Innovative Robotic Technology Applies Heat-Dissipating E3X® Coating to Existing Overhead Power Lines
Prysmian Group, the world leader in the energy and telecom cable systems industry, and Exelon, a Fortune 100 company that serves more than 10 million customers through its six electric and gas utilities, have partnered to pilot a new grid-enhancing technology — application of heat-dissipating E3X® coating on existing power lines. This new application process of the E3X technology will increase capacity for utilities on in-service overhead power lines and enable more power, including from sustainable sources, to be delivered across existing transmission grids.
A perfect example of disruptive innovation, in this pilot a robot was used to apply Prysmian Group’s thin, durable E3X coating to existing 138 kV overhead lines, lowering conductor operating temperatures and increasing capacity. Already a proven factory-applied technology that has been used by utilities for over seven years to add capacity when reconductoring, E3X coating on bare overhead lines increases emitted thermal radiation and reduces solar absorption, enabling lines to run cooler, reduce energy losses and avoid sag related safety issues. Now, with the ability to apply this special coating to existing lines, E3X will reduce power grid congestion for utilities and unlock additional capacity, ultimately increasing the amount of energy that can be delivered without the time or money involved in the construction of new lines.
In late-May, the first phase of this pilot validated the feasibility of the technology when the E3X coating was successfully applied via a robot on close to a mile of ACSR overhead lines managed by ComEd, an Exelon company that serves northern Illinois. In the next phase, Exelon will evaluate the performance of the coated lines and consider existing lines that could benefit from additional capacity or lower sag.
Using the robotic application process to apply Prysmian Group's E3X® coating on existing power transmission infrastructure is a first in the industry for grid-enhancing technology.
“A more efficient grid helps us build a cleaner-powered future for our customers and communities,” said Joseph Svachula, Senior Vice President Transmission Strategy & Compliance for Exelon Utilities. “This process can provide increased capacity, accommodating the needs of a changing power grid over hundreds of thousands of miles of existing transmission lines.”
The joint pilot project aligns with the sustainable future initiatives for both companies. Through its Path to Clean initiative, Exelon’s utility business has set decarbonization and climate change ambitions to cut operations-driven emissions in half by 2030, achieve net-zero operations through technology and infrastructure investments by 2050, and support customers and communities in reaching their clean energy and emissions reduction goals. Prysmian Group has also announced a new ambitious climate strategy adopting science-based targets, with a net-zero target expected to be achieved between 2035 and 2040 for emissions generated by its operations (Scope 1 and 2) and by 2050 for emissions generated by its value chain (Scope 3). E3X Technology is proven to reduce line losses for overhead lines which contribute significantly to Scope 3 emissions. This partnership displays Exelon and Prysmian Group’s commitment to drive innovation and set new standards for the delivery of safe, clean and cost-effective power.
“Advanced transmission technologies that increase the transmission capacity of existing lines are an important enabler of green sustainable low-to-no carbon generation,” added Srinivas Siripurapu, Chief Innovation and R&D Officer for Prysmian Group. “Without more transmission capacity to deliver energy collected from renewable sources, it is impossible to reach aggressive sustainability targets. The utilization of this game-changing technology improves the capacity and efficiency of the existing transmission grid and enables more sustainable power to be delivered.”