Project Title: To study the feasibility of high voltage power transmission using bare copper cable suspended within carbon steel pipes suspended with ceramic insulators
Research ID: Ref. UCTS/RESEARCH/4/2017/14
Source of Fund: University Research Grant
Research Team: Dr. Ir. Prashobh Karunakaran (Project Leader), Prof. Ir. Dr. Mohamad Shahril, Dr. Lee Man Djun
Duration of Project: 1/12/2017 – 30/11/2019
Research Summary: There is currently no electric grid spanning South East Asia which is made up of islands and peninsulas. But to enable the utilization of renewable energy which is intermittent in nature, a large grid is imperative. Therefore, this research focusses on enabling electric power transmission under the South China Sea. During the construction of the 2.4 GW Bakun dam studies were made by the electric industry on a XLPE based submarine cable over the 630km between Sarawak and Johor but the conclusion was that the losses will be too high to be practical, but bare overhead lines can transmit 7.1 GW of power over 2,385 km in Brazil. Therefore, this work attempts to recreate overhead lines conditions under the sea by suspending bare transmission cables at the center of oil and gas pipes (which is an established technology). This shapes like a longitudinal capacitor but so does two phases of overhead lines. Therefore, just as in overhead lines, separation distance is used to overcome capacitance and eddy current effects. The task in this research is to gather data on the eddy current heating levels on the pipe versus pipe diameter and extrapolate to the larger currents required in power transmission. This research also involved investigation with the experts in the oil and gas industry of the latest practices and innovations to finalize the eventual design of electric transmission within subsea pipes. While investigating with experts, it was discovered that at the forefront of the industry, HDPE pipes are being introduced to replace the carbon steel pipes; this will be optimum for electric transmission.