Failures on the grid are often consequence of sudden disruptive events, such as fulminations or mechanical damages. But this is not always the case. The majority of failures is, in fact, related to aging and progressive deterioration of grid components (e.g. junctions, cable connectors, insulators). The occurrence of “Partial discharges”, a localized dielectric breakdown under high voltage stress, is one of the main causes of device deterioration. While other types of discharge are usually identifiable by a signal, such as a relatively smooth glow or a brush discharge in the air, partial discharges within solid insulation are often not visible.
Hence, Enel is looking for start-up or small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to partner with and develop an algorithm capable of using the information coming from the specific sensors (whose typology can be identified by Solvers themselves: sound, current, etc) to evaluate the remaining useful lifetime of network components in order to efficiently plan their maintenance. Eligible Solvers will have an algorithm that is already in development (TRL 4 or more).
This Challenge provides contribution to the following Sustainable Development Goals:
The majority of failures in grid systems is related to aging and progressive deterioration of grid components (e.g. junctions, cable connectors, insulators). One of the main causes are “partial discharges”, localized dielectric breakdowns of a small portion of a solid or fluid electrical insulation under high voltage stress, which does not bridge the space between two conductors. Partial discharges can occur in a gaseous, liquid or solid insulating medium. It often starts within gas voids, such as voids in solid epoxy insulation or bubbles in transformer oil. Protracted partial discharge phenomena can erode solid insulation and eventually lead to breakdown of insulation. This is the reason why it would be most useful to detect them, in order to enforce preventive maintenance on the interested devices. This is hard to do, since even field inspectors often cannot detect them due to their nature (see attached images for examples of deteriorated devices). Partial discharges can be sensed in many other ways, through sound sensors or current distortion analysis for instance. The difficult part, and the focus of this challenge, is correlating the data collected by these sensors and the physical deterioration (i.e. the expected remaining lifetime) of the component under analysis.
A list of benefits that such innovative solution would bring includes but it is not limited to:
Reduction of outages due to devices breakdown (improvement of QoS, avoiding penalties);
Reduction of maintenance costs (maintenance only when needed).
Nowadays field inspectors set preventive maintenance measures on devices, but this is not sufficient. Ocular inspections hardly produce results, since a partial discharge is often not evident from the outside (as evident from the description below).
This Challenge’s objective is to find cost-efficient solutions that allow the detection of partial discharges in order to enforce preventive maintenance on the devices of interest.
Enel is looking for start-up or small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to partner with and develop an algorithm capable of using the information coming from the specific sensors (whose typology can be identified by Solvers themselves: sound, current, etc) to evaluate the remaining useful lifetime of network components in order to efficiently plan their maintenance.
In general, the solution needs to satisfy the following Solution Requirements:
To be an algorithm capable of correlating the partial discharge data (i.e. frequency, intensity, in relationship with the type of monitored network device and historical data), collected by the chosen sensor system, to failure probability and estimated lifetime (must have);
To make use of data collected by a sensor system of choice (e.g. sound, current, …), that should be scalable and cost-effective due to the great amount of components to be monitored (nice to have);
Make use of a sensor system that is both scalable and cost-effective, due to the great amount of components to be monitored (must have);
Possess an algorithm capable of correlating the partial discharge data collected by the sensor system (frequency, intensity, in relationship with the type of monitored device and historical data) to failure probability and estimated lifetime (must have).
Any proposed solution should have at least TRL 4 (Technology Readiness Level), which means: design, development and lab testing of components / processes. Results provide evidence that performance targets may be based on projected or modeled systems.
Video - it is appreciated if the Solvers will submit a video that summarises the proposal and allows Enel to do a quick initial screening of proposals
Collaboration Proposal including:
A description of the proposed algorithm with an explanation of how the Solver proposes to address all the Solution Requirement. The Solver can withhold proprietary information, if necessary, but should provide convincing evidence for ENEL to appreciate the merits of the approach and be comfortable that the solution can effectively work;
A brief discussion of capabilities and relevant prior experience that are relevant for the development of the solution and success of the post-Challenge collaboration;
The Solver should explain what they can provide and what might be required of the Seeker. For example: “I can provide with the expertise, but I would need the Seeker to facilitate access to data”;
A brief overview of the proposed path forward along with a plan for validation (e.g. deliverables, timelines, milestones, and cost estimates);
The Solver should indicate the TRL (Technology Readiness Level) of the solution.
General Information about the Solver including:
The key contact person for this Challenge (including phone number and email address).
Organization/Company name and address (including website, if available)
(NOTE: For most Challenges, Solvers are not allowed to include personal contact information; however, for an eRFP Challenge, it is required.)
This is an electronic Request-for-Partners (eRFP) Challenge. The Solver will write a preliminary proposal as described above to be evaluated by the Seeker with a goal of establishing a collaborative partnership. Upon completion of the evaluation, the Seeker may contact selected Solvers directly to work out terms for a collaboration.
The call is open only to already established companies (start-ups and SMEs) from any country around the world. Individuals are not eligible.
For successful and selected Solvers Enel will provide financial and technical support to develop and test the technologies and selected solutions in the Innovation Lab located in Milan. Startups and SMEs will have access to testing infrastructures in addition to being connected to national and international stakeholders thanks to the global network of Enel Innovation Hubs.
The Enel’s investment will be in the co-development or in testing activities: for each project the necessary amount and the modalities will be evaluated together with the Solver.
If the test/PoC will be successful, Enel will offer a concrete opportunity to scale-up the solution by adopting it on its own business through commercial agreements.
This challenge has a specific Regulations and it is available as attachment at the end of this page. Read the Regulations to see terms and conditions of this challenge and to see if you can take part to the contest. All proposers are invited to read it keeping in mind that submitting a solution they automatically accept the Regulations other than the Terms of Usage of this platform.
A webinar will be organized on the 19th of November for a Q&A session from 3 pm to 5 pm by connecting to THIS LINK
Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (CET) on January 10, 2019. Late submissions will not be considered. However, we suggest to apply before the 5th of December 2018 in order to allow our experts from different business lines to have more time to deep dive into your solution.
After the Challenge deadline, Enel will complete the review process and all proposers will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.
What happens next?
After and during the application deadline (10 January 2019) an Enel technical panel will evaluate your proposal and might contact you to gather additional information.
To give our experts time to ask you questions we suggest to apply before the 5th of December 2018.
Your innovative proposal will be evaluated based on technical parameters (Solution Requirements), economic and business impact for Enel. The presentation of the proposal will also be evaluated.
At the end of the assessment, you will receive feedback.
In case of success, Enel contact staff will get in touch with you to discuss the next steps.
InnoCentive collaborates with Enel to manage this challenge.
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.