EDP and IONATE join forces to test a cutting-edge transformer to underpin a future smart grid

Wednesday 23, August 2023
  • Technology innovator IONATE developed an all-in-onetransformer that equips the grid with essential capabilities for the energy transition: real-time power flow control and data.
  • EDP breaks with high-TRL technology pilots to test IONATE’s devices in live grids, showing the company’s commitment to driving the cutting-edge of the sector.

The growing electrification of consumption, coupled with the acceleration of electric mobility and the increase in renewable energies, has driven demand for new technologies with the aim of making electricity grids smarter, flexible, and more efficient.

In this context, EDP is testing an innovative solution, developed by deep-tech startup IONATE, which increases data visibility and real-time control of the flow of energy in electricity grids, essential features to support the transformation of the sector and accelerate the energy transition.

The IONATE’s Hybrid Intelligent Transformer (HIT) replaces the passive transformer with a real-time control node, regulates voltage and reactive power with millisecond-level precision by using magnetics in an innovative way. This stabilizes power flows and gives the grid operator a much-needed tool for active intervention. With its new capabilities, HIT increases the grid’s tolerance for renewables and the amount of power it can carry while minimizing wasted power on the way. Ultimately, they will gradually transform the network into a flexible, smart grid, optimizing power flows across the whole system.

This project has already commenced with a design study this summer and will continue with testing with Labelec, before live deployment of HITs with E-REDES in Portugal and Spain, and also in the Brazilian market with EDP. Beyond the initial trial phase, IONATE’s HITs are planned to stay in the grid as permanent assets and help its transition over the next years.

Innovation is one of EDP's core values and, consequently, the strategy that has been defined to create a better and more sustainable tomorrow. The company is therefore committed to seeking out new ideas and developing differentiating solutions that simultaneously reflect its innovative and daring character.

This collaboration with the British startup IONATE was born following the participation of this emerging company in two key innovation programs: Free Electrons, the world's largest innovation program in the energy sector, co-led by EDP, and Energy Starter, EDP's collaborative innovation program, launched with the aim of attracting the most innovative and disruptive startups and scaleups capable of driving the energy transition on a global scale.

“In response to the imperative of accelerating the energy transition, EDP is actively engaged in transformative projects”, explains Luís Manuel, Executive board member of EDP Innovation. “Through the collaboration with this forward-thinking startup, EDP is at the forefront of pioneering a solution that bolsters electricity grids. The IONATE Hybrid Intelligent Transformer (HIT) has the potential to be a game-changer, replacing conventional passive transformers with state-of-the-art real-time control nodes. This strategic partnership not only fortifies grid stability and resilience but also aligns with EDP's commitment to innovation and its unwavering dedication to shaping a smarter and more efficient energy landscape.”

IONATE’s Founder & CEO Matthew Williams says that “EDP is a global shaper of the energy industry. Their bet on early-stage innovation shows just how urgently the grid needs new technologies to deliver our sustainable future. And their confidence in IONATE is the best feedback we can get that we are on the right path to deliver a key solution for the energy transition. We are so proud to have them as our first customer. They have a clear vision driven by industry expertise, and they have been a fantastically supportive partner to work with over the years.”