Graham McGuigan, Product Line Leader, GE Grid Solutions Monitoring & Diagnostics, Leendert-Jan Nijstad, COO PhotonFirst
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Why we write about this topic:

The partnership is a milestone. The old world – we still know General Electric from household electronics in the 1950s – is seeking support from the new. The collaboration also symbolizes the now widely recognized importance of the new key technology of (integrated) photonics.

With the acceleration of the energy transition, the reliability and optimization of critical components of the power grid, such as high voltage and grid transformers, becomes even more important. Real-time measurement of the operation can make networks smarter and safer. Optical systems based on integrated photonic chips offer new opportunities for this purpose. Photonics applications can measure transformer performance in a scalable way and at a relatively low cost.

GE Grid Solutions‘ Monitoring & Diagnostics group has selected Eindhoven-based PhotonFirst to develop and deliver this type of transformer measurement system. The partners have agreed to build solutions that can be used in both new transformers and existing networks. In the process, the photonic measurement systems will be integrated with GE’s existing software platform. PhotonFirst’s measurement applications monitor data on temperature, pressure, vibration, and more in various systems. “This collaboration is a perfect fit for this and maximizes the unique characteristics of integrated photonics,” says Leendert-Jan Nijstad, COO of PhotonFirst.

Reliability and stability

Graham McGuigan, responsible for GE Grid Solutions’ Monitoring & Diagnostics group, says that through the collaboration, GE customers will get better information about the state and functioning of their systems. “This increases the reliability and stability as well as their financial efficiency. Network operators can make more informed operational decisions and schedule maintenance based on the current state of maintenance of their network.”