Patent surge signals tech advancements in substation modernization in power and utilities sector, says GlobalData

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October 11, 2023 (press release) –

The increase in patents for substation modernization indicates a targeted integration of advanced technologies, showcasing a strategic effort to secure innovations that enhance operational efficiency and grid stability. These patents represent a blend of technical innovation and strategic foresight, crucial for moving towards a more interconnected, smart infrastructure in the power and utilities sector, enabling remote management and improved safety in substation operations, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Vaibhav Gundre, Project Manager at Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, comments: “The patents represent a blend of technical innovation and strategic foresight, particularly through smartification, AI, and digital twins, aiming to enhance not only operational efficacy but also grid stability, signifying a move towards more interconnected, smart infrastructure in the power and utilities sector.”

Rahul Kumar Singh, Senior Analyst of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, comments: “The patenting activity highlights a shift towards remote management and enhanced safety through communication technologies and IIoT. By including intelligent electronic devices and automation systems, they reflect a decisive move towards more cohesive, remotely manageable substation operations. This highlights the value of digital transformation and strategic foresight in gaining a tech lead in this competitive field, enabling immediate operational improvements and long-term adaptability.”

GlobalData’s FutureTech Series report, “Electrical substations in Utilities 2.0: how tech is driving the sector innovation,” highlights more than 30 disruptive forces in power and utilities as emerging, accelerating, and maturing innovation areas based on their rate of growth in innovation.

Hitachi Energy patented a self-reliant substation in September 2022z. It features an enclosed switchgear with an automated robot for maintenance ensuring safety by locking the area during active circuits and only allowing entry based on human presence and circuit energy status.

Jiangsu Zhongke Yunmo secured a patent for a transformer substation smart management system in August 2022. The system integrates artificial intelligence, internet-connected devices, and data encryption through a digital twin. Its goal is to enhance data clarity, system functionality, and accountability, enabling improved oversight, predictive simulations, and overall performance enhancements.

Hunan Xiangdian patented a 5G-enabled method for transformer substation remote backup power switch communication in August 2022. This innovation streamlines the process by establishing virtual links between routers and optimizing the packaging and transmission of critical data.

Singh concludes: “The journey towards modernization unleashes challenges such as new risks, cost implications, and the necessity for standardization. Steering through these hurdles necessitates a blend of technological advancements and strategic insights. Overcoming these challenges not only paves the way for enhanced operational efficiency but also fosters a favorable environment for continuous innovation, showcasing that addressing challenges is pivotal in the modernization journey.”

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