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back to article China begins work on world-beating MEGA power cables

China’s apparently unceasing efforts to lead the world in every conceivable field continued on Sunday after engineers in the western region of Xinjiang began construction of what is claimed will be the largest capacity power line on the planet. The 800 kilovolt (kv) ultra-high voltage power transmission line is being built by …

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Meh

Power Calcs

I make this an average continuous power delivery of 4.2 GW. I assume the 'world beating capacity' of 8 GW is because of a factor of two margin in the design?

How does this compare to other notable power transmission systems?

(Am I the only one who thinks that '37 billion kWh per year' is a clumsy way of expressing energy units?)

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Headmaster

Re: Power Calcs

I think '37 billion kWh per year' is actually a clumsy way of expressing power.

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Re: Power Calcs

I think what's being said (rather inelegantly) is that the line has a capacity of 8GW, with an average annual utilisation of just over 50%.

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JBR

Re: Power Calcs

kW=power

kWh=power used

Reg unit required?

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Unhappy

Re: Power Calcs

Whilst we're here, 8 million kW is a clumsy way of writing 8GW.

My guess is that whoever wrote the English-language press release doesn't actually know what a gigawatt is. That's fair enough, I suppose. I haven't a clue what it is in Chinese. If only there was a "tech news" website which aggregated all these press releases and rewrote them with the proper engineering terminology...

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Boffin

Re: Power Calcs

@JBR

kW = power

kWh = energy

since Watt = joules/second you are dividing energy by time then re-multiplying it by time.

madness i say madness.

just stick to Joules and Watts much easier...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Power Calcs

kWh = Energy not power

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Re: Power Calcs

> kWh=power used

= Energy. More specifically:

1,000 W x 3,600 seconds/hr = 3.6 MJ

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Re: Power Calcs

> I make this an average continuous power delivery of 4.2 GW.

Phew, so did I.

>(Am I the only one who thinks that '37 billion kWh per year' is a clumsy way of expressing energy units?)

No.

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Boffin

More than enough...

... to power a couple of Flux Capacitors then

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Re: More than enough...

4.2 gigawatts! 4.2 gigawatts. Great Scott!

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Paris Hilton

Re: More than enough...

What's that in PEU (Paris Equivalent Units) then? 4.2 Jugawatts?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More than enough...

" What's that in PEU (Paris Equivalent Units) then? 4.2 Jugawatts?"

Petahamsters?

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Silver badge

Re: More than enough...

PETAHampsters? I take it that's a new PETA breakaway movement devoted solely to destroying Freddie Starr?

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Gold badge

Re: More than enough...

Hamsters and breakaway makes me think of Richard Gere.

I seriously need to get some coffee..

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Headmaster

Re: More than enough...

Having worked for The Hamsters for more than 15 years I can state quite categorically that there's NO FUCKING P IN HAMSTER!!!!!

Sorry, just a long-time irk. I feel slightly better now.

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Thumb Up

NO FUCKING P IN HAMSTER!!!!!

Don't apologise matey! I have seriously improved my spelling thanks to the grammar Nazis here in these forums! No P in Hamster - got it! Will add that to no ' in 1980s.

People like you provide a valuable service to those of us unfortunate enough to be educated under a combination of Thatcher, Major and Blair!

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Silver badge

Re: NO FUCKING P IN HAMSTER!!!!!

Except that there can be - it's a (secondary) alternate spelling.

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Happy

Re: NO FUCKING P IN HAMSTER!!!!!

...and in the right situation there *could* be an apostrophe in "1980s"

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Headmaster

Re: NO FUCKING P IN HAMSTER!!!!!

...and in the right situation there *could* be an apostrophe in "1980s"

Only to clarify an ambiguous meaning or if it's possessive.

Or, of course, if one is a greengrocer.

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Thumb Up

Re: NO FUCKING P IN HAMSTER!!!!!

Blimey - you learn something new everyday - firstly that you can have 's and Ps and secondly that sometimes grammar Nazis do actually talk out of their arses after-all!

It's good to have a second opinion - thanks guys!

I have completely forgotten what the original point of this thread was now!

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Coat

I'm doing a Columbo here...

...Just one more thing - dose anybody else agree this thread is a contender for El Reg's "most off-topic forum thread" award? If so what do we win?

Mine the grubby flasher's mac.

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Anonymous Coward

El Reg Alternative Units

A hamster is reasonably capable of 0.15 Watts, and assuming a hamster can only be relied on to run for 3 hours a day... by my calculations (i.e. 1 Watt = 53.33 Hamsters) the El Reg Alternative Unit measurement here would be:

0.224 Terahamsters

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Headmaster

Re: NO FUCKING P IN HAMSTER!!!!!

"Except that there can be - it's a (secondary) alternate spelling."

Not in any dictionary I know of.

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Trollface

Re: NO FUCKING P IN HAMSTER!!!!!

"Blimey - you learn something new everyday - firstly that you can have 's and Ps and secondly that sometimes grammar Nazis do actually talk out of their arses after-all!"

Don't believe everything some stranger may tell you.

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Gimp

Re: NO FUCKING P IN HAMSTER!!!!!

Damn I'm probably guna be offered sweets and kidnapped by some of you lot at this rate! Taken back to your secrete underground, tin foil lined, tech dungeon! Damn stranger danger getting me into trouble again!!!!!

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Coffee/keyboard

Terahamsters is..

.. so totally, totally epic it deserves an award. Seriously. I think my recently partially mended ribs have just snapped again - worse, I need a new keyboard now. Bwahahahaha...

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Anonymous Coward

Russians tried a 1MV delivery system nearly 20 years ago

Russians tried a 1MV delivery system nearly 20 years ago from Ekibastuz to the European part of the USSR. It was trumpeted very loud and there were even articles describing the designs in their pop-sci magazines (Nauka i Zhizn if memory serves me right).

IIRC, end of the day it was not worth it so they ended up running a couple of 600Kv (which is their de-facto large capacity standard anyway). I may be wrong of course.

In any case - this is _NOT_ earth shattering, it is the usual "Chinese copy Russian or Western tech at reduced capacity and claim world first".

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Go

Re: Russians tried a 1MV delivery system nearly 20 years ago

I remember that. In fact as soon as I started reading this article I thought, "didn't the Russians build a 1MV power line quite some years ago?"

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Re: Russians tried a 1MV delivery system nearly 20 years ago

This is a DC line - it's capable of transporting massive amounts of power with low losses and on relatively compact lines.

The Russian 1MV test line was AC. It had massive losses and the towers were absolutely frickin' enormous. I don't think it's still in service.

This is news; no-one has deployed 800kV DC commercially before. This is a fairly epic bit of electrical and mechanical engineering. IIRC, the valve stacks alone are about 60m high...

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It's kV not kv, BTW

The unit sign for volt is the upper-case V, not the lower-case v.

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Re: It's kV not kv, BTW

Ah, someone got there before I did. Glad I'm not the only one who knows their units!

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Not that high power

A standard dual circuit 3 phase 4 conductor 400kV line as used in the main transmission lines in the UK can carry 1kA per conductor for a total power of over 6.7GW. The China link is high voltage but not very high power given the voltage.

The high voltage is probably to reduce the amount of aluminum (or copper) needed for the line (doubling the voltage halves the amount of conductor needed).

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Bronze badge

Re: Not that high power

Very long distance though. If you use cable materials whose cost is linearly proportional to distance, losses will also be linearly proportional. If your transformers (and rectifiers if DC is used) can handle higher voltages, and if this didn't lose more energy through corona discharge, doubling the voltage would quadruple the capacity of the line without increasing losses which are proportional to current.

Anyone here with expertise about the effect of corona discharges in electric transmission line designs ?

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Bronze badge

Re: Not that high power

Might be pretty good at thwarting copper thieves, too, no? A would-be-copper-theif-inverted-ito-a-crispy-critter every 200 km might cast the country into a time-warping brownout, hehehe.... Unless these things are very, very buried....

If any get to within the dam-burst zones of the Three Gorges Dams, and got flooded, what might that do to the system overall? Would breakers (or their equivalent devices) be tripping all over the country? IF hey have bad luck restoring power at night, that side of the Globe might look like a bicyclist's strobe to any *nauts who happen to be flying over (assuming the light show penetrates any then-current pollution).

But, it got me wondering whether this is a backdoor prototype for Blue Energy (lol!), to energize a Project Genesis.

Seriously, could this be tapped in to by nuclear reactors later if that 2 trillion tons of coal reserves gets sucked up or is so toxic that burning it becomes untenable? What kind of conversion systems would be candidates to supplant coal plants if/when it becomes necessary?

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Anonymous Coward

Long history

Wiki has a list of HVDC projects

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_HVDC_projects

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Re: Long history

Is it DC? I was wondering this, and didn't see it in the report.

Always intrigued by thoughts of mahoosive transistors / valves / mercury rectifiers / whatever they use to tie into HVDC lines.

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Re: Long history

Yes, its DC at very high voltage, you then only get loses of around 1% per 1000km

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Silver badge

Re: Long history

I don't think they use any of those. As far as I know they use thyristors.

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Headmaster

It doesn't bode well...

...when they can't even spell sulphur correctly.

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Unhappy

Re: It doesn't bode well...

I know how you feel (I also use the suplhur spelling), but unfortunately Merkin influence got in the way and the IUPAC went and ratified the "sulfur" spelling.

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Silver badge

Re: It doesn't bode well...

It's okay - we won the aluminium/aluminum war at the IUPAC.

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Re: It doesn't bode well...

still, better than most peoples cantonese on these forums.

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Coat

Re: It doesn't bode well...

and their mandarin (putonghua), which is likely to be more relevant.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It doesn't bode well...

没错!

虽然中国文字是一样的,我相信

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Re: It doesn't bode well...

Re:

没错!

虽然中国文字是一样的,我相信

Sometimes it is, sometimes not.

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Holmes

Re: It doesn't bode well...

Re: "沒錯!

雖然中國文字是一樣的,我相信"

Traditionally, yes, but simply, no.

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Alert

Corona discharge?

Assuming it's not buried underground, this would sound EEvil in the rain!

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Higher voltage reduces transmission losses (at the cost of greater clearance distances/insulators), which probably explains where the

"We can reduce 317,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and 267,000 tons of nitrogen oxide which would otherwise be produced during the transportation," quote comes from, though without stating what this is compared to, these figures are meaningless - 800kV Vs. 400kV? 800kV Vs. 1000V?

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Anyone else notice the timescales here?

Work started on Sunday, they aim to be complete in 2014. Lets assume they've 'only' aiming for a 2 year turnaround - 1373 miles in 2 years, 1373 / (365 * 2) = 1.88 m/d

That's nearly 2 miles a day that will be completed. Underground, or over ground, that seems like a pretty damn impressive daily goal.

I'm guessing in the UK we still work in yards per day on a project such as this...?

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