New materials as the US modernizes its high-voltage network

The US electricity grid is aging rapidly and a vigorous process of modernization is taking place, to facilitate a new era for electrified communities and to maintain reliability.
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Increased urbanization drives growth

Today, more than 4 billion people – more than half of the world’s population – live in cities. This trend is expected to continue. By 2050, almost seven out of ten people in the world will be living in cities. With more than 80 percent of global GDP being generated in cities, urbanization can contribute to sustainable growth if managed well. At the same time, urbanization brings major challenges. One of these challenges is to meet the urban areas’ ever-increasing need for electricity. Urbanization, with the associated increase in the number of middle-class households and with the cities’ energy-intensive goods and services, increases total energy consumption.

The US electricity grid is aging rapidly. The US Department of Energy has estimated that 60-70 percent of power and transformation equipment is 25-30 years old or older. A vigorous process of modernization is now taking place, not only to facilitate a new era for electrified communities or to meet the needs of urbanization, but also to maintain reliability. Investments in the electricity grids have almost doubled since the turn of the millennium, amounting to slightly more than USD 50 billion annually.

The project demonstrates our combined capacity in HEXPOL Compounding Americas. This amounted to real team work, involving everything from sales and development to purchasing, production and field technicians.

HEXPOL Compounding Americas has provided cable manufacturers in and outside the US with high-quality materials for high-voltage cables for many years. A few years ago, an exciting new challenge appeared. An American company who is a world leader in power transmission supplies, sought a partner to assure the quality and reliability of its wide range of advanced insulators. The challenges were several. Getting non-conductive materials, such as silicone, to adhere to glass, very small tolerances in filling complex molds and maintaining competitive prices. After one year of testing, involving intensive efforts at HEXPOL’s R&D center and with field technicians in place at the customer’s plants, HEXPOL was able to deliver solutions that met all of the customer’s requirements. With new and completely unique recipes for EPDM and silicone, it was possible to assure superior safety and quality for the customer and a long-term contract for HEXPOL. 


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