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Renewable Energy Applications Use CPI Thermals

Lately it feels like there is a race between the widespread improvement and adoption of renewable energy sources, and the worst effects of a rapidly warming planet. We’re not there yet but the dedicated and intelligent work of so many individuals and companies who announce exciting advances every day, gives us hope that we may yet win the race.

It turns out that CPI Thermal switches have a part to play in a number of renewable energy technologies that form part of the overall solution for green energy production. Because of our Thermal Switch capabilities related to both cold and hot temperature detection, CPI switches get designed in to many systems.

Here’s just a few ways in which CPI is doing it’s part to help the green energy movement.

Ocean Based Windmill Farms

Large wind turbines, especially ocean based, can be protected from cold related failure by use of special anti-freeze fluids, that create heated gearboxes or trigger internally heated electronics which can also fail in extreme cold.

This is a proven application for CPI thermal switches which have been used in power grid applications including windmills to detect cold weather conditions which might affect the operation of components. in one such application windmills depend on critical voltage converters to translate the mechanical energy of the turbine to electrical energy. These converters have a lower limit on the temperature under which they can safely operate. Our switch is used as a cold temperature indicator that the converter controller software reads. If the temperature hits the low temperature set point (in this case -3C) it is a signal that the internal heating system for the voltage converter has failed to turn on. To prevent a failure, our switch sends a signal to raise a fault and shut down the converter.

In other applications the same switch closure is used to turn on local heating elements which prevent the gearbox and associated electronics from reaching  freezing temperatures which may exceed their ratings.

The switch closure can also be used in windmills to enable the flow of antifreeze by turning on pumps and generating alarms when various temperature thresholds are reached.

Fuel Cells

The promise of hydrogen based fuel cells is certainly one of the most exciting energy technologies on the cusp of mainstream acceptance.  Fuel cells  are expected to be over a 40 billion dollar industry by 2030 as advances in technology and adoption continue. 

Fuel Cells use Hydrogen Reactions within a fuel cell are carefully temperature controlled to allow for maximum efficiency in energy conversion. That’s where our  AD173 bimetallic thermal switch comes in. This switch has a small form factor that can detect temperatures from –18C to 148C with tolerances as tight as 2.8C.

Deployed at a 35F set point, our AD series switches have been used to initiate anti-freeze protection extending the useful temperature range of outdoor fuel cells.

Electric Bus Charging Solutions

Fuel Cell Bus CPI Thermal Switches Prototype electric buses employ magnetic charging solutions that actually charge the bus while its sitting at each bus stop. Because of the high electromagnetic field in use, CPI developed special versions of our AD190 Thermal Switch with a dielectric resistance up to 5000 VAC. Their double snap action and hermetic sealing option, make them perfect for this application.

Nuclear Energy Thermal Sensing

Nuclear energy may be the overlooked child in the green energy revolution. While this is somewhat understandable given public perceptions of the danger of Nuclear Power plants and the difficulty dealing with used fuel rods. Still most experts consider modern nuclear power plant reactor designs to be exceedingly safe, and that the energy generated will be an important stopgap energy solution on the way to a completely green world.

While temperature measurement inside an active reactor are the province of extremely specialized thermocouples due to high neutron bombardment, it turns out there are a boatload of other temperature measurements that could be perfect for a robust, standalone, high precision thermal switch product like those that CPI makes.  Here’s just a few examples:

  • Measuring the temperature of Cooling Water
  • Measuring Oven chamber temperatures during fuel rod processing
  • Measuring the temperatures of control room electronics and activation of thermal alarms.
  • Measurement of Steam and Generator temperatures.
CPI Thermal Switches particularly our Rod & Tube Sensors have the high accuracy, high temperature capability and fast response times needed by many thermal sensing applications in nuclear energy.

CPI Thermals Can be Customized for Your Application

If you have an emerging or existing application in the renewable energy area, we want to be your partner. Changes to our thermal switches for a specific requirement can be readily made by our engineering team. Set points for your switches are programmable for you in our factory and lead lengths and terminations are fully customizable as are electrical parameters and other elements.

Call our engineering team today to discuss your application. 



Make The "Switch" to CPI

If your momentary switch application demands high performance, we think you should demand CPI. Please call us today to speak with our engineering team about your needs.

(973) 887-9400