Fast and Effective Grid Infrastructure Upgrades for Motorway EV Chargers

Local Member of Parliament visits BRUSH Transformers to discuss new EV technologies

Jane Hunt, MP for Loughborough, UK visited BRUSH Transformers manufacturing facility recently to discuss our work for WPD’s Take Charge project and see the transformer component of the solution that is pioneering new technologies to rapidly rollout roadside EV charging infrastructure.

The creation of high-capacity ultra rapid charging infrastructure across the UK’s network is a key enabler for the transition towards all-electric cars.

BRUSH was approached by Western Power Distribution (WPD) to help engineer and design a new substation to enable fast and effective grid infrastructure upgrades. Network Innovation funded and designed to accelerate transport decarbonisation, the scope of the Take Charge project was to specify, design, test and trial an innovative, standardised medium voltage package substation.

Jane Hunt MP (centre) with Paul Jewell from WPD (right) and BRUSH Transformers team

This compact package substation solution will deliver large capacity to motorway services in a more cost and time effective manner and thus provide the new grid infrastructure that enables high capacity rapid car and van EV charging.

The transformer component is designed and manufactured by BRUSH Transformers Loughborough. The first unit will be lifted to site at Exeter Moto at the end of the month.

BRUSH Compact MV Substation Components

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Synchronous Generators at the heart of Chile's first CSP plant

Marking the first anniversary of synchronisation to the grid:
BRUSH generators providing clean, renewable electricity and supporting grid-stability


The “Cerro Dominador” CSP plant in Chile synchronised to the grid on the 10th of April 2021. The plant is part of the National Energy Policy 2050 started in 2015. This sees Chile decommissioning all coal powered plants by 2040, which has the knock on effect of removing the associated grid stability provided by the large rotating equipment used.

Whilst inverter-based photovoltaic solar farms have captured a great deal of attention in recent years, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants offer a unique solution to Carbon Net Zero power generation because they have the capability to store solar energy and despatch power when the sun has set and also contribute essential grid components.

Credit: Department of Education (

In comparison to standard PV power plants, CSP using steam turbine and BRUSH BDAX 9-450ERH synchronous generators provides Synchronous Inertia, Reactive Power and Short Circuit Contribution. This contributes to the overall grid stability for the Northern Interconnected System which otherwise would be weakened as a result of the decommissioned plants.

With 45% of energy generated by renewables in 2020, Chile is on target of achieving 70% by 2030 , establishing itself as “the Latin American champion of renewables energy” (IEA).

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How Synchronous Condensers are an integral part of the Energy Transition

BRUSH Industry Trends presentation at 2022 STGUG conference

The global race to Net Zero requires a radical overhaul of energy systems worldwide. National grids were designed on the back of large, centralised power generation facilities with mainly unidirectional flow of supply. The network change associated with Governments targeting Net Zero by 2050 is leading to many more of these traditional power plants being decommissioned (in the UK coal fired power stations cannot operate after 2024). This naturally leads to an increased integration of renewable generation and a change to load profiles leading to long term structural changes that challenges grid stability and the overall security of supply.

In order for national grids to maintain the frequency, fault ride through, reactive power and short circuit capacity, equipment needs to be connected to the grid to reinstate inertia, reactive capacity and maintain voltage levels within statutory operational boundaries. Synchronous Condensers are an important enabler of this third energy transition.

Join Roy Beardshaw, BRUSH Application Engineering Lead at this year’s STGUG conference Steam Turbine and Generator User Group 2022 | Manchester | CON7389 ( to learn how Synchronous Condensers are being used to restore grid strength, what benefits they bring, the flexibility of the product to address multiple grid issues, what aspects operators need to consider for grid compensation and the typical scope of supply. Additionally, the presentation will discuss the alternative (and sometimes complimentary) technology that is available.

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Innovative Vacuum Tap Changer Technology To Future-Proof UK Distribution Networks

The 33kV power transformer is an integral part of the UK’s electrical distribution networks

We are pleased to announce publication of our latest BRUSH Engineered Solutions White Paper on “How tapping into 33kV transformer assets decarbonises UK distribution networks.”

The current backbone of the UK’s electricity transmission and distribution systems was built at a time when generation was dominated by large, centralised structures. Similar to the Victorian railway system not being able to adequately support modern high-speed rail, the growth of renewables and the electrification of transport mean that large parts of existing infrastructure are no longer fit for purpose.

The 33kV power transformer is an integral part of the UK’s electrical distribution networks. With an extended lifespan, it lends itself perfectly to not only demonstrate the challenges of future-proofing networks under the premise of ‘lower cost zero-carbon’, but also showcases how simple infrastructure decisions can help facilitate the transition.

For example, a power transformer in an existing network might no longer meet technical requirements due to capacity constraints or limitations in view of operational flexibility. To address such changes in technical requirements two fundamental, short term strategies are available: (1) asset replacement or (2) asset retrofit.

Where the useful life of existing assets can be extended with modern equipment that can be easily retro-fitted, networks are future proofed whilst minimising costs and lowering the carbon footprint.

The Vacutap® VBO® On Load Tap Changer (OLTC) for 33kV power transformers (VBO) uses vacuum technology with an innovative drive system. Developed by MR in collaboration with BRUSH it is maintenance free for up to 300,000 operations, and allows 100% reverse power flow.

Chris Abbot, BRUSH Group CEO comments: “We are proud to have been instrumental in bringing this new technology to the UK market. With easy bolt-on installation of the VBO to existing 33kV power transformers, required capital investment is reduced when compared to asset replacement, in particular when taking the significant tap changer maintenance savings of up to £250,000 per unit into account. What’s more the remaining lifespan of the transformer will be utilised, if not extended, and associated carbon footprints reduced accordingly.”

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BRUSH Group Committing To Net Zero By 2050

Committed to support industrial decarbonisation and sustainable development, we have pledged to increase the focus on the impact our activities have upon the environment by setting ambitious objectives to achieve our target of Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. We are backing the industry climate commitment to NetZero by 2050 and are signatories of BEAMA’s NetZerobyDesign.

On signing this historic pledge BRUSH CEO Chris Abbot comments: “As BRUSH commences its journey under the new ownership of One Equity Partnership (OEP), this provides a great opportunity for BRUSH to enhance our focus on the impact our activities have upon the environment by setting ambitious objectives to achieve our target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

As part of our journey, we will implement a Sustainability Policy in 2021 and implement a supporting strategy in 2022 which will be applicable to all BRUSH businesses.  As part of the evolving BRUSH sustainability strategy, we will continue to identify and adapt relevant group business level targets to ensure we meet this ambitious goal.  “

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The World's First 2-Pole 13.8KV Non-Sparking Generator For Use In Hazardous Areas

Setting new industry standards for power generation equipment in hazardous environments.

The BRUSH Group are proud to announce this ground-breaking technological advancement with the official issue of the first in a new series of White Papers, detailing the development and new industry standards surrounding the world’s first Non-sparking 2-pole generator. This application-led solution reduces procurement, operation and maintenance costs on generators and associated equipment installed in explosive environments.

Launched at the FPSO World Congress event by Roy Beardshaw, BRUSH’s Head of Engineering, the paper details the current industry standards and how this exciting new development can change the use of power generation equipment in hazardous areas.

Chris Abbott, CEO of BRUSH commented “The innovation that BRUSH has made with the non-sparking high voltage generator truly leads to a step change in the operational flexibility and cost for power generation units in hazardous environments.”

The paper focusses on the limitations of the current industry approach and how this innovative solution not only brings exceptional safety levels, but also offers operators significantly lower running, maintenance and ownership costs.

The intelligent, new BRUSH 13.8kV 2-pole generator design has gained independent approval and been classed as non-sparking for Zone IIA and IIB gas applications. These are typical operating environments on the open deck of oil rigs, FPSO’s (Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading) vessels and many chemical processing plants.

To read the White Paper in full and see how industry standards in power generation within hazardous environments will never be the same, please click on the PDF below and download the full document.

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Spark-Proof Generator Operating Off-Shore, Brazil

BRUSH were chosen to supply innovative, Non-Sparking Generators for use on an FPSO off the coast of Brazil

BRUSH were chosen to supply innovative, Non-Sparking Generators for use on an FPSO off the coast of Brazil. Once complete, the FPSO will be the largest operating FPSO with a daily capacity of 220,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

This project was the perfect fit for BRUSH’s 13.8kV 2-pole generator, the world’s first high voltage Non-Sparking Generator for use in hazardous areas, which allows the gas turbines to run directly without a gearbox, saving weight and space with easier maintenance, also saving time and running costs during the operating life of the generator.

Significantly faster start-up times are achieved as our innovation removes the time needed to purge and pressurise, eliminating a minimum of 30 minutes from equipment start-up time.

This innovation leads to a step change in the operational flexibility and cost for power generation units in hazardous environments setting new industry standards. The proven design can be used for lower voltage applications and is not restricted to 13.8kV systems.

BRUSH were chosen for unrivalled expertise and experience in this field, providing reliable and highly efficient generator solutions with competitive lead-times.

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One Equity Partners Acquires BRUSH Group

We are thrilled to announce that on the 18th June 2021 One Equity Partners (“OEP“), a leading middle market private equity firm based in the US, acquired the BRUSH Group. 

This is a very exciting opportunity for the next phase of our Company’s development. BRUSH will not only be well positioned to grow through further investment but also to support the increasing challenges of our world-class customers in the Power Generation & Power Distribution Sectors. 

“With a rich history dating back to the 1880s, BRUSH has a proven track record for market leadership, product innovation, and trusted customer service. OEP is excited to partner with BRUSH’s industry leading management team, led by CEO Chris Abbott, for the next chapter in the BRUSH story,” said Ori Birnboim, Managing Director, OEP. 

“OEP has a strong track record of building market-leading industrial companies through organic and inorganic investment initiatives that drive operational performance, add product capabilities and expand geographic reach,” comments Chris Abbott. “We are pleased to be partnering with OEP as we continue to further develop and grow.”

BRUSH Group Acquires Aprenda Ltd

As part of our journey and strategy for growth, we are also very excited to announce that, with OEP’s support BRUSH Group has recently completed the acquisition of Aprenda Ltd., based in Cambridgeshire. Aprenda is a well-respected design services and independent connections provider to the UK power distribution industry. 

“We’re thrilled to have completed the acquisition of Aprenda with the support of OEP. Together, we look forward to starting a new and exciting chapter of growth for BRUSH,” said Chris Abbot.

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Virtual Factory Acceptance Testing, V-FAT

Supporting critical electrical energy management solutions worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns in many countries posed a significant challenge for BRUSH Group’s global customers.

To help maintain critical delivery schedules, we worked alongside our customers to develop and deploy a new, remote witness testing routine, using video conferencing and live camera streams instead of on-site attendance.

Ensuring that our products could undergo witnessed tests to maintain delivery schedules despite factory visits being impossible the teams in our Czech generator manufacturing and UK switchgear plant designed and implemented tailor made remote test witnessing programs.

By live streaming of the main parameters and responding to customer requests via live chat all parties are kept informed at all times.

Customer feedback regarding the virtual testing routine has been very positive and based on associated customer benefits in saved time and travel expenses, BRUSH is now offering customers remote witness testing programs as an alternative to the traditional on-site process.

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Brush Group Website Covid-19 Notice

The COVID-19 Pandemic Continues To Challenge The Lives And Work Of All Around The World And BRUSH Continues To Diligently Observe Government Directives And Advice With Regard To Managing The Spread Of The COVID-19 Outbreak.

We wish to reassure our customers that BRUSH Switchgear, BRUSH Transformers & HGI in the UK, BRUSH Generators in the Czech Republic, BRUSH NL in the Netherlands and BRUSH Americas in the USA all remain fully operational with our dedicated Field Service Engineers available to support our customers critical operations.

We support customers within the Power Generation and Infrastructure sectors with many of our activities falling under the “Critical” classification and are actively working with our supply chain to minimise risks of disruption.

BRUSH continues to monitor the situation closely and will react appropriately where required to help ensure that we continue to provide the superior service and support that hallmarks BRUSH as a trusted electrical equipment & service partner for our customers around the world.

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