French cable manufacturer Nexans has opened a new high voltage test laboratory at its Calais Center of Excellence.

The new direct current (DC) center is now fully operational and has a capacity to test cable systems up to 1.5 million volts. Besides, it can allow testing of three independent qualification loops simultaneously.

Each of the loops is made up of several cable sections and joints and is connected to the electrical network through two terminations. The loops have been designed to represent various configurations that exist in power grids.

The center has generators that are rated up to 1.2 million volts and operate in a controlled environment which the company claims to guarantee optimum availability of equipment to conduct ageing tests that can typically last for more than one year.

As per the company, the new lab is dedicated to HVDC cables, which is of primary importance for high-capacity links and in connecting renewable energy sources such as offshore wind to the grid.

It also stated that the company was motivated to open this facility, after it received a contract from TenneT. As per the contract Nexans is to supply and install two 90-km-long HVDC cables that will transport up to 900 MW of wind power, enough to transmit enough electricity for almost one million German homes.

Apart from direct current, the lab is also equipped to address alternating current (AC) applications. The center can also perform electrical, thermal and mechanical modeling along with physico-chemical analyses and thermo-mechanical tests.

Nexans high voltage and underwater cable business group senior executive vice president Dirk Steinbrink said: “As the global energy needs continue to grow, the world will require extremely reliable cable systems for power transmission at ever higher voltage levels for both AC and DC applications.”

“With its new laboratory, the Calais Center of Excellence will be positioned as one of the leading hubs for helping our clients address the challenges of the future.”

Image: Nexans opened the new lab after it won a cable supplying contract from TenneT. Photo: Courtesy of Nexans.