Advertisements

ASU Secures DOE Grant to Develop Trenchless Technology for Rapid Underground Power Line Installation

by Anna

Arizona State University (ASU) has received a three-year, $4.26 million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a water-jet undergrounding tool aimed at hastening the construction and installation of electric power distribution lines. The project, part of the GOPHURRS (Grid Overhaul with Proactive, High-speed Undergrounding for Reliability, Resilience, and Security) program, is expected to reduce construction times and costs by up to 50%.

Advertisements

The trenchless technology developed by ASU focuses on a water-jet undergrounding tool that enables the simultaneous installation of conduits during the excavation process. This approach eliminates the need for a hard drill bit used in conventional trenchless installation methods like horizontal directional drilling (HDD). ASU’s technology aims to streamline the construction turnaround for reaming and duct pulling tasks, providing a faster and more cost-effective solution.

Advertisements

The GOPHURRS program, administered by DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), targets concurrent drilling and conduit installation methods to minimize inefficiencies in existing medium-voltage (5 to 46 kV) distribution grid construction procedures. The funding supports initiatives to advance high-speed undergrounding construction technologies, promoting a more reliable and secure power grid.

ASU’s trenchless project incorporates excavation and spoil removal systems to prevent ground fracturing and damage to nearby facilities and structures. The technology involves passing high-pressure water through a steering drill head to create a borehole, followed by vacuuming the slurry back out of the borehole to clear the path for excavation.

The project, developed in collaboration with underground utility equipment manufacturer Vermeer Corp. and infrastructure consultancy Brierley Associates, not only aims to lower installation costs but also enhances security by reducing tower components, making the system less accessible above ground. This is a crucial aspect for preventing physical attacks on electrical infrastructure, which have seen an increase in recent years.

ASU’s work builds on its existing expertise in developing HDD methods for installing conduits in various projects, including solar farms and onshore and offshore wind projects. The trenchless technology aligns with the growing trend of utilities moving towards underground electric distribution infrastructure to improve grid reliability and resilience.

The GOPHURRS program, with a total grant of $34 million, includes various projects from businesses, national labs, and universities across 11 states. ASU’s grant, one of the larger awards, underscores the significance of advancing trenchless technologies for more efficient and secure power grid construction.

Advertisements
Advertisements

You may also like

Copyright © 2023 ourmechanicalcenter.com