NSF Sponsored Research
Role of the Smart Grid in Alleviating Electrical Power System Stress Conditions Through Demand Response
This Partnership for Innovation Project is based on collaboration among Virginia Tech, three small businesses and a utility partner. The proposed partnership focuses on the design and evaluation of smart grid sensing and control hardware and software that enable demand response programs to offer customer choices for efficient use of electricity at all levels. This is accomplished through the development of a platform consisting of optimization-control algorithms and product conceptual designs based on electric utility requirements and customer preferences. The hardware designs include a smart power management system and wireless sensor-control devices for 240-Volt end-use appliances, which are necessary to implement efficient and flexible electricity demand control programs. The intellectual merit of this research is the design of advanced control and sensing technologies and algorithms that can serve as the interface between a utility and its customers to enable the implementation of cost-effective demand response programs while providing customer choice.
The broader impacts of this research are:
(1) a potential stronger local economy as a result of the innovative design of new alpha-prototype products that could lead to electric energy saving products in the future;
(2) a local job creation opportunity through the development of a new line of businesses or strengthening existing ones for the partner companies and others; and most importantly,
(3) a viable improvement in economy nationally as a result of more efficient operation of the power grid by coordinating supply and demand in an optimal manner. The proposed platform will allow the electric utility to operate their assets more efficiently, and at the same time, allow its customers to manage their power consumption without compromising their lifestyle or way of life. In addition, this project has received strong support from the Arlington County government and the Center for Advanced Research and Engineering (CAER) – a public sector organization – both in Virginia. The County of Arlington is in the process of developing a Community Energy Plan, which is expected to recommend extensive use of energy efficient devices and smart grid technologies to optimize the use of electricity in homes and businesses thus reducing the county’s carbon footprint. The outcome of this research complements this local need.
US-Egypt Cooperative Research: Managing Grid Integration of large-Scale Wind Power Parks using Energy Storage Technology and Demand Response
As large wind power parks, or wind farms, rapidly expand around the world, electric power systems operators face new challenges. While it is desirable to use the zero-emission wind energy, managing large wind parks integration is very difficult due to the intermittency and fluctuation of their power production. Therefore, it is of the interest of the United States, Egypt, and other countries with wind generation to seek solutions for integration of large wind farms without compromising their power grid stability and reliability. This joint research proposes using an energy storage technology and demand response techniques for managing the grid integration of large wind parks. Specifically, it aims to develop novel sizing, scheduling and control methods to enable an application based on compressed-air energy storage (CAES) technology for partial smoothing of the high-rate fluctuations of multiple wind parks output. Furthermore, it develops a new operation scheme for combining the load regulation capability of demand response techniques with the energy storage to increase wind power utilization and thereby reduce wind curtailment. The application is also designed with added functions to provide real and reactive power support for stabilizing the power grid and coping with grid emergency situations. Overall, the research contributes innovative tools to ensure safe operation of power grids, increase wind power usage thereby reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment. These factors foster the sustainable economic development of Egypt and the United States.
A Test Bed for Analyzing the Security and Resilience of the DG-Integrated Electric Power Distribution Network
The objective of the proposed research is to develop a simulation test bed which can be used to quantify and analyze the impact of future demand and supply side alternatives on the security and resilience of the DG-integrated electric power distribution network. This research applies the knowledge of power systems, agent-based technologies, IP-based network and game theory to address the interface of the electric power microgrid with various DG devices and loads. Research outcomes are expected to be transformative and potentially revolutionize current planning and decision-making practices for electric power distribution networks, through introduction of the simulation test bed that allows integration of distributed control, advanced communications, distributed generation and demand management components. The test bed to be developed is intended for use by researchers and policy makers to analyze the security and resiliency implications of installing DG devices under different demand and supply scenarios. With respect to educational benefits, the research outcomes will contribute to the development of a microgrid simulation test bed located at the Advanced Research Institute of Virginia Tech. The test bed will broaden student exposure beyond the academic environment through laboratory work.
Intelligent Distributed Autonomous Power Systems (IDAPS): A Framework for a Resilient and Environmentally-friendly Microgrid.
The objective of this exploratory research proposal is to build a broad framework of an Intelligent Distributed Autonomous Power System (IDAPS) at a conceptual level. The proposed concept takes into account the availability of cleaner, efficient and cost effective small-scale generation sources, as well as advanced IP-based communication technologies in building a resilient electric power system with demand-side participation.