Transmitting Success Ampacimon develops innovative Dynamic Line Rating (DLR) systems for transmission/distribution systems operators. We profile the firm and explore the secrets behind its success. Founded in 2010, Ampacimon delivers high voltage line monitoring systems, in particular Dynamic Line Rating equipment that monitor and potentially increase the available transmission capacity of overhead electrical lines. Dynamic Line Rating is a new technology belonging to the SmartGrid world of innovations to actively manage electricity grids. It consists of stand-alone sensors installed on high-voltage lines, coupled to software interfacing with dispatching centers SCADAs. The system consists of sensors installed on high-voltage lines that measure key parameters influencing the maximum thermal capacity of a line (temperature, sag, wind speed). It measures the so-called ampacity of a line, i.e its true, real-time maximum thermal capacity (which is usually significantly higher than its design capacity). This system also allows to reliably forecast this capacity up to two days in advance. Ampacimon’s customers include major global Transmission and Distribution operators. Initially they were mostly Europe based (most major European TSOs are Ampacimon’s customers), but now the firm’s client list also includes big names in North America (HydroQuebec, Ameren), and the company is starting to expand in South America and Asia.
What makes Ampacimon’s sensors truly unique is the fact that they measure all parameters allowing a proper and accurate monitor of lines ratings, directly where it matters: on the lines themselves. That include in particular the wind speed, the most important parameter to properly assess lines thermal capacities (because wind cools down lines and therefore significantly increases their thermal rating). Ampacimon’s sensors are completely maintenance free, and deigned to be commissioned in less than 15mn. The firm’s experts work alongside its customer’s teams at all steps of the project, all the way to a full integration of Ampacimon’s data into grid management software, ensuring that clients’ feel supported throughout the process. Ultimately, Ampacimon’s success resides largely on the expertise of its very experienced team of R&D engineers, and the dedication of its commercial and application engineering teams. Its customers love Ampacimon’s ease of use, the full integration of dataset in their own grid management software, and the fact that it truly allows them to use their grids dynamically. For example, they can benefit from the extra latent capacity of their grid to integrate more Renewable generation in facilities such as wind parks. It is not uncommon for customer to be able to increase their lines capacities by as much as 50%, which translates into million $ saved CAPEX . Not to mention
the fact that Ampacimon systems are typically deployed in a few weeks, while it takes years to build a new line.. Overall, Ampacimon has been growing by over 50% per annum these last few years, starting initially from its home base in Belgiun, and expanding globally step by step. New products have been launched recently to offer customers a wider selection of monitoring products, including at Distribution level. Other features have been added, such as ice detection, to allow grid operators to take early preventive actions when lines suffer from ice loading. These new features will provide the firm with many exciting opportunities for growth and expansion which it is keen to take advantage of moving forward. As renewable integration and increased interconnections are redefining the rules by which grid operators used to play, the firm has to develop and adapt. More intermittent power flows and therefore more stressed grids will force operators to find and deploy flexible solutions to safely, and Ampacimon will be looking to showcase their suitability to meet these needs. In addition, the firm is currently expanding in North America where it will open an office in 2017. It is also increasing its portfolio, looking at ways to apply similar concepts to underground cables, and to widen its offering of distribution monitoring products.
GLOBAL ENERGY NEWS / MARCH 2017 19