Sensformer®: Digital Twin Operation in Australia

Siemens has installed a trial digital twin operation system at an HVDC transformer converter station that belongs to the Basslink interconnector between Victoria and Tasmania in Australia. The solution allows simulation of thermal stress on a transformer and thus helps the operator to optimize and control the transformer performance and lifetime consumption.

Sensformer® advanced: first pilot project in Australia

Since the launch of Sensformer® at last year’s Hannover fair, Siemens delivers Sensformer® units with connectivity worldwide. The successful concept of the digital transformer conquers the world – and is continuously evolving. Now the first Sensformer® advanced project was installed in Australia.

 

The 400-kV Basslink transmission line that interconnects Victoria and Tasmania in Australia was installed in 2006. While up to now it has been operated according to the operational limits of its components and the substation itself, nowadays it is sometimes required to transfer the maximum load in order to cover the energy load peaks either in Australia or in Tasmania. As the energy demand is still further increasing, it is important for the operator to gain knowledge on the behavior and ageing of the equipment and thus ensure their functionality over the planned lifetime.

Digital twin operation

An inspection of the most significant components such as converter valves, cables and power transformers showed that the equipment is generally in a good state. In particular, the HVDC transformers (196 MVA HVDC classic units for the 550-kV level on the high voltage side) are still in a healthy condition after 10 years of operation. To get more insight on their ageing and behavior under full load, they were equipped with additional sensors that allow the operator to get a complete picture of the thermal conditions in real time. With the data measured, significantly improved simulation and visualization of thermal images of the transformer now becomes possible. By logging and documenting these pictures, an individual thermal model can be set up. It simulates future transformer operational conditions based on a pre-defined set of parameters and user-defined parameters. Consequently, an improved load prediction algorithm can be implemented for a pre-defined loss of life scenario and for a given time in operation. This so-called digital twin operation enables prediction of loads for the transformer and the transmission line, based on a real-time image of the transformer based on the operation of the individual unit. Basslink’s site engineer Mark Bostedt is convinced that the digital twin will boost the interconnector’s operation: “Siemens’ continuing close cooperation with Basslink is assisting in the development of new software models that will benefit the ongoing successful operation of the Basslink interconnector. Both companies are working collaboratively to reach a favorable outcome.”

Digital connection for optimized operation

Dr. Beatrix Natter, CEO of Siemens Transmission Products also praises the solution: “Having launched our digitally connective transformer portfolio called Sensformer® last year, with this project we are taking digitalization in substation equipment one step further. This launch of a digital twin in power transmission already gives us a glimpse of how substations and energy transmission will be operated and optimized in future.”

 

The pilot system at Loy Yang converter station was installed in mid-2018. The results during the first months of operation have been showing good accuracy. This is remarkable since the system was installed on a transformer that had already been in operation for 10 years. The pilot stage is still ongoing but the planning is to install the same system at all three transformers for the Loy Yang converter station so as to enable the most powerful operational capability of Basslink in the future.

Siemens Transmission Products

Transmission products play a vital role in the energy value chain. Siemens Transmission Products offers all key elements including power transformers, gas-insulated and / or air-insulated switchgear and components, individually or bundled, with related engineering. With our global factory network and leading innovations we provide the highest level of quality and reliability to support our customers in achieving their objectives.