An innovative spirit and hard work are two of our company’s greatest assets. Our research and development teams work diligently to find solutions that make the workplace safer and improve our operations and our customers’ quality of life. Some of our numerous ongoing projects are described below.
- Championed a project with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) exploring a new smart alarm logic for potential chemistry excursions in facilities. The Chemistry Smart Alarm will allow for improved response time by reducing troubleshooting time.
- Presented a second generation breaker racking robot prototype at EPRI’s Switching Safety and Reliability Task Force meeting. The robot was developed in collaboration with ULC Robotics and has the potential to create a zero-harm environment by fully automating the racking process.
- Participated in the Building Electrification Panel at the 2021 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit. Panelists lent their subject matter expertise in a discussion of how to overcome the technical challenges with rapid electrification of the buildings.
- Assumed the role of Chair of the International Electrochemical Commission Technical Committee 129: Robotics for electricity generation, transmission and distribution systems. The Committee’s scope is to standardize robotics applied in power systems, to assist or even replace human workers in completing or carrying out potentially dangerous or strenuous tasks.
- Completed preliminary field evaluation and optimization of the electric safety job briefing app, designed to help mitigate high hazard injuries and allow for completion of comprehensive job briefings. The job briefing administrative portal allows for enhanced reviewing capability and approval tracking.
- Finalized the EPRI project, “Insider Threat Program Management Guidebook for Electric Utilities” R&D and Corporate Security partnered to produce this guidebook, which establishes an operational foundation and maturity strategy for utility companies on insider threat.
- Received commendations from EPRI for leadership of, and participation in, cyber forensics programs and ongoing capabilities development to identify the root causes of cyber incidence and incorporate strategies for incident response.
- Completed a project with the University of Tennessee to select and size a supercapacitor system intended for rail regenerative braking in the NYC Transit system. The project simulated the operation of dozens of ultracapacitors and lithium-ion capacitors using train dynamics models, sizing the system to meet power, energy, and thermal requirements, with a goal of identifying the optimal system.
- Completed the first autonomous drone inspection for investigation and confirmation of transmission tower configuration and replacement planning. The results and efficiency of the drone survey demonstrate its improvement over the traditional manual inspection protocol.
- Launched an evaluation of the long-term thermal-mechanical performance of TS Conductor’s carbon fiber core conductor. In collaboration with EPRI, this project will also perform accelerated aging tests which may help predict the life expectancy of the conductor while operating at the maximum allowable conductor temperature.
- Demonstrated the potential of a Transmission Network Visualization System (TNVS) to maintain continuity of services in the event of a dark sky event when there is complete loss of the energy management system and corporate connectivity. TNVS is a near real time visual tool providing bulk power feeder information and the status of associated equipment.
- Demonstrated the efficacy of a thermal imaging tool for through-cover inspections to reduce jobsite set-up, reduce necessary personal protective equipment, and allow for more frequent inspections. This tool allows the tracking of low-level hotspot conditions and mitigation of them before developing into a higher risk condition.
- Participated in the American Public Gas Association sponsored roundtable to educate members in understanding how natural gas detectors (NGD) enhance the safety of gas distribution for their members.
- Field tested the ZEVAC Mini to augment the use of zero emissions vacuum (ZEVAC) technology by field crews. Designed to be used on smaller pipe sizes, the ZEVAC Mini avoids natural gas emissions from gas mains by pumping the gas out of a gas main that is being taken out of service and into the portion of the gas main still in service.
- Hosted an interactive panel discussion among hydrogen industry experts as part of the two-day Hydrogen Workshop sponsored by CEATI International Demand Side Management Program and Strategic Options for Integration Emerging Technologies and Distributed Energy Interest Group.
- Attended, as an industry participant in the Carbon to Value Initiative, a demonstration of the “first building-level carbon capture project in the City of New York”. The new system takes flue gas produced during boiler combustion, cools it, separates out the oxygen and nitrogen and then liquefies and stores the carbon dioxide for use in future applications.
- Continued development of the country’s first ever all-electric bucket truck. The prototype is currently being designed and built; and upon delivery, a three-year field evaluation will commence to gather feedback on its performance and will help improve any gaps or deficiencies in the initial prototype design.
- Co-led a two-day strategic summit with Brookhaven National Laboratory, to explore the bold vision set out by the New York Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) to address a Statewide energy paradigm that will result in a more sustainable society for today’s citizens and those yet to come by 2050.
- Completed the first round of field testing of Electro-Hydraulic Fracturing (EHF) technology, which uses plasma energy to break rocks exposed during construction activities.
- Participated, as an anchor sponsor of the Low-Carbon Resources Initiative, in the kick-off of the demonstration of the use of natural gas blends of up to 35 percent hydrogen for gas turbine combustion at the New York Power Authority’s Brentwood, Long Island facility.
- Demonstrated the effectiveness and efficiency of a self-contained heat pump system that extracts thermal energy from a building’s wastewater, with cooling capabilities for simultaneous domestic hot water production and air conditioning while reducing harmful emissions and decreasing energy resource needs.
- Joined the Guidehouse-led consortium, Building the Clean Hydrogen Economy, to identify and develop innovative pilot projects and their business cases to use clean hydrogen to decarbonize the energy sector and increase renewables integration.
Awards and Patents
- Awarded a three-way patent, with Palo Alto Research Center and General Electric, for optical monitoring to detect corrosion of power grid components. The system consists of objects designed to corrode before those portions being monitored, and sensors paired to those objects for advance warning.
- Awarded a new patent for a steam trap sensor and its method of operation. The system is comprised of a steam trap body and a disk operably coupled to the steam trap body.
- Awarded a new patent for a system to monitor and operate an underground valve. The system provides for the security of the underground valve by remote monitoring for any unapproved valve access and operation. The system also has an actuator operable to open and close the valve.
- Awarded a new patent for a system and method of monitoring a utility structure. The system includes sensing devices and processors to receive measured parameters and compare parameters to allowable thresholds.
- Awarded a new patent for a system and method of performing maintenance on a wing cock valve of a pressurized gas line.
- Awarded a new patent for a partition cover for a switchgear enclosure for electric distribution equipment enclosure inspections. The cover is designed for safer inspection of enclosures in a live environment.