ELECTRICAL: Transformer Contract For MeerKAT
Recent Western Cape Business News
ACTOM Power Transformers has been contracted to produce two 5 MVA power transformers for installation in the 66 kV/33 kV Karoo substation which will supply power to the MeerKAT radio telescope – a 64-dish array radio telescope to be built in the Karoo.
The contract, awarded by Square Kilometre Array (SKA) South Africa to Actom Power Transformers in March last year, is due for completion next month. It encompasses manufacture, supply, installation and acceptance testing of the two 5 MVA transformers.
SKA South Africa is a business unit of the National Research Foundation. The transformers have been designed by Actom Power Transformers in consultation with Eskom technical staff in accordance with Eskom’s stringent specifications for power transformers.
“A further additional requirement that has been specified for this application is that the transformers must have an exceptionally low partial discharge to minimise electrical interference,” says Ronnie Russell, Actom Power Transformers’ general manager.
MeerKAT is a world-class radio telescope designed to do ground-breaking science. It will be the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the Southern Hemisphere and is expected to be completed in 2016.
The technology being developed for MeerKAT is cutting-edge and the project is creating a large group of scientists and engineers with world-class expertise in the technologies which will be crucial in the global economy in the next 10-20 years.
The MeerKAT radio telescope is currently being established in the Karoo as a pathfinder project for the international SKA. South Africa, with eight African countries as partners, and Australia with New Zealand, have been picked as possible sites to build the SKA. The SKA will be built and funded by a consortium of countries. The budget for building it is 1.5 billlion Euros and it will cost about 150 million Euros per year to operate.
A decision about where to site the SKA is due to be made this year. Construction on the SKA is scheduled to start around 2016. The first astronomical observations are expected to be made after 2019, with the telescope projected to be functional soon after 2024.
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