The thermal image of a power line-- similar to the ones that carry currents to homes and business-- is displayed in a lab at the Thayer School of Engineering. The cable has been modified slightly to heat up, so ice can be quickly melted off during a storm.
"Even a thin layer of ice on a cable increases the cable tension to the point when the cable is broken. Moreover, the very same additional weight on a cable can break towers," said Victor Petrenko, of Ice Engineering LLC.
The invention was created by Petrenko and other member of Dartmouth's Ice Engineering LLC. The line warms using the electricity running through it. Time, temperature and location of the line can all be adjusted manually, or from a remote.
"We can change the way the cable operates to get it to warm up and that would even prevent ice from forming on it, or if we are too late to prevent the ice from forming, we can melt the ice off," explained Charlie Sullivan, of the Thayer School of Engineering.
It is estimated that the 1998 ice storm that ravaged the northeast left a wake of about $5 billion in damages. And while some of that was due to fallen tree limbs, experts say that most of the trouble came from ice freezing on the lines.
A more recent example of the dangers of ice was the storm the hit southern areas in December.
"Every time we see a storm like that it motivates us to work on it harder and faster," Sullivan said.
The ice engineers are currently in talks with Chinese and Russian power companies that lose billions every year from ice damage. However, at this time, they say that say they have had little success tracking down interest in North America-- despite only a 10 percent increase in cost per line.
"It is very cost efficient, it is a stellar performer, and we want to apply the technology to as many lines inside the United States and Canada as possible," Petrenko said.
The first power line is already being installed in Russia and engineers here hope that once it is proven a success, the technology will spread throughout the rest of the cold world.
Monday, March 10 2014 3:27 PM EDT2014-03-10 19:27:21 GMT
A fire that left three families homeless in St Johnsbury Friday was caused by a candle.That's the word from fire investigators. They say the fire started in a bedroom with a candle placed close to a curtain.More >>
A fire that left three families homeless in St Johnsbury Friday was caused by a candle.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 3:15 PM EDT2014-03-10 19:15:59 GMT
Police say she was one half of a daughter-dad theft team. And Harley Yandow was arrested again -- this time in Highgate.Troopers say Yandow was in a car stopped for a traffic violation Saturday when theyMore >>
Troopers say Yandow was in a car stopped for a traffic violation Saturday when they arrested her on an outstanding warrant from Arizona for car theft.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 2:33 PM EDT2014-03-10 18:33:52 GMT
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has a new name and logo.The Waterbury-based company announced Monday it has changed its name to Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. Shareholders approved the change at the Company'sMore >>
The Waterbury-based compnay announced Monday it has changed its company name to Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 12:56 PM EDT2014-03-10 16:56:54 GMT
The spring issue of "4 Legs & a Tail" has hit news stands. Stories include getting your pet adjusted to a new baby, advice on keeping pets safe during golf season and Vermont's first Dog and Pony Show.More >>
The spring issue of "4 Legs & a Tail" has hit news stands. Editor Tim Hoehn visited the Morning Show to share a few of the cover stories that might interest pet lovers.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 12:44 PM EDT2014-03-10 16:44:18 GMT
A Plattsburgh man is facing a slew of charges in connection with a car accident last fall.The crash happened October 24th on Mason Street in Schuyler Falls. Investigators say 31-year-old Brad Rovito wasMore >>
A Plattsburgh man is facing a slew of charges in connection with a car accident last fall.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 12:24 PM EDT2014-03-10 16:24:42 GMT
Vermont police and policy-makers are gathering Monday to discuss the problem of drugged driving.Under current Vermont law it's easier to convict a driver accused of being drunk behind the wheel than stoned.More >>
For those under the influence of drugs, there is no simple standard or field test like the common blood-alcohol content measure.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 12:12 PM EDT2014-03-10 16:12:31 GMT
Authorities in northern New York are reminding the public about a missing teenager two years after his disappearance.Eighteen year-old Colin Gillis vanished on March 11, 2012. He was last seen walkingMore >>
Authorities in northern New York are reminding the public about a missing teenager two years after his disappearance.More >>