Feasibility of Utilizing Optical Instrument Transformers in Reclamation Power Facilities

Project ID: 19219
Principal Investigator: Ryan Hogg
Research Topic: Public and Employee Safety
Funded Fiscal Years: 2019
Keywords: None

Research Question

Are optical instrument transformers a viable and better option to replace conventional instrument transformers in Reclamation electrical equipment? It is hypothesized that converting from the use of convention instrument transformers to optical transformers will provide major benefits to field operations in terms of cost, accuracy, installation, testing, and safety.

Need and Benefit

A paper from a 2018 Doble conference detailed the use of non-conventional current transformers (optical CTs) in the
US. This paper identified the US as lagging other international communities in implementing this technology.
Research into the use of optical instrument transformers is a step for Reclamation into the digital age. The
technologies have been developed by manufacturers, but are not utilized by Reclamation. At this time, Reclamation
does not include optical instrument transformers in specifications for new equipment or overhauls, despite their
numerous benefits.
Reclamation could specify the use of optical instrument transformers, but does not utilize this technology for lack of
knowledge, capability to properly test, and the "if it works why change it" mentality. Based on the benefits of optical
instrument transformers, there are great reasons to pursue this technology and implement it into new, modern
designs. By performing this research into the effective use of these devices in power systems, Reclamation can help
lead the way for the US power system to implement optical instrument transformers in designs and overhauls.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Please contact research@usbr.gov about research products related to this project.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20