Energy (Oil & Gas)

Microwave Marketing work in a number of energy markets including Oil and Gas, utility monitoring, Smart Metering, Pipe line, ‘Down Hole’, Satcom, Smart Grid and many others.

Radio Networks are supporting Smart Grid deployments around the world. This includes a variety of operational and energy applications including smart meters, smart appliances, renewable energy sources, and energy efficiency improvements.

Smart meters work with a smart energy monitor, which will link via wireless to allow the user to directly monitor usage in real time.

Supporting advances in network monitoring and IoT, companies such as SigFox have been established. Sigfox builds wireless networks to connect low-energy objects such as electricity meters, smart watches, and washing machines. These devices need to be continuously on and emitting small amounts of data. This technology is primarily aimed at the Internet of Things (IoT).

Sigfox devices cannot carry heavy amounts of data, being able to handle approximately 12 bytes per message, and at the same time no more than 140 messages per device per day. However, this enables the transmission of simple messages. This is due to the fact that with 12 bytes one can represent any number between 1 and 79 octillion, which translates to a myriad of control codes. These can be used for a variety of applications such as geolocation and tracking, monitoring a public defibrillator station to know when someone uses it or parking space monitoring and billing. Sigfox devices can work up to 20 years off two AA batteries, due to the fact it “wakes up” whenever it sends or receives a message, and then it goes back to sleep.

As of January 2016, Sigfox had coverage for 92% of France’s population, 94% of Spain’s, and “similar numbers” for the Netherlands. 2016 will see the expansion of coverage towards the Middle-East, Asia and Africa. In the UK a network is now established by Arqiva to promote the use and grow applications.

Heating is also an emerging use of Microwave technology with Ignition systems for vehicles, Industrial Lighting, Medical imaging and power sources for Microwave ovens. Solid state devices are starting to be offered as an alternative to Magnetron tubes for energy generation. Solid-state RF energy offers benefits of low-voltage supply, semiconductor-type reliability & smaller form factor. Perhaps its most compelling attributes are fast frequency, phase and power-agility complemented by hyper-precision. The technology attributes lend themselves to improvements in process control range, even energy distribution, and fast adaption to changing load conditions. GaN technology is now becoming more widespread in its adoption and moving to 6” wafers etc is moving the prices down to levels approaching those of LDMOS. This is making the use of GaN as a magnetron replacement a reality, meeting both the commercial and technical challenges with 70% efficiency at 2.45GHz. GaN based microwave oven lifetimes should improve 10X from current magnetron models.

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Key Applications

• Automotive Ignition
• Industrial Cooking
• Industrial Drying
• Medical Tumour / Cancer Ablation
• Plasma Street Lighting
Other Applications such as Plasma Lighting are emerging. This technology has been slow to make inroads in the overall lighting market and has now found its niche in industrial lighting applications, where the fact that the colour temperature very closely matches that of natural sunlight makes it an ideal lighting source. There are now developments underway in plasma lighting that will use the frequencies and efficiencies toward 6 GHz and >70%. These regions are beyond the range for LDMOS but a natural fit for GaN technology. With GaN’s higher power densities, the size of the transistors can be reduced, generating yet another key value as vendors drive plasma lighting into the indoor light bulb replacement market to compete head on with LED lighting.
Commercial applications for mobile technology now include Wireless Charging of equipment and research into energy harvesting from the background environment. Wireless Charging is in its early stages of development today. While we have seen low power consumer grade wireless charging for handsets, the larger scale wireless power generation and harvesting are in the prototype stages of development.

Data Links

Our Antenna, Surge and Cable solutions support Energy suppliers that utilise Radio systems to monitor and manage their networks across remote landscapes beyond the access of normal telecoms and fibre. Utilities are increasing the demand for networks capable of providing real time supervision of their entire electrical grid. An IP infrastructure solution is key to enables smart grid solutions offering new services to the users bettering the reliability and efficiency of energy distribution while bringing saving in OPEX costs. As part of this new infrastructure the IP Microwave offers flexibility and a better control of the network. Oil and gas fields can span hundreds or even thousands of square miles in remote areas or across vast bodies of water. Fields can be subject to extreme cold, searing heat and conditions of high humidity, wind, rain and salt. In today’s highly sophisticated oil and gas exploration industries, modern rigs function not only as drilling and extraction stations, but also as complex data-collection hubs. Equipment, processes, pipelines and work crews need to be monitored 24/7 to ensure safe production continuity. For offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction, ATEX-certified, stabilised microwave links system that has been supporting the Oil and Gas industry in the North Sea. Combining the high capacity of microwave with the advanced precision that maintains reliable communications with offshore rigs and supporting vessels, they provide high-capacity bandwidth and reliable transmission links with onshore facilities.