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Increasing global adoption of Borealis materials for XLPE cables in high voltage underground application

Borealis A/S : 08 April, 2002  (New Product)
Borealis, the leading global supplier of polyethylene materials to the wire and cable industry, sees cross-linked polyethylene cables (XLPE) as cost-effective and reliable solutions with low environmental impact.
All major utilities worldwide are facing formidable challenges in transmitting the huge and rising volumes of electricity required by consumers. Borealis, the leading global supplier of polyethylene materials to the wire and cable industry, is helping customers to address these challenges with its materials for cross-linked polyethylene cables, XLPE, which are increasingly seen as cost-effective and reliable solutions with low environmental impact.

Traditionally the transmission of power has been by overhead cable and where supply needed to be fed underground, at city-interfaces for example, oil-filled cables have been used. This technology, used worldwide, which utilises paper-wrapped cable within an oil-filled metal casing was developed in the 1930ís and 1940ís, exhibits a number of drawbacks. Because of the nature of the system and a high level of the transmitted energy is lost and, moreover, because the system is reliant on oil it incurs a high maintenance cost. Furthermore, should the metal enclosure (tube) for the oil, made of lead or aluminium, be breached either by accident during excavations or through the process of ageing, oil leakage can become an environmental issue. The energy losses, maintenance burden and low environmental impact make XLPE cables the preferred solution.

Since its introduction of cross-linked polyethylene for the insulation of power cables in the 1960ís Borealisí XLPE cables became the industry standard for 1kV to 150kV applications. During the last 10 years Borealis has continued to drive the technology for these compounds enabling the safe design and production of high stress XLPE cables suitable for progressively higher voltages. Having worked extensively with manufacturers to meet their needs for 275 kV cables, the company directed its activities to developing materials for systems operating at 400 kV, and XLPE cables for that voltage level have been used for major installations in the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Denmark and Taiwan.

The operational experience obtained at 400 kV provided the foundation for ABB Energiekabel to use XLPE cables operating at 525 kV, one of the highest voltage rated cables in the world, and which are now installed in a hydroelectric power plant at the Dachaoshan Dam in China. The XLPE compound engineered by Borealis has played a significant role in the success of this innovative project and illustrates Borealisí focus on addressing real needs with the development of products that deliver cost-effective and reliable solutions to end-users.
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