Erie, Pa.-based Eriez is now the majority shareholder of FaultCurrent Ltd., which is based in the United Kingdom, said Eriez President and CEO Tim Shuttleworth. FaultCurrent developed a unique passive magnetic fault current limiter called the pmFCL. Its innovative design uses permanent magnets at its core to provide a reliable, robust and energy-efficient solution for electrical power grid reinforcement.
“Making this investment in FaultCurrent was a natural choice for Eriez as we are constantly developing and investing in breakthrough products that keep us on the cutting edge,” Shuttleworth said.
The pmFCL protects utility electrical distribution networks from unanticipated power surges and new demands placed on aging and already overburdened electrical infrastructures from the connection of distributed energy sources. The patented technology behind this next-generation fault current limiter has been achieved through a combination of magnetic engineering insights, including using ferrite permanent magnets to saturate a network of inductors.
It provides additional fault current headroom, presenting a low impedance during normal “in service” current flows until an abnormal fault current instantaneously forces the device into a higher impedance state. In doing so, it allows time for the power system’s existing infrastructure to react to isolate the fault safely. Post-fault, the pmFCL instantly recovers, ready to protect the network again.
FaultCurrent Ltd. was incorporated in July 2012 to develop a new generation of fault current limiters based on pioneering research and development work carried out by Dr. Jeremy Hall at the Wolfson Centre for Magnetics at Cardiff University. Early stage funding was provided by Fusion IP, now incorporated into the IP Group.
“The project attracted attention—and subsequently grants—from the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) department of the UK government,” says Eriez-Europe Chairman Andy Lewis. “Eriez Investments Ltd. has a majority shareholding position, having cumulatively invested a seven-figure sum in the past two years, with the IP Group and FaultCurrent Ltd. company directors and former directors holding the remaining shares.”
FaultCurrent Ltd.’s board of directors is comprised of Lewis, Martin Ansell, Hall and Andy Cheer.