I can think of no higher honor for people in the research and development community than to be recognized by the people who may ultimately use what we develop. Especially when those people refer to you as a “game changer,” meaning you are unique and innovative, and you can make a great difference.
Last week, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) bestowed the “game changer” moniker on one of S&T’s projects – the Recovery Transformer (RecX) program managed by Sarah Mahmood in our Resilient Systems Division.
The RecX is a mobile spare extra high voltage (EHV) transformer designed to rapidly deploy to a needed location to restore power within days. More than 90 percent of all power passing through our nation’s electric distribution system to consumers flows through EHV transformers. These critical components are most vulnerable to sustained outages because they are challenging to procure and difficult to replace, often taking more than two months to transport, deploy and energize, if a spare is even available. Traditional EHV transformers can weigh hundreds of tons and are often too large to transport by road. The RecX, an innovative solution, is modular and more easily transportable.
In 2012, a RecX prototype was deployed, in partnership with the Electric Power Research Institute, from a manufacturing plant in St. Louis to a substation near Houston where the system was connected to the grid and became fully energized and functional in less than six days. That prototype has undergone testing and remained operational in the grid ever since, and S&T recently released its final strategy report on the project.
ASCE told S&T: “We feel that the Recovery Transformer embodies the type of foresight and adaptability that will change the future of the infrastructure industry.”
They surveyed engineers, infrastructure operators and public officials across the country to identify key game changers across the major sectors, such as drinking water, wastewater, roads and bridges, transit systems, the power grid, and the freight industry.
On July 23, in a briefing to Congress, ASCE released their #GameChangers report—what they label as “a compilation of the best and brightest innovations changing the infrastructure sector.” ASCE’s report notes RecX as an innovation in building the nation’s resilience capabilities.
I cannot express my immense pride in S&T for being so acknowledged. That recognition summarizes exactly where we want to be: providing game changing solutions to the nation’s challenges.
Dr. Reginald Brothers
Under Secretary for Science and Technology