In August, a new step of the project aimed at developing technology for smart grids was kicked off. Neoenergia’s initiative, carried out by the Research and Development (R&D) sector and regulated by the National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL), is pioneer in creating national products that seek to improve the operational efficiency of the electric energy distribution network. The investment in truly Brazilian solutions enables lower costs, with positive impacts to the entire production chain in the sector.
“This is an interesting path for deploying R&D resources. The technology nationalization enables more reasonable equipment acquisition costs, while improving the quality and costs of the energy supply. Thus, we develop products for introduction in the market and to be used by Neoenergia’s companies, resulting in operational efficiency”, says José Antonio, Neoenergia’s Research and Development corporate manager.
The executive highlights that one of the Neoenergia’s P&D area differentials is the commitment in developing equipment and applications using technologies that effectively go to the market and may be used both by Neoenergia’s concessionaries and other Brazilian companies. “Finding a similar product in the market is often difficult, especially those produced by local manufacturers, thus our investment represents a disruptive initiative that is also reflected in financial sustainability”, he says.
He mentions the example of the smart sensor, created in 2017 within the scope of a R&D structuring project, focused in improving the network operational efficiency. Until then, no solution with this profile was available in the electric energy market. Today, more than 12 thousand sensors are used by Brazilian distributors as a result of Neoenergia’s pioneering spirit. At the company’s concessionaries - Coelba (BA), Celpe (PE), Cosern (RN) and Elektro (SP/MS) - this number reaches almost 5 thousand units installed.
“The sensor manages the energy balance in each network segment, indicating which points can be improved, both from the point of view of technical loss and commercial loss, caused by deviations or frauds”, explains Brito. Likewise, the R&D structuring project is now improving qualimetric equipment. The innovation works as an additional sensor which aims to increase the accuracy of the point where the network requires repair. This increases the quality of supply and the product delivered to the customer.
Currently, the qualimetry sensor is under tests at Coelba, as well as the communication concentrator, an equipment aimed to access information from the various devices in the network and select the best communication channel to convey data to the Operation Center. “The purpose is to enhance both technologies so that it may be extended to Neoenergia’s distributors, as well as to make it available for sale in the Brazilian electric energy market”, says the company’s R&D manager.
The R&D structuring project carried out by Neoenergia comprises several modules. Started in 2016, it undergoes many steps for improvement, as usual in all innovation cycles. The initiative also contemplates the development of computer applications integrated into the devices. With this, it is possible to access and generate data provided by the equipment installed in the distribution networks. “Information technology transforms gross data into decision-making material, always aiming to improve the operational efficiency”, concludes Brito.