Technical themes & Research

The list of HVDC research topics, given below, is long and diverse. It will therefore be necessary to rank and prioritize the projects based on the on-going needs. The broad HVDC research themes include:
  • Long distance transmission and the provision of telecommunications

  • External insulation

  • Corona and field effects

  • Performance of lines and systems in Southern Africa

  • Exploitation of VSC and HVDC cable technology

  • Innovation

 Based on these research themes, the broad HVDC research projects may include:

  1. Long distance Undersea HVDC cables and VSC technology in the Southern Africa.

  2. Long distance transmission and the provision of telecommunications over HVDC lines.

  3. External insulation, insulating materials.

  4. Corona, partial discharge and field effects.

  5. Technical performance of HVDC lines and applications in T&D systems.

  6. Exploitation of VSC and HVDC cable technology. 

  7. Strategic deployment of HVDC Links to enhance system stability in large-scale power networks, national or regional interconnections.

  8. HVDC Grid Reliability: Integrating HVDC systems into existing HVAC electric power grids. 

  9. The effect of HVDC transmission on the grid reliability and performance of electric power systems in this emerging SMART Utility environment.

  10. Emerging SMART Utility Environment and RE integration into Electric Power Grids.

  11. Performance and Stability Analysis of Large HVAC Networks with Strategic HVDC Links.

  12. Refinement and innovative design of long-distance HVDC schemes.

  13. Provision of reliable telecommunications in HVDC systems operating in hostile environments.

  14. Investigation of and implications of anomalous flashovers across line insulators. (This deals with the physical mechanisms of insulator flashover under negative polarity).
  15. Influence of Fire on DC Corona.

  16. Investigation of the conduction and flashover mechanisms of HVDC insulation in the presence of wild fires. 

  17. The physics of gaseous partial discharge.

  18. The physics of fast flashover mechanism of line insulation breakdown under negative HVDC polarity.
  19. Study of the mechanism of pollution flashovers on lightly polluted ceramic and non-ceramic insulators.

  20. Study of HVDC insulation strengths in the presence of live-line tools.
  21. Optimization of line and tower designs in terms of corona and space charge parameters.

  22. Determination of air density corrections for corona on conductors; shield wire corona and its avoidance.

  23. Technical performance of HVDC lines in high lightning prone areas.

  24. Performance evaluation of HVDC schemes (lines and converters) - Concentrate on the causes of line faults.
  25. Performance analysis of Caprivi-Gerus 350 kV HVDC link (Zambia – Namibia); Cahora-Bassa and Inga-Shaba HVDC schemes.

  26. Study of electric and magnetic field coupling phenomena and interactions on hybrid AC/DC lines.

  27. Converting a HV Transmission Line from AC to DC Operation.

  28. Line Loss Minimization in HVDC Lines for Energy Metering purposes. 

  29. Development of VSC Converter and HVDC Cable technology as ultimately being an alternative technique to the use of conventional line commutation converter (LCC) technology.

  30. Investigation into the feasibility of tapping off small amounts of power from HVDC Lines using Novel Techniques.

  31. Compact HVDC Lines. (Being seriously investigated in Canada. There may be scope for such lines locally, provided practitioners are sensitized to its possibilities).

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