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Winter 2003
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Special Report:
What's Next for ECEs?
April 2003

A Virtual Hospital for Power Equipment

Virginia Tech is leading an international effort to develop a “Virtual Hospital” for utility transformers and power equipment. The Internet-based database and expert system is expected to help utilities maximize equipment life and minimize power disruptions.

When complete, virtual hospital will include a digital library for power equipment maintenance, information on tests, diagnosing and maintenance, access to experts around the world, and remote diagnosing, training, and education. The aggregated experience is also expected to help researchers develop new information regarding power systems operations and system failures.

“Utilities are operating million-dollar transformers that can have a 50-year life,” explained Yilu Liu, project leader, “and a lot of the existing equipment worldwide is more than 40 years old. With information available on similar aged equipment, we can discover common issues, develop better prevention techniques, and improve diagnosis capability,” she said.

Not only is the equipment aging, but also many of the engineers who developed and maintained the equipment are no longer in the workforce. Project developers hope to tap their collective knowledge before it is lost.

The first section of the hospital, an on-line power transformer diagnosis system, was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). It has been on-line for a couple years and is accessed regularly by utilities worldwide.

 
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Last updated: Mon, Jun 30, 2003