New monitoring system is first to provide hydrogen gas safety sensing to reduce explosion risk of distribution transformers
Jan 31 2019
H2scan recently introduced the Gen 5 System, a first of its kind hydrogen sensor package that offers the high accuracy, small size, and low cost needed to help utilities monitor and protect their distribution transformers.
Electronics for the Gen 5 System are consolidated onto a 4.7 x 4.7 1.2-million-transistor, application specific integrated circuit (ASIC). The ASIC, combined with three small 1”/2.54 cm by 3”/7.62 cm flex boards, allowed H2scan to develop a sensor package that weighs 1 pound/453 gr, is 5.9”/14.98 cm long and 1.6”/4.06 cm wide. The ASIC and small flex boards drives down the cost of the device in large volumes by 80%, allowing H2scan to sell the Gen 5 System package at a price that is cost effective for distribution transformers.
H2scan works with OEMs including ABB, other transformer manufacturers and transformer equipment providers to sell its sub-assembly sensors and fully packaged products to end customers. Initial interest in the breakthrough Gen 5 System has been very high from some of the largest transformer manufacturers in the world.
“Power transformers are the most expensive and strategic components of any power system and the new small Gen 5 System acts as an early warning device that can alert the power utility to the health of the transformer,” said Dennis Reid, President, CEO and Founder of H2scan. “Demand for electricity is growing and utilities sometimes have to overload these transformers by up to 300 percent. With the Gen 5 System, utilities can better manage these valuable assets, keep their customers safe and keep the transformers in service for a longer time. No other company in the world can compete against what we can offer in this Gen 5 platform. Our ASIC technology can be extended to other sensor applications and we will be delivering some of these products in 2019.”
The Gen 5 System is designed for transformers immersed in oil, which are cooled and insulated using mineral, vegetable, or silicon oil. The sensor can be inserted through any port on the transformer, directly into the transformer oil where it takes measurements of hydrogen gas levels.
sensor head uses H2scan’s industry proven core sensor technology, which utilizes the unique interaction of hydrogen with palladium and a proprietary coating. This enables continuous, maintenance-free operation in harsh, contaminant environments. Gen 5 platform is designed to accommodate other sensors that could be integrated in the existing package using H2scan’s patented flex circuit.
The Gen 5 sensor offers real-time, or step-change monitoring to report hydrogen levels as they fluctuate. Its high accuracy sensor head can track hydrogen levels in the transformer oil from 25 ppm to 5,000 ppm. This range is ideal for smaller transformers where power overloads can cause higher temperatures which drive up hydrogen levels more quickly.
The Gen 5 System is calibrated once while in production and then needs no maintenance or re-calibration for up to 10 years.
Hydrogen is a major fault gas observed in oil-filled transformers. Timely detection of a change in hydrogen concentration is critical in monitoring transformer health and extending asset life. Because distribution transformers are in populated areas, explosions can cause significant property damage and have the potential for loss of life.
In addition to monitoring distribution transformers, the Gen 5 System can also serve other currently unmonitored distribution transformers, including those used on wind farms, trains, and buses.
With an IP68 rating, the Gen 5 System can be submerged in up to three meters of water for up to 14 days. This high protection level makes it possible to use in manhole applications where flooding may occur. The Gen 5 System is also marine compatible. The durable case can withstand up to 300 lbs/126 kgs. of weight. The Gen 5 System is rated for ambient temperatures to 80 degrees Celsius and oil temperatures up to 125 degrees Celsius.
The Gen 5 System communicates to a central monitoring console using the Modbus serial protocol over an RS 485 network. The system has a built-in DC power supply.
Prototypes of the Gen 5 System are with H2scan customers for their review. Low-volume production will begin in April 2019 with high volume production expected in July 2019.
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