Affiliated Research Centers and Facilities
Prepositioned Power Facility
Test room for experimenting with distributed control of US Army Talon robots to autonomously create a power infrastructure in advance of troops.
Traveling HEV and micogrid education and research facility with interactive capabilities: (HEV powertrain dynamometer, instrumented power flow, 80kW generator, DC & AC busses, PV array & wind turbine, 5kW computer controlled load, Wireless device communication, Interactive GUI controlling, PV array/battery pack inverter, 0-5kW load profile, Wind turbine inverter, High speed data acquisition, 64 analog channels, Up to 10k Hz, Circuits instrumented for current & voltage, Plug-in electric vehicle)
Research is focused on developing technology to create systems that can autonomously create a microgrid, for situations that require the ability to preposition a basic level of energy infrastructure such as areas damaged by natural or man-made disasters, and autonomously deploying forward operating bases. Modeling and control of robotics and power conversion systems provides the ability to create such prepositioned electric power networks.
Autonomous Robots can carry a variety of power equipment:
Four autonomous microgrid robots, each with different power network functionality. Two have renewable energy generation and storage capability, another has a conventional diesel genset, and the third contains intelligent power electronics for conversion and hard-line interconnection, and switchgear. After assessing the power requirements and available resources they would physically organize and electrically interconnect to form a micro-grid.
From a controls point of view, energy storage systems are the “actuators” in the electrical power grid that enable the mitigation of the transient inputs of power supplies as well as uncontrolled loads. A goal is to optimize the location and amount of energy storage capacity needed to meet microgrid performance and stability constraints. This energy storage capacity can take on many forms from batteries to fly wheels to pumped hydro. Research is focused on integrated energy storage systems that utilize unconventional resources as much as possible. For example, buildings and parking lots full of PHEV’s and EV’s are good targets of opportunity when combined with PV on covered parking structures or distribution-scale PV systems.
Agile microgrids allow variable, distributed sources and loads to effectively interoperate over a broad range of conditions. Enabling large numbers of autonomously-managed micro-generators and loads must be accomplished through information-intensive architectures that create significant challenges regarding coordination and cyber security.
Research is concerned with developing concepts, techniques, and tools for enabling the design of secure and effective multi-agent systems for agile microgrids:
A remote microgrid is a class of stand-alone power grids that services diverse loads, employs distributed generation with renewable resources, and requires on-line control and optimization to maintain stability and power flow. The grid control system is both agile and autonomous, accommodating rapid changes in generation and load resources with minimal training or intervention on the part of human operators.
A microgrid may consist of many interconnected energy assets to improve reliability efficiency. Two or more microgrids can also interconnect to share resources to further improve reliability and efficiency. The scalable microgrid project is aimed at creating a hardware test-bench capable of developing and testing technologies for control and optimization in large numbers of interconnected microgrids. It is also aimed at studying how these technologies can scale up to high and higher numbers of interconnected microgrids. Development of power conversion nodes that adapt and connect to an expanding interconnected microgrid structure to create a large, decentralized power distribution network that can adapt to changing resources and demands.