More energy with safety

Our world is becoming increasingly digital – and our hunger for energy more insatiable. The more technology we use in our everyday lives, the more electricity we need. Glass plays a significant
role in the process of efficiently storing and transmitting energy.

To transmit power safely and efficiently, “high voltage direct current transmission” technology is used. Direct current is transported thousands of kilometers to converter stations, where it is converted into alternating current – suitable for household sockets. These stations continuously operate under high voltage, which necessitates proper safety steps to protect employees and equipment.

Electrical signals generate interference and are unsuitable for safe system control. Light does not react to electric fields, which is why optical impulses are used for signaling. Fiber optic light conductors from SCHOTT enable smooth process control and help supply even remote locations with electricity.

Starting with the generation stage, efficient and reliable power transmission is crucial – especially under extreme conditions. In nuclear power plants, submarines, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and gas generators, glass-to-metal electrical penetrations support reliable power and signal transmission. To manufacture these components, specialty glass is heated with conductors and a stainless-steel housing in a high-temperature furnace. This process forms a hermetic seal with the glass and metal, enabling electrical conductivity while maintaining a nearly impenetrable pressure barrier. “Glass offers many advantages over other materials. It is resistant to temperature, shock, chemical loads, and compressive stress,” explains Thomas Goettlinger, Sales Manager for LNG applications at SCHOTT. “Our cable feedthroughs safely supply power to electric submersible pumps in tanks containing –160°C cold liquid natural gas. The hermetic glass-to-metal feedthrough prevents flammable gases from escaping.”

Glass is having an impact on portable power applications as well, specifically for improving energy storage. New glass-to- aluminum sealing helps increase lifetime and performance of capacitors and batteries. “We have replaced plastic seals with specialty glass. No liquid or moisture can get in or out, and performance is maintained. Glass is a virtually non-aging material, which increases reliability and saves resources,” explains Claire Buckwar, head of the battery solutions division. Ready for a multitude of challenges, glass helps pave the way for development of tomorrow’s technology.

SCHOTT has been manufacturing hermetic housings since the 1930s.
SCHOTT has been manufacturing hermetic housings since the 1930s.

February 18th, 2019

Kevin Waxman
Electronic Packaging
SCHOTT North America, Inc.