On-Ramp Wireless Awarded DOE Grant for Distribution Grid Technology

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded On-Ramp Wireless a grant of $2.14 million to contribute to the improvement of the nation’s distribution grid.

The grant will enable On-Ramp to utilize its award-winning Ultra-Link Processing™ (ULP) wireless communication system to develop and demonstrate the first wireless grid sensor and faulted circuit indicator capable of monitoring underground and other hard-to-reach distribution circuit locations from a fixed installed network. On-Ramp’s field-proven and multifunctional system, Ultra-Link Processing™ enables low-power monitoring and control applications within Smart Grid, water efficiency, industrial sensing, and location tracking. On-Ramp will conduct the project on in partnership with two western utilities.

Large utilities are challenged with managing numerous distribution grid sensors, above and below ground, in a given service area. This often results in the sensors being largely unmonitored until a fault event occurs, usually in an emergency situation. A system that is capable of reliably and securely reaching into the underground sensors would significantly reduce time involved in isolation, repair and restoration service to consumers. Utilizing its technology, On-Ramp will develop and demonstrate the first wireless system to address this ability using the DOE grant.

Smart Grid Applications

The company will work in collaboration with San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison to complete the projects.

On-Ramp successfully demonstrated the ability to connect wireless sensors throughout the distribution grid in a field test with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL) this July. The test involved, combining wireless sensors for Overhead Lines (WSO) from SEL with On-Ramp’s fully integrated ULP system to monitor and report real-time fault indication and condition data. This presented a comprehensive view of the distribution grid performance, results of which can be used for predictive maintenance, grid automation, long-term grid efficiency and capital planning apart from enabling rapid and precise fault location.

“This project demonstrates the traction On-Ramp is having with large utilities, many of which have been looking for a wireless system to effectively connect underground sensors. We are also pleased to continue building on the successful partnership between On-Ramp and SEL”, said Joaquin Silva, president and CEO of On-Ramp.

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