BEEAs Winners: ACPI - FASTT

Written by: Paul Fanning | Published:

The use of composites to achieve a technological first in high-flux thermal management has triumphed in this category.

Category Sponsor: Goodfellow

Headline Sponsor: Distrupol

Judges' Quote: "In a technological first providing high flux thermal management without the use of fluids at the source to sink boundary, ACPI’s innovative approach provides a stepping stone to new solid state technologies."

FASTT is a worldwide, technological first in providing high flux thermal management without the use of fluids at the source to sink boundary. The very wide operating temperature range of FASTT may be compared to the limitations of water-based, and hydrocarbon fluid-based systems. Finite element thermal analysis methods together with in-house developed computer codes enable sound modelling of the physical processes.

ACPI was initially formed to exploit novel composite to metal joining techniques in high voltage environments which resulted from a SMART award from 1999. The company produced the valve insulators for a 500MW plant in Northern India for ALSTOM.

A series of successful technical developments followed in the HVDC application area.

ACPI has been dedicated to the development of its FASTT technology for a number of years, but recently completed a prototype capable of providing greater than 3 MW/m2 at 70C temperature difference. This flux level challenges existing heat pipe and forced liquid cooling systems, but without leakage, freezing, or boiling issues. Our models predict significant advantages at cryogenic temperatures. A report of this was presented at the UKHTC meeting in September 2019.

As a result of COVID19 ACPI has re-purposed the drive system, developed for the linear FASTT programme, to produce a prototype ventilator.

Significant events in the development included the design and development of a composite high voltage insulator for use in a 500MW convertor station - 250kV BIL and seismically qualified. Production of 500-off units for large corporate (ALSTOM) through management of subcontractors and in-house assembly.

The design and development instrumentation and operation of a fire test facility for HVDC convertor assemblies was another major step, as was the design and development of high power water cooled, snubber resistors for HVDC applications.

Invention and development of Foil And Slot Thermal Transfer (FASTT) technology to offer an alternative to fluid based cooling systems and the theoretical thermal modelling and experimental prototyping to prove concept and derivatives of base concept.

This is believed to be of global significance, particularly so when considering the impact of human energy usage on our planet. Heat exchange is fundamental to thermodynamic processes whether in prime mover (heat engines) or refrigeration/heat pump applications. Improvements in either of these categories can have profound effects on energy consumption. There are numerous other application areas such as process enhancement through thermal management. Indeed, it is relevant to all markets requiring compact heat exchangers.


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