Plastic nanocomposite insulation material enabling reliable integration of renewables and DC storage technologies in the AC energy grid


In the GRIDABLE project we will introduce novel thermoplastic polymer composite materials to enhance performance of essential components of smart grid infrastructure. We have proven in laboratory scale that the polypropylene-silica nanocomposite brings considerable improvements especially in dielectric breakdown strength. When applied as insulator in high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable and in DC capacitors, the composite will bring significant enhancement at device level compared to the state-of-the-art. Cost and physical size of the capacitors will be reduced. Thermoplastic composite will enable cost effective production of cables by extrusion. Additionally, enhanced dielectric properties will increase HVDC transfer capacity. This will result in more efficient use of energy and materials. In the GRIDABLE project we will up-scale production of novel dielectric nanocomposite for electrical insulation applications. We will transfer material’s high performance from laboratory scale to pre-production scale. This will be proven by relevant demonstrators and prototypes. The technical advances gained with novel dielectric material will facilitate to enhance power supply reliability. The new level of dielectric characteristics will help to manage volatility of the grid considering variety of power sources. Thus grid efficiency can be increased. The new HVDC cables will allow efficient electricity transfer over very long distances, e.g., from remote low-carbon power plants. This will also ease utilisation of distributed and intermittent renewable energy sources.

Project details

Unibo Team Leader: Gian Carlo Montanari

Unibo involved Department/s:
Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell'Energia Elettrica e dell'Informazione "Guglielmo Marconi"

Teknologian Tutkimuskeskus Vtt(Finland)

Other Participants:
Nexans France S.A.S (France)
ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - Università di Bologna (Italy)
Celanese Production Italy SRL (Italy)
Terichem As (Slovak Republic)
InnoEXC GmbH (Switzerland)
Tampereen Teknillinen Yliopisto Saatio-Tampere University Of Technology Foundation (Finland)
Alstom Grid Oy (Finland)
Universiteit Twente (Netherlands)

Total Eu Contribution: Euro (EUR) 5.574.156,25
Project Duration in months: 48
Start Date: 01/01/2017
End Date: 31/12/2020

Cordis webpage
Project website

Affordable and clean energy This project contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 720858 This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 720858