A powerful idea
“In today’s digital economy, keeping voltage levels constant and stable is vital,” says Mike Ingram (above), general manager of Research and Development with TVA’s Research and Technology Applications. Starting two years ago, Ingram helped develop, design, and test an innovative machine to protect transmission systems from voltage fluctuations and help prevent power interruptions.
Based on an idea from TVA Executive Vice President of Power System Operations Terry Boston and developed and commercialized by American Superconductor Corp. of Westborough, Mass., that machine is called SuperVAR®. It’s a dynamic synchronous condenser — a “shock absorber for the transmission grid” — that helps stabilize voltage by injecting or absorbing reactive power to minimize sudden large voltage fluctuations. (In electrical terms, “VAR” stands for volt-amperes reactive, the measure of reactive power.)
SuperVAR earned TVA and Superconductor a prestigious R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine and the Technology in the Service of Society ACE (Annual Creativity in Electronics) Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers as “the technology having the greatest potential to provide the most overall benefit to humankind.” SuperVAR also helped Ingram garner his second TVA Engineer of the Year award in five years.
I proudly accept.
General Manager, Research and Development