Introducing a range of Mission Environmental Products that has been designed as an anti-electrocution/collision devices by acting as a perch and flight deterrents.

The Problem
Many large birds, including raptors and storks are particularly vulnerable to electrocution on electricity structures.

New Updates

August 2004
New Installation Step-by-Step Guide
Live Video Installation Footage

Where?
Electrical faults on transmission lines are an important source of power  disturbances. These faults have a  variety of causes, including fires, ice  storms, lightning, insulator pollution, animal electrocutions, and equipment failure. An important faulting mechanism that has to date been largely overlooked, is bird streamers.



Click to enlargeHow?
Long streams of excrement released by large birds, either perched or in flight near a transmission line tower, can cause a flashover. A streamer that bridges the distance between the earth plane, namely the steel tower and a bird perched on it above the insulator, and the nearest live hardware point, acts as a fuse and results in an electrical fault. Physiologically, only larger birds can cause such outages.



The Solution
In the late 1990's, Eskom, South Africa's national electricity supplier, started to experiment with bird guards on transmission lines to reduce faults caused by bird streamers. Following on from the successes obtained, it embarked on a national program of fitting bird guards to transmission lines to reduce streamer faults. A multidisciplinary team was formed during 1999 to investigate and motivate this project and in the winter of 2000 installation commenced and was completed early in 2002. This resulted in a reduction of 76% in line faults within twelve months, with 10 of 18 lines fitted with bird guards not recording any streamer faults since installation. This represents a reduction from an all time high of 149 streamer faults in 2000 to an all time low of only 36 faults for 2001.

 

The Mission Engineering Bird Guard (patented) was envisaged to address the problem of bird roostings near critically dangerous hotspots on powerlines.

The prototype was tested in Hartebeestpoort (South Africa) to deter vultures from specific test towers and was proved to be highly effective. The purpose of the guard is not to harm the birds, but to prevent them from roosting on specific target points on a power line. The device acts as a visual deterrent and prevents them from landing on specific hotspots, although they may roost closely by. The flexibility of the apparatus allows it to be bent and manipulated on a host of different structures, positions and orientations.

Since the implementation, 280 000 metres have been installed worldwide. The Bird Guard product has been approved by the World Wildlife Fund and Eskom Environmentalists. Scientific studies (including technical data) conducted by the Endangered Wildlife Trust in conjunction with Eskom and Mission Engineering are available on request. The product has undergone rapid aging tests and di-electrical tests and has proved to be a highly practical product, which has a 15-year guarantee.

This product has been installed in Texas, Florida, New-Mexico and Colorado with outstanding results. For a power outstanding value for money product, contact Mission - Bird Guard for further Information. We now have distribution centres in the U.S.A In conjunction with Eskom and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), Mission Engineering have put together a consulting group involving all scientist at the forefront of this technology with accumulated data. This group is available to offer your company a specialsed solution to your Avian Problems. This service is offered at no cost. A fitment strategy would also be provided at no cost.

Company Profile

Mission Engineering's production facility (for BIRD DETER) are based in Johannesburg, South Africa and also include a distribution center in Texas (United States). In addition to the manufactuer of BIRD DETER, Mission also have a full scale engineering production facility that includes bending and rolling steel. Mission Engineering are proud to offer a range of additional quality applications including:

Plastic Extrusion Pipes for the bird guards
Injection Molding Bases for the bird guards
Small Rolling small coils (10mm - 50mm)
Big Rolling 50-168mm, round 305sq. 305 I beams.
Guillotine Cutting of sheet metal
Hydraulic Machine (80 ton) steel cutter
Spot Welders  
Punches, Dye Sets for plate steel

Mission Engineering also hosts a comprehensive welding workshop with capabilities including stainless steel, aluminium, mild steel, TIG welding, MIG welding and arch welding. There is also the facility to produce drawings including a consultant engineer and a structural engineer.

 

Production Facility
Physical Address
Mission Engineering
137 Albert Street
Johannesburg

Telephone
+27 11 334-0882

Mobile
+27 82 338 6717

Postal Address
PO Box 520
Sturbensvalley
South Africa
1735


Fax

+27 11 334-0897

Email marushka@missionenviro.co.za


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Raptors and vultures instinctively seek out the highest vantage point as suitable perches from where they scan the surrounding area for prey or carrion. In flat, treeless habitat power pylons often provide ideal vantage points for this purpose.

The vast majority of electrical structures were designed and constructed at a time when the awareness of the danger that they pose for raptors was very limited or totally absent.

Depending on the design of the pole, a large raptor can potentially touch two live components or a live and earthed component simultaneously, almost inevitably resulting in instant electrocution and a concomitant disruption in the electrical supply. Electrocution via the bird streamer mechanism has also been identified as a source of mortality among large raptors (picture: right) even where the clearances make conventional electrocution impossible.

click on image to zoom
click on image to zoom
ACO - Electrocutions

The problem of birds colliding with powerlines has received attention in Europe, South Africa and the USA. In the Northern Hemisphere large numbers of migrating waders are killed on powerlines. Up to 1996, it was generally believed that collisions are not a major problem in South Africa, with the exception of the three crane species.This may have been the case because collisions with powerlines are seldom recorded through Eskom's internal systems, as it seldom impacts on the electricity supply.

click on image to zoom
However, a disturbing new picture has since started to emerge from data gathered over the past six years, pointing to the fact that collisions are indeed a major cause of unnatural mortality for several threatened birds. Most heavily impacted upon are bustards, storks, cranes and various species of waterbirds. These species are mostly heavy-bodied birds with limited maneuverability, which make it very difficult for them to take the necessary evasive action to avoid colliding with powerlines.
ACO - Collisions
click on image to zoom

It is also a well known fact that excreta from birds using the electricity structures in this manner can cause electrical faults. Until recently, it was generally believed that bird pollution i.e. bird excreta covering insulator strings, was the sole reason for these faults.

Click to view footage

However, recent research has discovered that this mechanism is not the only cause of faults related to bird excreta, but that the so-called bird streamer also exists as an important mechanism.

An electrical fault is caused by a bird streamer i.e. a solid stream of excreta emitted with some force by a large bird, when it bridges the entire distance, or a sufficient part thereof, between the earth plane (the steel tower and the bird perched above a conductor) and the nearest live hardware point. The streamer therefore acts as a fuse and an electrical fault takes place when the air gap breakdown occurs.

ACO - Bird Streamers
In generic terms an electrical fault is caused by pollution when pollutant build up takes place on the insulator disks of power lines. The coating of pollutant acts as an electrolyte when the strings are wetted by rain or mist. This causes tracking on the insulator disks, until the string has either partially or completely lost its insulation properties.
A phase to earth flashover then takes place across the insulator disks as a result of the insulation breakdown. Bird excreta is a common form of pre-deposit pollution that could result in an insulator losing its insulating properties over time. Click here to view diagram showing critical distance and power arc on a power line.

It is also a well known fact that excreta from birds using the electricity structures in this manner can cause electrical faults. Until recently, it was generally believed that bird pollution i.e. bird excreta covering insulator strings, was the sole reason for these faults.

ACO - Bird Pollution

Transmission towers are an important nesting substrate for many birds. Unfortunately, nesting activities of certain bird species can interfere with the electricity supply. Large raptors nesting above insulators can pollute insulator strings and cause streamer related faulting. Crows and ravens often use pieces of wire as part of their nesting material.

click on image to zoom

This can cause flashovers when nests collapse and pieces of wire bridge the air gap between the live conductor and the tower infrastructure. Crows flying into the air gap with long pieces of wire can also cause a flashover and cause the electrocution of the bird.

 

ACO - Bird Nesting
 







Safe
on birds
Safe on the environment






The Problem
Many large birds, including raptors and storks are particularly vulnerable to electrocution on electricity structures.


Electrocution happens when the bird bridges the gap between live components for example between two conductors (electrical wires or phases), or between an earthed component (an earth wire or steel pole connected to the earth) and a live component. The electrical current is diverted through the bird, which causes a short circuit (fault or flash-over) that usually kills the bird.

 

The Solution

The Mission Engineering Bird Guard has been designed as an anti-electrocution device by acting as a perch deterrent.




Experiments conducted by engineering firm EDM in Fort Collins, Colorado proved it to be 100% successful in preventing large birds such as Golden Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks from perching in dangerous areas on electricity structures, thereby eliminating the risk of electrocution. It has also been used in this manner in South Africa to successfully eliminate vulture and cormorant electrocutions.
Other Products
Squirrel Deter
The SQUIRREL DETER (in testing) can be installed on short power conduits that prevent squirrel electrocutions. The device made from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) provides insulation for squirrels that can short "live contact points".

 

Snake Deter
A snake detterant device made from 100% natural material, is fully biodegradeable, inexpensive and has a simple application to deter snakes (Soon to be released).

Solutions - Anti-Electrocutions










Safe
on birds
Safe on the environment



Research in South Africa proved that a dynamic device is more effective in reducing bird collisions with powerlines than static devices. The Mission Environmental Bird Flapper has been specifically developed to address the need for an effective anti–collision measure to reduce crane and bustard mortality on powerlines.

It is a dynamic device designed to draw an approaching bird’s attention to the powerline through a rotating disk suspended from a clip.

Clip Mechanism connects to Electrical Cable

Solutions - Anti-Collision










Safe
on birds
Safe on the environment



The Mission Engineering Bird Guard has proved to be a most effective deterrent for electrical faults caused by bird streamers and bird pollution. The device has been used in South Africa and Texas with success rates ranging from 76% to 100%.

The device blocks the critical area above the phase conductors for birds attempting to perch or roost, thereby eliminating any streamers in the critical air gap between the conductor and the pylon.


It also prevents the insulator disks from being polluted with bird droppings. The demand for the device is growing worldwide, with current applications in Africa and the USA. Interest has also been expressed from New Zealand.

Solutions - Anti-Streamer










Safe
on birds
Safe on the environment



The Mission Bird Guard has proved itself to be an excellent nesting deterrent. It is currently used in this capacity in Florida, USA to prevent Ospreys from nesting on wood poles. So far, it has proven to be 100% successful in this role.

Solutions - Anti-Pollution
 

Click on the following images to view larger images of the different
configurational options that show the flexibility of the BIRD DETER.


Variable length pieces

Replaceable parts

Outer bends
on Y-axis

Outer bends
on X-axis

Inner bends
on Y-axis

Customized
bend application

Inner bends
on Y-axis

Customized
bend application

Inner bends
on Y-axis

 



Bird Deter Gallery

Studies conducted by Eskom South Africa (The National Bird Guard Project) have shown that the installation of bird deterrents, including BIRD DETER, significantly reduce the faults on power lines.

The following summary is extracted from a paper presented by
Vosloo, H.F. and van Rooyen C.S at the IEEE.


The importance of power quality

> 7062 faults on Eskom Transmission lines between 1993 and 2001
> EPRI study-CEIDS: PQ costs $15-24Billion
> Affects consumer tremendously

Lines affected by > Lightening, fires, birds
Contributors

> Bird streamers and Pollution (36%)
> Plants and Fire (33%)
> Lightning (25%)
> Other (6%)

Factors influencing > Time-of day, Season, Wet and Dry cycles, Tower Design Aspects
Bird Species Affected > Cape Griffon, Lappetfaced Vulture, African Whitebacked Vulture, Martial Eagle, Black Eagle, African Fish Eagle, Heron, Stork
Financial Justification

> Increase in sales, Decrease in OPEX, Environmentally conscious, Economic benefit, legally imperative
> Cost of interruptions vs. cost of remedy

Project Fitment > 46 lines qualified
> Started in June 2000
> 18 lines fitted during 2000
> 32 fitted during 2001

More research information can be viewed from the following list of prescribed papers:

HOBBS, J.C.A. & LEDGER J.A. 1986a. The Environmental Impact of Linear Developments; Powerlines and Avifauna. Third International Conference on Environmental Quality and Ecosystem Stability. Israel, June 1986.

HOBBS, J.C.A. & LEDGER J.A. 1986b. Powerlines, Birdlife and the Golden Mean. Fauna and Flora 44:23-27.

KRUGER, R. & VAN ROOYEN, C.S. 1998. Evaluating the risk that existing powerlines pose to large raptors by using risk assessment methodology: the Molopo Case Study. 5th World Conference on Birds of Prey and Owls: 4 - 8 August 1998. Midrand, South Africa.

KRUGER, R. 1999. Towards solving raptor electrocutions on Eskom Distribution Structures in South Africa. M. Phil. Mini-thesis. University of the Orange Free State. Bloemfontein. South Africa.

LEDGER, J. 1983. Guidelines for Dealing with Bird Problems of Transmission Lines and Towers. Escom Test and Research Division Technical Note TRR/N83/005.

LEDGER, J.A. & ANNEGARN H.J. 1981. Electrocution Hazards to the Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres) in South Africa. Biological Conservation 20:15-24.

LEDGER, J.A. 1984. Engineering Solutions to the Problem of Vulture Electrocutions on Electricity Towers. The Certificated Engineer 57:92-95.

LEDGER, J.A., J.C.A. HOBBS & SMITH T.V. 1992. Avian Interactions with Utility Structures: Southern African Experiences. Proceedings of the International Workshop on Avian Interactions with Utility Structures, Miami, Florida, 13-15 September 1992. Electric Power Research Institute.

VAN ROOYEN, C.S. & LEDGER, J.A. 1999. Birds and utility structures: Developments in southern Africa. Pp 205-230 in Ferrer, M. & G..F.M. Janns. (eds.) Birds and Powerlines. Quercus, Madrid, Spain. 238pp.

VAN ROOYEN, C.S. 1998. Raptor mortality on powerlines in South Africa. 5th World Conference on Birds of Prey and Owls: 4 - 8 August 1998. Midrand, South Africa.

VAN ROOYEN, C.S. 1999. An overview of the Eskom-EWT Strategic Partnership in South Africa. EPRI Workshop on Avian Interactions with Utility Structures 2-3 December 1999, Charleston, South Carolina.

VAN ROOYEN, C.S. 2000. An overview of Vulture Electrocutions in South Africa. Vulture News 43: 5-22. Vulture Study Group, Johannesburg, South Africa.

VAN ROOYEN, C.S. & TAYLOR, P.V. 1999. Bird Streamers as probable cause of electrocutions in South Africa. EPRI Workshop on Avian Interactions with Utility Structures 2-3 December 1999. Charleston, South Carolina

VERDOORN, G.H. 1996. Mortality of Cape Griffons Gyps coprotheres and African Whitebacked Vultures Pseudogyps africanus on 88kV and 132kV powerlines in Western Transvaal, South Africa, and mitigation measures to prevent future problems. 2nd International Conference on Raptors: 2-5 October 1996. Urbino, Italy.

PRIMEN. 2001. The cost of Power Disturbances to Industrial & Digital Economy Companies. Report to EPRI's Consortium for Electric Infrastructure for a Digital Society (CEIDS). Madison. WI.
Michener, H. 1924. Transmission at 220kV on the Southern California Edison System. AIEE Vol. XLIII: 1223-1235.

West, H.J., J.E. Brown, and A.L Kinyon. 1971. Simulation of EHV Transmission line flashovers initiated by bird excretion. Paper 71 TP 145 - PWR presented at the IEEE PES Winter meeting February 1971.

Burger, A.A., and K.J. Sadurski. 1995. Experimental investigation of bird initiated AC flashover mechanisms, CIGRE SC 33 -95 (WG07).
Taylor, P.V. 1999. Investigation into bird streamer caused transient earth fault on a 275kV Transmission Grid. Unpublished Thesis, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Burnham, J.T. 1995. Bird streamer flashovers on FPL Transmission lines. IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery 10(2).

Taylor, P.V., H.F. Vosloo, C.C.E. Wolmarans, A.C. Britten, P. Naidoo, D.A. Hoch, and C.S. van Rooyen. 1999. "Unknown" category of MTS line faults; bird streamers as a cause of transient earth faults. Unpublished Progress Report, July 1999. Eskom Transmission Group.

Vosloo, H.F. and C.S. van Rooyen. 2001a. Summary report on the performance of the National Bird Guard Project. Unpublished Report to Eskom Transmission Group. August 2001. Eskom. Megawatt Park. Sandton.

Vosloo, H.F. and C.S. van Rooyen. 2001b. Report on lessons learnt from the National Bird Guard Project. Unpublished Report to Eskom Transmission Group. November 2001. Eskom. Megawatt Park. Sandton.

Van Rooyen, C.S. 2001. Investigation into fault risk behaviour by vultures on electricity structures. Unpublished Report No RES/RR/01/15714. Eskom Resources and Strategy Group. Research Division. Germiston. South Africa.

Stearns, R.D. 1982. Investigations of unexplained outages on Sierra Pacific Power Company's 345 kV lines. Bonneville Power Administration Report ERJ-82-22.

Van Rooyen C.S. and J.H. de Goede. 2000. Audit of large raptor activity on transmission lines in the Western Region. Unpublished Report to Eskom Transmission Group. Endangered Wildlife Trust. Johannesburg.

Macey R. E. and W. L. Vosloo. 2001. Outages of the Brand-se-Baai 132kV Feeder-The Pollution Problem That Wasn't. Cigré 4th Southern Africa Regional Conference 2-4 October 2001, Cape Town South Africa.

Technical Info: Research (Bird Deter)












Right of Way managment in South Africa
Hein Vosloo, Eskom.

Paper Abstract

Eskom is the national electricity utility of South Africa and operates about 28 000km of high voltage Transmission lines (132kV and above) and about 250 000km of Distribution Lines (132kV and below).

The Right of way (ROW) of these power lines cover the whole sub continent and traverses a number of biomes, ranging from arid vegetation through grasslands and savanna, to tropical vegetation.

The analysis of about ten years’ line fault data shows that plants cause over 20% of line faults, with a financial impact estimated at R80m per year. Grass and other biomass fires in Africa have been recognised as a problem by atmospheric scientists and has been the subject of much research.

In a similar way, the interaction between power lines and birds have detrimental effects for both birds and the utility. The bird mitigation program has now been ongoing for a number of years and the data collected shows the effectiveness of these measures.

Eskom has embarked on the development of a life cycle management plan for its Transmission ROW’s. This plan covers the total spectrum, from concept planning, through EIA and obtaining permits to the maintenance phase and decommissioning of transmission lines.

As a major part of this plan, the maintenance of vegetation in the ROW, in particular with regard to fires, receives much attention. Most of the research on fire and fire behaviour has been executed by fire ecologists, using fire as a tool for the management of grass lands for the production of grazing or as a tool to mitigate against the densification of shrubs in savanna.

This knowledge on fire behaviour has not yet been used in the study of the flashovers that occur during fires under power lines. During the Austral winter of 2003, Eskom embarked on a project to systematically identify plant communities that pose a fire risk to power lines. In addition to the botanical description, phytomass of these plants and their fire behaviour, the spectral signatures for these communities were also obtained. This will be used to later identify the problem plant communities from the air.

This paper will discuss the methods that were followed and report on the results obtained.

 
Technical Info: Research (Right of Way)

The following section displays some of the photographic and video evidence of how bird streamers are capable of causing severe power line damage via shorting.

 

Click on image to zoom

Click to view actual footage of
Bird Electrocution on powerline

     
 


Click on image to view the
Critical Distance on Powerlines


Click on image to view the
Placement Strategy of BIRD DETER
     
 

Click on image to dowload MPG Movie
Clip of "Bird Streamer" simulation using egg-yolk
19 sec. 1.7M

Click on image to dowload MPG Movie
Clip of "flash over" effects on factories
20 sec. 1.7M

     
Technical Info: Simulations











All of Mission Engineering's technology has been thoroughly tested by the South African Bureau of Standards to ensure proper product quality control. Mission Engineering uses an American supply of HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) which is 100% virgin material with additives that provide UV stabilization with a guaranteed life-span of 15 years. The material has  already been used in the agricultural industry for irrigation purposes and has seen no visible aging in up to 50 years of use.

The material used to manufacture BIRD DETER has gone through extensive:

(1) Dielectric (withstanding 100kV testing) :

Results: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

(2) Artificial Weathering Testing
(also used in irrigation piping for over 50 years):


To view the certificates, please click on one of the following links:

Results: Page 1 | Page 2

Technical Info: Longevity Testing












South Africa:
> Eskom South Africa
> Environmental Wildlife Trust

United States:
> EDM
> Texas Utility
> Florida Power and Light

Mission Engineering have received professional, commercial and environmental endorsements from both within and South Africa and Internationally.

Their highly successful BIRD DETER has been included as part of a nationwide "Bird Guard Project" conducted by South Africa's largest power company, Eskom. This project was conducted in conjunction with the Environmental Wildlife Trust of South Africa.

Other users of BIRD DETER include EDM (USA), Texas Utility and Florida Power and Light, all of whom have been using the product to drastically reduce bird-related fault incidents.

 

Endorsements: Endorsements

Introducing a range of Mission Environmental Products that has been designed as an anti-electrocution/collision devices by acting as a perch and flight deterrents.

The Problem
Many large birds, including raptors and storks are particularly vulnerable to electrocution on electricity structures.

New Updates

August 2004
New Installation Step-by-Step Guide
Live Video Installation Footage

Where?
Electrical faults on transmission lines are an important source of power  disturbances. These faults have a  variety of causes, including fires, ice  storms, lightning, insulator pollution, animal electrocutions, and equipment failure. An important faulting mechanism that has to date been largely overlooked, is bird streamers.



Click to enlargeHow?
Long streams of excrement released by large birds, either perched or in flight near a transmission line tower, can cause a flashover. A streamer that bridges the distance between the earth plane, namely the steel tower and a bird perched on it above the insulator, and the nearest live hardware point, acts as a fuse and results in an electrical fault. Physiologically, only larger birds can cause such outages.



The Solution
In the late 1990's, Eskom, South Africa's national electricity supplier, started to experiment with bird guards on transmission lines to reduce faults caused by bird streamers. Following on from the successes obtained, it embarked on a national program of fitting bird guards to transmission lines to reduce streamer faults. A multidisciplinary team was formed during 1999 to investigate and motivate this project and in the winter of 2000 installation commenced and was completed early in 2002. This resulted in a reduction of 76% in line faults within twelve months, with 10 of 18 lines fitted with bird guards not recording any streamer faults since installation. This represents a reduction from an all time high of 149 streamer faults in 2000 to an all time low of only 36 faults for 2001.