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Corona-induced ion and particle production under high voltage transmission lines

This technological development relates to public discussions
of possible health risks connected to overhead high voltage
electric transmission lines. Increase general knowledge of
how high voltage transmission lines affect the environment.

Public opinion and media have in recent years involved themselves more in overhead electric transmission lines than in the past. This increased engagement is first of all related to matters of impact on the health and welfare of the public, especially those who live or stay regularly in the vicinity of such lines. This increased concern from the public as well as from relevant authorities has to be met by a similar increase in scientific knowledge within the utilities about the impact of electric high voltage lines. This increase knowledge will in turn also reduce the utilities' costs connected to discussions with the public as well as for possible trials. A Norwegian study has shown the influence of long range transported pollution upon high voltage (HV) transmission line insulation in combination with atmospheric icing. Processes related to corona discharges, ion production and new particle formation in natural air have been studied in various universities in FRANCE, ESTONIA and NORWAY. Questions have been raised on the influence of airborne pollution on the possible ion production around HV lines. In FRANCE, the ECOLE SUPERIEURE D'ELECTRIQUE (SUPELEC) has studied inorganic chemical processes in natural air related to corona discharges around HV lines. These studies have been funded mainly by ELECTRICITE DE FRANCE (EDF). Their scientific work, which has involved theoretical and laboratory studies, has to a significant extent, also involved close cooperation with related research groups in universities in ESTONIA and NORWAY (NTH). A preliminary study in NORWAY in late winter 1993, indicated significantly higher concentrations of nitrates and sulphates in melt water from snow samples under a 420 kV line compared with samples taken outside the line. Those findings have encouraged further studies during the 1994 winter in order to obtain better statistical information. Considering the links to a possible health effect from such ion and particle precipitation from transmission lines, it is of interest to include organic compounds. However, it is realised that such investigations are of a more complex nature and hence should follow a study of inorganic ions, if this study indicates a significant impact on the air chemistry from the electromagnetic fields around transmission lines. However, a parallel preliminary study is being run on organic compounds. The Norwegian project for 1994 will be mainly a continued sampling of snow under HV transmission lines in an area exposed to pollution compared with a "cleaner" area with mainly background contamination only. In both areas the samples will be compared with samples taken some distance from the line which are assumed not to be significantly influenced by the line. Parallel laboratory and theoretical studies will continue in FRANCE, ESTONIA and NORWAY (NTH). Depending on the results for the 1993/94 season, further field studies will probably take place in coming seasons. Following the field samples of snow, a study of dry deposition of aerosols with an instrument developed by the UNIVERSITY OF FREIBURG, GERMANY, is proposed. This instrument has been used recently in FRANCE and some HV lines and a similar investigation and comparison with results from the snow samples in NORWAY will be of great value. Hence, this project is to increase the general knowledge of how high voltage transmission lines may influence the environment. A high level of know-how is the best guarantee for the correct and economic treatment of such matters for society.
Acronym: 
CORONAIONS
Project ID: 
1 268
Start date: 
01-12-1994
Project Duration: 
49months
Project costs: 
750 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

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