Preparing next-generation High-Voltage Networks

Voyage of discovery

As a leading developer of cables and accessories, Nexans has signed an agreement with the École supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la Ville de de Paris(ESPCI Paris Tech) whose engineering students were invited to visit the Nexans High-Voltage Competence Center in Calais.

Theory takes form

After a presentation of recent innovations, the group visited the Research and Qualification laboratories where science becomes reality: minute signals of pC and pA are measured at over 1million volts. Then, RTE opened the doors of the end-substation of the France-UK power link for actual observation.

Superlinks for Supergrids

Future networks will combine different cable technologies. Resistive and superconductive conductors, lapped and extruded insulations, will co-exist. The best solution to transmit large amounts of electricity over long distances is DC (Direct Current) technology. AC (Alternating Current) from two interconnected grids has to be rectified and then re-converted back from DC to AC. Nexans cables are custom-designed for a task posing specific challenges, electrically and mechanically. Short links, like Calais-Folkestone, are a 20-year-old example of this. By combining theory with practice, Nexans provides the right design, materials, testing and technical support.

24-hour sustainability

The demand for electrical power is continuing to increase dramatically, with the caveat that renewables play a part in the overall power picture. Since electricity cannot be stored, the sensible solution is to create giant power grids which can take advantage of the fact that 50% of generator capacity is only used to service daily peak loads of local non-interconnected energy users. Long-distance power-sharing means that while one country sleeps, the distant partner will consume, and vice versa. This is the challenge to a new generation of electrical engineers inspired by the ESPCI Paris Tech and Nexans.