped or faster or less fast”, says Brito.

The initiative to equip the network with smart sensors must be replicated in the other distributors of the group, Cosern (RN) and Celpe (PE). At Coelba, there are already 400 installed sensors. Brito points out that the sensors are part of a large investment made by Coelba that aims to improve the quality of the supply, with remote switches and new feeders. They will further analyze which solution best applies to consumers. Among other projects that the utility is involved in, Brito cites a smart transformer, equipped with auto-protection, which also serves to balance energy in the low voltage network.

Another positive aspect of the sensors that Brito emphasizes is that Tecsys, the industrial partner in the project, is already manufacturing and presenting the product to other distributors in the country, such as AES Eletropaulo (SP) and Copel (PR), strengthening the national product. “One of the targets of Aneel and the law that created the R&D program was to develop national technology. We succeeded quite successfully”, he concludes.

Source: Secretariat for Power and Mining – São Paulo State

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