3M aluminum composite conductors double electrical capacity in Brazil project

3M reports that its Aluminum Conductor Composite Reinforced product has been used in CPFL Energia’s power distribution unit as part of an upgrade on a key transmission line in Brazil.

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3M (St. Paul, Minn., USA) reports that its Aluminum Conductor Composite Reinforced product has been used in CPFL Energia’s power distribution unit, CPFL Piratininga, as part of an upgrade on a key transmission line serving a densely populated area in the Brazil state of Sao Paulo, more than doubling the capacity of that line without requiring larger towers.

Use of the light-weight, low-sag conductor in place of a conventional steel conductor enabled the utility to increase power transmission along a narrow right of way immediately surrounded by residences, without disrupting residents or causing potentially costly delays. CPFL Energia serves some 6.5 million customers in four states, with a generating capacity of 1,672 MW, which is expected to grow to 2,174 MW in 2010, as the result of a vigorous expansion program.   

The 3M ACCR conductor was installed on a 3.3-km/2.1-mile line segment passing through a residential district of Várzea Paulista, a municipality of about 110,000 residents, 40 km/25 miles northwest of the city of Sao Paulo. The 88-kV double-circuit line boosts the power supply to Várzea Paulista and nearby JundiaÌ, which has a population of more than 320,000.

“We studied several options and decided that 3M ACCR provides the most reliable, cost-effective solution for delivering more power through a dense neighborhood without creating numerous logistical problems,” says Paulo Ricardo Bombassaro, engineering and planning manager for CPFL Energia. “We were impressed by its high-performance results in other applications where new tower construction was undesirable. We also were pleased that our transmission line installation process went very smoothly and everything is working as designed.”

CPFL Energia is the second Brazilian utility to install the conductor. 3M ACCR is composed of aluminum oxide (alumina) fibers embedded in high-purity aluminum, using a highly specialized and patented process. The constituent materials reportedly can withstand high temperatures without appreciable loss in strength, even over long periods of time.