An initiative seeks to tackle the environmental damage caused by fluid leakages from power cables by creating a seal-healing fluid.
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With the environment in increasing danger, it is no surprise that there is a growing trend in eco-friendly innovation. Energy-saving inventions are at an all time high. For example, we have seen the construction of a hotel in the artic circle which produces more energy than it consumers. This Norwegian hotel is so efficient that it can share its surplus energy with the national grid. It is not only mainline electrical power which is improving, but batteries too. The creation of a new fast-charging aqueous battery is an example of that. Additionally, the high-power energy storing device can be charged in under 30 seconds. This latest innovation works on an even larger scale. A collaborative project between the Northern Powergrid, the Energy Innovation Centre and system developer Gnosys could save the network 26.5 million USD.
The discovery of a self-healing fluid in 930 kilometres of power cables across the UK could make the network much more efficient. Furthermore, the Fluid Cable Care project presents a solution to electricity leakages across the Northern Powergrid. The solution was found thanks to a project managed by the Energy Innovation Center. The findings discovered that the addition of tung oil and metal soaps to the fluid was key. These substances render the resultant liquid self-healing. This means that when exposed to air, in the case of a leak, the fluid solidifies into a strong mass. This process prevents leaks and electricity wastage.
In the words of Iain Miller, head of innovation at Northern Powergrid, “Self-healing cables have the potential to improve reliability and benefit the local environments. We therefore spotted an opportunity and urgent need for operators to prevent fluid-filled cable leaks and we are very proud to be the leading backers of this innovative and progressive solution”.
This is a real-life example of innovation on a national scale, with incredible effect. Consequently, the potential for other smaller ideas to go big is something that could change the world as we know it. How else could our electricity use be made more efficient?