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Award winning technology detects faults before blackouts

Media release

A Curtin University researcher who developed a technique to detect transformer faults responsible for power outages is the winner of the 2012 Curtin Commercial Innovation Awards.

[youtube width=”560″ height=”330″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9YGPDTueyA&feature=share&list=UUhBLhSHywtT4tCbwDdwubFA[/youtube]

Dr Ahmed Abu-Siada has created a software-based technique that creates an image of how the transformer should be functioning, and then detects faults in real-time without disrupting the supply of power.

Director of Curtin’s Office of IP Commercialisation, Rohan McDougall, said transformers are a vital piece of electricity infrastructure, and transformer failures can be catastrophic, leading to explosions, fires and power outages, making this a critical innovation.

“When a major fault occurs on an in-service transformer, the results can be far-reaching, requiring costly repairs, causing environmental damage and resulting in potential for serious injury – the costs can run into millions of dollars,” he said.

“But this technique created by Dr Abu-Siada is able to identify the type of fault, and even issue an early warning signal, causing minimal disruption to electricity supply and end users.”

The real advantage to the technique is its ability to be applied every 20 milliseconds to immediately detect changes to the transformer. It uses algorithms to provide a visual output to the service technician, who can then identify the faulty transformer and know the fault type they are dealing with before fixing it.

Curtin is currently looking at opportunities to develop commercial relationships to further develop and implement this unique technology.

Professor Xiangyu Wang was named runner-up for developing an integrated system for the iPad and other handheld devices, to solve significant time and cost issues in mega construction projects. The system works by intelligently extracting information from a variety of sources and putting it in the hands of the worker, in situ.

The Early Research Career Award was presented to a PhD student, Chiragkumar Desai, who developed a mini-emulsion method for drug delivery, which improves the bioavailability and safety profile of drugs.

The Awards were established in 2007 and aim to identify new technologies, products or services arising from research at Curtin, with prizes for this year totalling more than $40,000 in cash and in commercialisation services provided by the award’s sponsors.

Curtin’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Development, Professor Graeme Wright, said the winning technology was a fine example of the University’s high level, industry-relevant research and focus on providing a range of practical solutions to community needs.

“Dr Ahmed Abu-Siada is well deserving of this award and the detection of faults in power transformers is a great example of the commercial potential coming out of Curtin,” Professor Wright said.

“All of our finalists and winners at today’s Awards demonstrate the University’s strength in this area and should be commended for their achievements. In the years to come, we will see many more fine examples of products and solutions that offer real commercial potential and provide significant benefits to the community.”

Contact:

Megan Meates, Public Relations, Curtin University

Tel: 08 9266 4241; Mobile 0401 103 755; Email: megan.meates@curtin.edu.au