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KEMA Labs boosts energy transition with major HVDC testing expansion

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Energy Global,

The world is at a pivotal moment in its path to decarbonise and embrace renewable energy sources. The shift towards clean energy is not just a choice but a necessity to combat climate change and secure a sustainable future. This transition is gaining momentum, and one of the key enablers is the use of high-voltage direct current (HVDC) infrastructures.

KEMA Labs boosts energy transition with major HVDC testing expansion

HVDC facilities play a vital role in Europe's energy transition. For instance, they are essential for long-distance connections between countries and efficiently transmit electricity from Northern Europe's offshore wind farms to Central Europe's consumption hubs. What makes HVDC so remarkable is its ability to reduce energy losses during transmission over long distances. It is a real superhighway for clean energy to flow seamlessly across borders, helping Europe meet its ambitious decarbonization goals.

According to the search results, the percentage of reduced losses with HVDC cables varies depending on the length of the cable and the voltage level. Generally, losses are lower in HVDC than in high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) over long distances. For a ±800 kV line voltage, losses are about 3%/1000 km for an HVDC while they are about 7%/1000 km for an HVAC line resulting in a difference of more than 50% less than Alternating Current infrastructure. The market is witnessing unprecedented growth, requiring remarkable production capacity to keep pace with the demand.>

In this context, ensuring service continuity, quality, and resilience of HVDC interconnections for TSOs, utilities, and their customers is paramount. Consequently, thorough testing of HVDC cables is becoming increasingly vital.

Amid the evolving energy landscape, KEMA Labs, the TIC Division of CESI Group, has significantly ramped up its testing capabilities to bolster the growth of HVDC technology. With this expansion, KEMA Labs solidifies its position as the leading independent entity in the HVDC cable market, operating over ten independent test bays worldwide.

A highlight of this growth is the comprehensive overhaul of KEMA Labs' synthetic laboratory in Milan. This venue is being meticulously reimagined to house three specialised HVDC test zones.These modernised spaces will feature cutting-edge HVDC voltage and current generators, automated control systems, and state-of-the-art impulse generators, underscoring the pinnacle of testing technology.

It is estimated that the additional capacity installed, will allow testing of more than 78 000 hrs of cumulative testing, qualifying up to ninr different cable designs. Each of the tested cable, will accomplish a challenging test programme according to international standards able to simulate the entire lifetime of 40 years under heaviest technical conditions.

In addition to its expansion in HVDC testing capabilities, KEMA Labs has also been involved in several notable HVDC projects in recent years, including the German Corridor project. In 2017, KEMA Labs performed four prequalification testing (PQ) on the German Corridor HVDC cable system, which is one of the longest and most powerful HVDC cable systems in the world. KEMA Labs has also tested several other HVDC cables over the past few years, contributing to the pioneering technology transformation requested by the TOV testing, first of its kind in the history performed in KEMA Labs.

The total number of independently operated test bays increase to more than 10, making it the largest HVDC cable testing laboratory in the world.

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