Request for Innovation: Disruptive Innovations and Emerging Technologies for Large Power Transformers

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DESCRIPTION

In collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), TechConnect Ventures is seeking disruptive technologies with the long-term potential to replace the current state-of-the-art in Large Power Transformers for power generation by reducing the overall transformer size and improving ease of replacement.

Responses are invited from individuals and organizations around the world that describe novel concepts, emerging technologies and/or breakthrough capabilities and solutions to address this challenge.

Innovators from every sector are invited to submit a response, including – but not limited to – academia, research, industry, national labs, non-profits, consultants, start-ups, small business and medium to large corporations.

 

OPPORTUNITY

Near-term:

  1. Top technologies will be featured in an upcoming EPRI Utility Innovation Report
  2. Potential collaborations, development and/or demonstrations with EPRI*

Long-term: Potential for facilitated research, development and deployment of operable technologies.*

  • * Contracts, financial terms and timelines are dependent on the nature and scope of the proposed technology. Any and all such agreements are at the sole discretion of and are solely negotiable between EPRI and the respondent, if selected by EPRI.

TechConnect Top Innovators: In addition to potential collaborations with EPRI, TechConnect may select one or more highly impactful responses ("Top Innovators") to participate in an upcoming TechConnect Conference, Expo, Showcase, or Virtual Pitch Event.

 

BACKGROUND

Large Power Transformers (LPTs) are one of the largest high consequence reliability-vulnerable components at a power plant. The failure of a LPT can result in significant consequences for health, safety, security and the environment. Additionally, severe disruptions can cause generating stations to be taken off-line for months at a time, resulting in large scale service disruption while waiting for a replacement to be installed and ready for operation. The LPTs in operation today are based on the basic technologies and designs established during the 1900's, and nearly 75% of all LPTs operating in the U.S. are more than 25 years of age.

The primary issues with existing LPT technologies are their inherent size, cost, complexity, and lack of interchangeability. An average LPT costs multi-millions of dollars, weighs hundreds of tons and requires thousands of gallons of oil for operation. As a result, lead time on replacing LPTs is 2 to 5 years for new construction and emergent replacement means at least 10-30+ days of down time. Moreover, the logistics of transporting LPT components for construction is massively complicated and highly limiting from a resiliency perspective.

In recent years, the United States Department of Energy has prioritized LPT innovations through multiple different programs (e.g. TRAC and ARPA-E) and there is reason to believe that significant innovative solutions may yet exist beyond those currently being funded.

The objective of this Request is to identify the most cutting edge, emerging technologies which can replace, eliminate or offset the size-based limitations of current technologies and designs associated with Large Power Transformers (LPTs), and to further identify opportunities for EPRI to collaborate and facilitate development of such new technology in the near- and long-term.

 

INNOVATION CHALLENGE

EPRI is seeking potential partners of all types to propose novel alternatives to existing LPT technologies based on either defensible concepts, ongoing research, demonstrable capabilities or existing products.

Technologies are sought which can address one or more of the following innovation challenge topics:

  • Topic #1: Disruptive High-Voltage Transmission Technologies to Replace Traditional Large Power Transformers
  • Topic #2: Alternative Designs for the Optimization or Modularization of Large Power Transformers
  • Topic #3: Other Disruptive Innovations, Technologies and Materials for Large Power Transformers

 

POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

Viable submissions to this Request will describe only those innovations which have a direct impact on the Large Power Transformer and its operations. Solutions describing innovations to equipment, facilities or operations that are either upstream or downstream of the LPT in the power generation and power distribution process are not of interest.

Some of the potential solutions to this problem may include, but are not limited to:

REQUEST FOR INNOVATION TOPIC POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS
Topic #1: Disruptive High-Voltage Transmission Technologies to Replace Traditional Large Power Transformers
  • Solid State technology
  • Plasma technology
  • Hybrid transformers
Topic #2: Alternative Designs for the Optimization or Modularization of Large Power Transformers
  • Modular technologies
  • Compatibility with smart grid
  • Development of flexible LPT
  • Design optimization
  • Design standardization
  • Computational modeling
  • Size reduction of traditional components
Topic #3: Other Disruptive Innovations, Technologies and Materials for Large Power Transformers
  • Advanced materials
  • Enabling components
  • Insulation
  • Novel lubricants
  • Logistical solutions

 

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Response Due Date:
Wednesday, July 1st, 2020 by 11:59pm EST