Grid Overhaul with Proactive, High-Speed Undergrounding for Reliability, Resilience, and Security Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) (GOPHURRS SBIR/STTR)
- Small Business
- Energy Infrastructure
Reserved for Energy
The GOPHURRS program aims to reduce costs, increase speed, and improve the reliability and safety of undergrounding operations through the development of technologies focused on automation, damage prevention, and error elimination. GOPHURRS technologies will shift the paradigm of undergrounding from digging to drilling in order to leave the surface nearly untouched. The focus will be to develop transformative technologies capable of achieving autonomous/trenchless utility installation while also avoiding hidden underground obstacles with advanced look-ahead sensors. In addition, GOPHURRS aims to reduce the life cycle cost of an underground power system by developing reliable cable joint designs and installation systems.
If successfully developed, the technologies envisioned would help accelerate grid expansion and also improve the speed of underground construction of other types of infrastructure through automation, as well as the safety of the operators and surrounding communities. The development of GOPHURRS technologies is an urgent matter due to the need for increased undergrounding to improve reliability and resilience in the face of growing severe weather-related threats resulting from climate change and will help the United States position as a global leader in the delivery of clean, affordable, equitable, and climate-resilient electricity.
Specific technology categories include:
- High-speed construction tools with maneuverability to install underground conduits with minimal disruption to the surface, where the installed conduits are suitable for pulling medium voltage (5 – 46 kV) power cables.
- Sensors that characterize near-surface geology, underground obstacles, and existing underground infrastructure in order to assist underground construction operations at the required speed and to minimize risk of utility strikes and cross-borings.
- Automated cable splice installation systems as well as novel splice designs to ensure error-free and safe installation of cable joints.