In regions prone to severe winter conditions, snow and ice accumulation on high-voltage power lines can lead to reduced structural strength and interruptions in the electricity supply. These challenges necessitate innovative solutions to mitigate the impact of snow and ice sleeves on conductors and safety cables.

Tratos, a forward-thinking company, has introduced a novel concept that leverages distinct surface properties and the ice-repellent characteristics of a coating material to solve these challenges. Tratos’ inventive solution revolves around applying a specialised coating on power line components, effectively preventing snow and ice buildup. This protective coating, inspired by the properties of fluorinated polymers known for their ice-repellent nature, is integral to the cable’s novel design.

Tratos has developed a cable with alternating outer wires – some untreated and others coated with the polymer by utilising fluorinated polymers with water and ice-repelling properties. This innovative design yields two significant benefits: enhanced detachment of snow and ice due to varying surfaces and resistance to icing due to the ice-repelling material.

Tratos’ cable design focused on two key principles: surface differentiation and the inherent ice-repellent properties of the coating. The cable design achieves two significant outcomes by strategically alternating between untreated and polymer-coated outer wires. Firstly, the variation in surfaces facilitates the detachment of snow and ice, thereby ensuring smoother operation even in harsh weather conditions. Secondly, the ice-repelling nature of the polymer-coated wires provides resistance to the formation of ice sleeves on the cable.

Experimental results from the winter of 2018-2019 indicate that the newly devised Tratos cable facilitates earlier ice detachment compared to unmodified cables. The outcomes of this experiment were shared at the International Workshop on Accretion on Ice and Snow (IWAIS) 2019, a prominent conference dedicated to addressing wet snow buildup on overhead conductors.

Tratos’ innovative approach to preventing snow and ice accumulation on high-voltage power lines demonstrates their commitment to technological advancement and sustainable solutions. By seamlessly integrating material properties and engineering ingenuity, Tratos has not only addressed a critical challenge but has also contributed to achieving UN Global Goals such as sustainable infrastructure (Goal 9) and climate action (Goal 13).

Through their inventive cable design, Tratos exemplifies the potential of science and engineering to overcome complex challenges, ultimately ensuring the reliability of energy transmission in even the most demanding environments.

Image source: Courtesy of Tratos

Read more about Tratos here