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Electricity transmitted with reduced losses - a groundbreaking project by KGHM and the Consortium of the AGH, TFK, and the Ł-IMN

Tuesday, 15 November, 2022
An innovative technology using copper and silver alloys is being tested in the Copper Belt. Low-loss power cables have been installed in the Polkowice - Rudna Zachodnia line. Their strength parameters and the actual increase in their current carrying capacity are being checked. The electricity transmission losses on the experimental section of the line are about 20% lower.

The project results from the combination of science and business in a joint undertaking of KGHM and the Consortium of the AGH University of Technology (AGH), Tele-Fonika Kable (TFK), and the Łukasiewicz Research Network - Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals (Ł-IMN), co-financed by the National Center for Research and Development under the CuBR Program.

Most of Poland’s power lines are steel-aluminum conductors with cores that do not conduct or poorly conduct electricity. Copper, on the other hand, is characterized by high conductivity. This is the basis of the project, which has made it possible to manufacture cores for electrical cables from copper-silver alloys, which have the following advantages:

  • high strength;
  • high conductivity;
  • high operating temperature;
  • high current carrying capacity; and
  • low electricity transmission losses.

Cables - comparison

The innovative technology proposed by the universities and KGHM will make it possible to manufacture cables that are durable and will enable increasing the current carrying capacity and reducing the transmission losses of power lines. In the future, it can be used to upgrade power grids.

KGHM is carrying out the project with the Consortium in cooperation with the National Center for Research and Development under the CuBR Program. The Consortium has developed a technology for manufacturing high-strength cores for power cables. Approximately 1,500 kg of copper provided by KGHM were used for the tests. After laboratory tests, field testing was carried out.

The cables were installed in the power grid between Polkowice and Rudna Zachodnia in a section more than 300 m long. The grid supplies electricity to the facilities of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. The tests will take at least a full year. The project would not have been possible without the involvement of Tauron.

Both the concept and the materials used are unique: there are no such cables offered in the market yet. The production technology and the cable designs are protected by patents in Poland and abroad.

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