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Oxford’s Lucy Electric launches innovation to power net zero transition

27 March 2024
The Business Magazine article image for: Oxford’s Lucy Electric launches innovation to power net zero transition
EcoTec, Lucy Electric’s new ring main unit

Power distribution solutions business Lucy Electric has launched the UK’s first ring main unit (RMU) for medium voltage networks using synthetic air.

It says the new product, EcoTec, will pave the way for grid operators to reduce the emissions of running infrastructure as part of delivering net zero ambitions.

Launched at the Oxford company’s Technology Day at Silverstone, EcoTec uses a nitrogen and oxygen blend instead of the SF6-gas currently used to insulate critical electrical network equipment.

Although the use of such gases is handled in a highly controlled way, a ban on their use in new and replacement switchgear is expected to be implemented in the UK following an EU ban in 2026.

Lucy Electric is the first company to bring switchgear to market that meets the specifications of UK network operators, providing companies the ability to install the improved equipment ahead of the ban coming into force.

The launch follows years of feasibility and close working with customers to inform the requirements of this key part of the medium voltage network, with a focus on ease of installation and cost effectiveness for long-term network planning and emissions reduction.

EcoTec also aligns with existing concrete slab fixings, further reducing emissions of replacement.

Martin Sweeney, global head of product management at Lucy Electric, said: “Alongside our customers, Lucy Electric is focused on meeting net zero commitments, and EcoTec is specifically designed to reduce the emissions of UK network operators in an efficient and cost-effective way.

“We’ve listened extensively to customer feedback to optimise the design of our switchgear such as embedding the control unit and the smart solutions, including remote control available as standard.

“Lucy Electric has a long heritage as a 200-year-old British engineering business that’s been supplying the UK electricity networks for over a century.

“The UK is Lucy Electric’s second biggest market, and we’re proud to bring the first ring main unit of its kind designed and developed in the UK to meet the specification here, at what is a critical stage of efforts to deliver net zero.”

TriConnex, one of the largest independent multi-utility companies in the UK, is a partner for Lucy Electric in switchgear installations.

Ricky Clark, procurement manager at TriConnex, added: “EcoTec will help us meet our targets for emissions reductions in the long-term as well as supporting our continued growth as a key partner for the UK efforts to decarbonise.

“We’re delighted to work with our long-term supply chain partner Lucy Electric to enable the transition to greener energy networks.

“Their cutting-edge solutions and reliable infrastructure play a pivotal role in our operations.”

Made in the UK for the UK market, the technology will also be adapted for deployment to international markets in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australia.

Born and raised in Berkshire, Dan fell into journalism after completing his bachelor’s degree in English at UCL.

Writing for The Business Magazine and local Biz News sites has given him the opportunity to chat with all manner of small business owners and share their success stories with a wider audience.

Outside of work, Dan enjoys live music, board games and quiz shows, and is making a slow but persistent effort to learn Spanish.

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