The high voltage (HV) market is requiring an increasing number of tests at increasingly higher voltage levels. In order to support this growing business, Nexans has decided to significantly enhance its testing capacity by building a new state-of-the-art direct current (DC) laboratory in Calais, France, that allows for the simultaneous testing of three independent qualification loops.
Each loop is composed of multiple cable sections and joints and is connected to the electrical network through two terminations. It is designed to represent the various configurations existing in power grids. The generators, rated for voltages of up to 1.2 million volts, operate in a controlled environment, which guarantees the optimum equipment availability required for performing ageing tests typically lasting for more than a year.
This new laboratory is dedicated to HVDC cables, a market of primary importance for high-capacity links and connection of renewable energy sources, such as the Dolwin 6 offshore wind farm. For this large project brought to life by TenneT, Nexans Germany was recently awarded a contract to supply and install two 90-km-long HVDC cables that will transport up to 900 MW of wind power, enough to transmit the required amount of electricity to almost one million German homes.
12 HV test laboratories supported by multidisciplinary experts
The Calais Center of Excellence for HV testing occupies 6,500 m² and is now composed of 12 HV test laboratories equipped with world-class generators operating up to 1.5 million volts. It is COFRAC-certified (ISO 17025) and addresses both alternating current (AC) and DC applications. The Center of Excellence is a critical asset for qualification of the cable systems developed by Nexans for its customers and for supporting the Group’s industry-renowned innovation program. The Center played a key role in qualification of Nexans’ 500 kV AC and 525 kV DC systems.
In addition to electrical testing, highly skilled and experienced experts of the Calais Center of Excellence perform electrical, thermal and mechanical modelling along with physico-chemical analyses and thermo-mechanical tests. Such in-depth approach allows to develop a detailed understanding of phenomena involved in HV cable systems, both resistive and superconducting, in order to ensure that Nexans cables and accessories will meet customer needs at commissioning and in the long run. Finally, the teams of the Calais Center of Excellence contribute to continuous improvement of installation techniques as well as technical training of Nexans’ customers and partners.
“As the global energy needs continue to grow, the world will require extremely reliable cable systems for power transmission at ever higher voltage levels for both AC and DC applications”, said Dirk Steinbrink, Nexans’ Senior Executive Vice President, High Voltage and Underwater Cable Business Group. “With its new laboratory, the Calais Center of Excellence will be positioned as one of the leading hubs for helping our clients address the challenges of the future.”