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Infrastructure protectionIsraeli software gives New York power plants “Iron Dome” protection against failures

Published 2 November 2017

An Israeli company that developed the software for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system is working with the New York Power Authority to prevent unexpected shutdowns. New York State Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant, Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped-Storage Power Plant, and a 500 MW plant in Queens now have software based on the software that runs Iron Dome.

An Israeli company that developed the software for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system is working with the New York Power Authority to prevent unexpected shutdowns, The Times of Israel reported Sunday.

New York State Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant, Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped-Storage Power Plant, and a 500 MW plant in Queens now have software based on the software that runs Iron Dome.

New York Power Authority (NYPA) sought out mPrest after two of its largest transformers failed – the Blenheim-Gilboa Power Project in 2012 and Niagara Power Project two years later. Neither failure was catastrophic, but they cost more than $5 million to repair.

NYPA presented its problem at a conference of the Israeli Smart Energy Association (ISEA), and mPrest suggested to NYPA that the software that runs Israel’s anti-missile Iron Dome system could be adapted for monitoring NYPA’s power plants.

In 2015, the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial R&D Foundation (BIRD) invested $900,000 in the joint NYPA and mPrest project to develop the software. NYPA contributed $975,000 to the project and mPrest about $1.3 million.

The end result called the Asset Health Management application, or mNTCS monitors the status of the power plants. Using a combination of data gleaned from the transformer, information from various sensors, advanced algorithms and historical data, mNTCS shuts down equipment that is malfunctioning and reroutes the power to avoid unplanned shutdowns. This proactive approach reduces the chances of an explosion due to a malfunction, protects workers and saves NYPA money.

While the software can’t prevent shutdowns due to extreme external conditions—such as hurricanes or earthquakes—it can analyze what caused a problem after the fact.

The mPrest software, which is an example of how Israeli companies leverage military technology for civilian use, may soon be used in other locations in the United States, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, China, and Europe, according to Doron Gover, a retired Israel Air Force pilot now in charge of corporate development for mPrest.

Vector, the largest power distributor in New Zealand, invested $10 million in mPrest, Reuters reported on Monday. Vector will be the second largest shareholder in mPrest, following just Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, an Israeli state-owned defense contractor. The software will be used to provide power to Aukland’s 1.4 million residents. According to Vector Chairman Michael Stiassny, the company hopes that the software will also allow the company to sell excess power to other localities in New Zealand and even in Australia in the future.

This article is published courtesy of The Tower