The OpenLV solution (LV-CAP™)



The OpenLV solution (LV-CAP™) (‘Low Voltage – Common Application Platform’) is a software platform, operating on off-the-shelf commodity hardware. It will sit as an interface between the HV/LV substation assets and the customers it serves.

This solution is analogous to a smartphone. In the case of a smartphone, the development and rapid acceleration seen in applications (apps) has been provided by a wide variety of organisations, covering a huge array of services.

The growth in smartphone apps shows the importance of:

1) Having an open Operating System (OS) that can be deployed on multiple vendors’ hardware

2) The ability to have a central system or store to deploy apps and make them available to new users.

Whilst the platforms are common, the apps used are highly tailored to suit the unique nature of a user’s own needs – no two phones are identical, as no users are identical.

The OpenLV project will trial a similar, open platform, but for a substation, which will be deployed in 80 HV/LV ground mounted substations.

The ultimate aim is for this platform to be deployed in many of GB’s HV/LV substations, each with a tailored set of apps.

OpenLV builds on background IP brought by EA Technology and its partners from a £0.5m co-funded ‘Common Application Platform for Low Voltage Network Management’ InnovateUK project.

The project involved the formation of a £500,000 SME-led collaboration between EA Technology, Nortech and the University of Manchester to develop a novel, common, low cost, robust monitoring and management system for the Low Voltage (LV) network.

It aimed to optimise and reduce costs of asset replacement, reduce emissions and improve security of supply. Based on an open and flexible software architecture, it enabled the incorporation of a range of third party algorithms that share sensor data and can use each other’s outputs as inputs. This not only enables complex decisions to be made locally, but also ensures relevant data can be sent to a central aggregation server to provide much needed insight into the operation of the low voltage system with the aim of reducing the cost of connecting low carbon technologies.

The LV-CAP™ architecture overcomes any dependency problems from third party developers, and enables the secure maintenance and management of containers.

The messaging system provides for robust process isolation and the local storage function enables persistent data to be maintained – two key issues for any form of containerised system. A third party API specification is also available that enables LV-CAP™ compliant containers to be developed by anyone.

The InnovateUK project developed and tested the LV-CAP™ platform in a laboratory environment; the OpenLV project is building on this work, taking the platform out of the laboratory and into a real-world controlled trial.