French Epsilon Composite technology selected for Cameroon’s future power line

French Epsilon Composite technology selected for Cameroon’s future power line
French Epsilon Composite technology selected for Cameroon’s future power line

Epsilon Composite, a Gironde SME specializing in the production of composite parts by pultrusion, finalized, at the end of April, its participation in a major electrification project in Cameroon (Africa). Alongside other French players such as EDF, which will contribute to the construction of a hydroelectric power station in Nachtingal in the south of the country or Dervaux (Sicame group), which will supply the electrical accessories for the high voltage line, the company will bring its technology HVCRC. For several million euros (the amount is kept confidential), it will produce a carbon fiber composite core which will be integrated into the aluminum conductors manufactured by the Indian Transrail, prime contractor for the future aerial network.

To travel the 500 kilometers, alternating current will require several thousand kilometers of cables. “The 225 kV high voltage line will supply carbon-free electricity to the north of the country as well as neighboring countries, Chad and Nigeria.» says Alexandre Lull, Deputy Managing Director of Epsilon Composite. The overall project, which totals 1.2 billion euros, should be finalized in 2025.

On the left, the HVCRC conductor comprising a composite core and on the right the ACSR conductor (standard with steel core).

2024, record year for the production of new generation cables

Lighter and stronger than the steel traditionally used in conductors, the carbon fiber core makes it possible to increase the quantity of aluminum in the conductors. “We can thus double the transport capacity and reduce electrical losses compared to traditional conductors also called ACSR.», explains Alexandre Lull. “Advanced cables can absorb peaks or be used to occasionally shed light on nearby lines. In Cameroon, they were chosen in anticipation of future dams», Specifies the deputy general director. With this project, the company is preparing to take a new step in its development. “Our order book is full. In 2024, we will produce more than 3,000 kilometers of carbon core, as many as in the last 14 years», rejoices Alexandre Lull. 20 million euros will also be invested over the next five years. The amount will be used, among other things, to create a sixth workshop. An establishment in the United States is also envisaged. “By 2030, we plan to increase from 200 to 300 employees and reach 100 million euros in turnover», Indicates Stéphane Lull, CEO.

HVCRC technology in full swing

The only European company to master this advanced conductor technology, Epsilon Composite is one of the partners of cable manufacturer Nexans. The SME, which dreams of becoming an ETI, has two main competitors, the American CTC Global and the Japanese TokyoRope. While the renewal and development of electrical transmission networks is in the air, the Frenchman is convinced of having a card to play. Making high voltage lines more efficient using carbon fiber is of interest to many countries. In Europe, Italy, Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom have already installed this type of conductor. “Around the world, around 70 countries have already adopted this advanced driver technology.», Indicates Alexandre Lull who claims dozens of projects – ranging from a few dozen to a few hundred kilometers – on all continents. In France, where the lines are largely buried, RTE, the transmission network manager, is currently testing a pilot line provided by Nexans and Epsilon.

After Cameroon, we expect other large-scale projects», says Alexandre Lull, whose company announced, a few months ago, an alliance with the Japanese Sumitomo Corporation, a carbon fiber supplier. The Asian company will strengthen the capital of the SME as a minority shareholder. In addition to its activity in energy, Epsilon Composite is also present in the fields of construction and machine parts.

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