Engineering and innovation

Engineering and innovationTo introduce new technological and plant-engineering solutions – new instruments and methods aimed at improving plant reliability and thus service quality – Ternai uses mainly internal engineers, who base their work on careful monitoring and analysis of the behavior of equipment and plants, but also avails itself of the specialist assistance of builders and of cooperation with universities, ERSE (a new company doing research on the electricity system), and CESI S.p.A., a company providing specialist services, in which it holds a 39.9% equity interest.

Research on innovation and the development of new engineering solutions is organized in four categories.









Projects and progress made in 2010
Designing towers with less visual encumbrance and/or better environmental integrationHigh-performance tubular single-pole towers
Finished the designing of high-performance towers for 150-kVi lines.
Started a feasibility study regarding high-performance towers for 380-kVi lines. 

International “Pylons of the Future” competition 
Preliminary study begun on engineering of the winning pylon, designed by architect Hugh Dutton.
Upgrading the transmission capacity of existing lines Innovative, high-performance conductors
Installation of a new kind of conductor featuring a high temperature limit and reduced elongation, which are useful for resolving problems connected with distance from sensitive places such as schools, kindergartens, houses, and workplaces. In particular, experience with INVAR-ZTAL conductors consolidated.

Research on additional solutions that use ceramic or carbon materials featuring high electric and mechanical performance, which are especially suitable for renovating lines without replacing pylons.
Rapid replacement of fallen towers
Light towers to use as replacements
Acquisition of kits of rapidly installable temporary emergency towers, which are at the disposal of Terna’s maintenance squads
Early warning of abnormalities
New sensors on equipment and machinery
In the Lacchiarella station, installation of the new sensors on the equipment and machinery of the 380-kV section was completed. Another kind is currently being installed on the 132-kV section. They will be closely observed for a period in view of their potentially widespread installation.
Projects and progress made in 2010
Reduced space and time of electric station constructionIntegrated compact station equipment: Terna introduced this new equipment, which performs several functions (switching, sectioning, and metering) within a single container, thus reducing the space occupied by station construction.
By now the installation of this innovative equipment is routine in plants requiring greater compactness and more rapid construction.
Compact, rapidly installable stationsAs part of the search for technical solutions to ensure that service will be quickly restored in the event of “disaster recovery”, a 150-kV mobile station was designed and built. It is entirely mounted on three trucks that can be transported to the site of use without the need for special means of transportation.
The mobile station was conceived to be quickly installed on 150-kV lines through connections with connector cables. Everything has been factory-tested.
Given the advantages of this solution, a 380-kV mobile station was also designed in 2010.
Compact, rapidly installed stations
New power-transformer project
After recent serious malfunctions in large power transformers, Terna introduced a series of improvements aimed at increasing the intrinsic safety of the same. In particular, the Company will replace ceramic insulators with polymeric ones, which have the advantage of tolerating stress better and avoiding the projection of fragments in the event of faults. In addition, a series of measures will be taken to reinforce windings and cases, which will be tested by the “short-circuit trial” carried out for each kind of transformer.        
After the study to update the specifications in 2010 was completed, orders were assigned for the supply