A growing economy and skyrocketing population need more electricity. But doing it without displacing residents will take an innovative update to traditional power lines.
“Scarcity of space prompts people in Mumbai to build homes wherever there is space.”
- Mohan Nair
EMD Sales Manager, 3M India
In crowded Mumbai, many homes are built on the legs of suspension towers. With a density of a million people per square mile, space is precious. And the towers are free, strong and available.
At 20.5 million people, Mumbai is India’s most populous city, and it demands more electricity. But it’s nearly impossible to upgrade existing towers without destroying the homes built on and around them.
It’s only 6 weeks before the 2008 Olympic Games, and China needs more power. But there’s no time to build new towers. Turning to 3M, the Chongqing Electric Power Corporation chooses the same solution that will ultimately help Mumbai.
“We required a [power line conductor that] could be installed quickly and reliably within the existing infrastructure." .”
- Wang Xinkuan
Chief Design Engineer, Chongqing Electric Power Corporation
Herve Deve and his team of 3M scientists found that an aluminium composite for the conductor core was better than the traditional steel one - just as strong, but lighter. It could carry more power and would sag less.
“It carried twice as much power at half the weight. We realised immediately that it meant utilities wouldn’t need to build stronger or taller towers.”
- Herve Deve
Technical Manager, 3M Electrical Markets Division
Deve and his team wanted to find a way for power lines to carry more electricity with considerably less sagging. More electricity means more heat, which means more sag. And when power lines sag, they can hit a tree or another transmission line, causing an outage. It limits the power they can carry.
In Chongqing, the new power lines were installed on existing towers in only two weeks. The nearby Olympic venue had the power it needed without disrupting neighbouring communities. Then, a year later, the same ACCR technology was used in Mumbai. And no-one lost their home.
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