Future Grid Lab
The range of our expertise and the research topics currently being pursued is summarised below.
Our Range of Expertise
Integration of Renewable Energy Sources and Embedded Generation
Wind, solar and other renewables require different interfacing strategies and control systems. This area of expertise deals with the issue of how best to integrate individual renewable sources of energy to the grid taking into account regulatory codes. Specifications, control, fault handling and optimal placement are covered. Advice can be provided on the impact of integration on grid stability, especially voltage and frequency stability, fault levels, and mitigation schemes.
Stability Analysis and Control
Transient, dynamic and voltage stabilities are covered in this field of expertise. Advanced control systems are designed for angle and dynamic stability using intelligent excitation systems and supplementary stabilising signals such as power system stabilisers. This experise also covers control of compensation systems such as synchronous condensors, STATCOM, and devices such as FACTS and fixed and switched SVCs that are required to damp out voltage transients and enhance grid voltage stability.
Dynamic Modelling, Fault Detection and Identification
This area of expertise involves dynamic modelling of generators, exciters, governors, transformers, stabilisers, lines, and loads. These components are then combined to form scalable models of interconnected power systems suitable for a host of studies. Similar symmetrical and unsymmetrical fault-dependent models are developed and used for the fault studies. Fault detection algorithms are used to detect faults on-line and in real-time anywhere in the system, and also to identify the nature and type of the fault and its exact location.
Signal Processing and Data Mining
Understanding and predicting power usage at both macro and micro levels plays a key role in the development of robust power systems. The FGL develops technologies for modelling and prediction of residential power consumption in aggregate and by individual appliances such as white goods and electronics equipment. These developed models are then used to design a reward schedules and policies that maximise use while minimising peak demand leading to more efficient daily residential power consumption and cheaper electricity.
This activity focuses on the impact of electric vehicles on the operation of distribution networks. Factors voltage control, thermal overload of lines and transformers, phase imbalance are modelled and analysed for various levels of EV penetration. Control measures are then designed and developed to mitigate these impacts using smart charging mechanisms embedded in batteries or in charging stations as well as external control systems such as tap-changing transformers and Static Var Compensators.
Sensor Networks and Condition Monitoring
Sensor networks are a relatively inexpensive, reliable and efficient way of acquiring real-time information on the condition of equipment, components or whole systems, such as large-scale power grids. They employ sensors embedded in micro-controllers in strategic placed in the network to acquire data on line voltages, currents, phase angles, ambient temperature, wind speed and direction, rust in towers, poles and wires, and other variable of interest. They may also be equipped with cameras to monitor in real-time line sags, vegetation encroachments. This information may then be processed locally, regionally or centrally and fed into controllers and fault detection platforms for analyse, monitoring and control purposes.
Energy Storage Devices and Systems
High penetration levels of renewables and embedded generators into sub-transmission and distribution systems introduce voltage control problems. The voltage variation levels throughout the network are greatly influenced by the location of these generators. In situation like theses active power is required to be injected into strategic parts of the grid. The most cost effective way of achieving this is to use large size batteries (1 MW or higher) controlled by power electronic devices with embedded feedback control algorithms.
Electricity Market Economics and Pricing
Future increase in load demand requires additional generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure to be built. This must be done in the most cost effective manner, and within the regulatory framework. Then the issues of cost, how it is shared, and return on investment require detailed economic analysis and determination. The FGL offers advice on issues related to financial modelling, infrastructure augmentation planning, feasibility, and expansion, taking into account local and national electricity market regulations.