High Voltage Engineering

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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High voltage engineering consists of theories and practices employed to regulate and improve high voltage electronic transmission. Specifically, the field is concerned with streamlining the process of energy transfer that occurs during energy transmission and distribution. This is studied by comparing and contrasting the interactions between various strengths of direct currents and alternating currents, particularly when transmitted over a long distance. The goal of the high voltage engineer is to stabilize the amount of power used, while minimizing the resulting energy dissipation.

Through the discipline of high voltage engineering, the foundation has been laid for mass, efficient power distribution. In the past, alternating current (AC) was the only way to provide large amounts of power, as direct current (DC) was ill-equipped to handle an abundant energy flow. However, with high voltage direct current (HVDC), the precision and control of DC is joined with the strength and power of AC, creating a standard capable of powering entire communities over vast distances.

High Voltage Engineering Concerns

High voltage direct current transmission utilizes a direct current to regulate and stabilize the energy generated by two high voltage alternating current systems. Because its open-ended nature, it may initially appear dangerous to transmit an alternating current at high voltages. However, a DC link can be established to stabilize the situation. The two AC systems feature differing voltages, frequency, capacitance. When the direct current is used as a link between the two, it provides a unifying standard through which all transmissions must pass. As a result, the overall system benefits from the high voltage efficiency of the contrasting alternating currents, but is secured by the basic stability of direct current transmission.

Situations where this dynamic may be especially useful include the linking of two AC systems, divided by a body of water. The strength of high voltage DC ensures rapid power transmission under the water, as well as the highest percentage of efficiency available. Another common implementation of this network is when one of the AC systems acts as the power generation site, and the second one acts solely as the load center. Through high voltage engineering, the DC link between the two systems provides security and complete control of the flow.

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