Future Grid Lab

Research Projects

Secure Cyber-Physical Systems

Researcher: Iman Shames

In this research project a novel approach to address the challenges introduced by the interaction between the IT systems and physical systems is being investigated, e.g. critical infrastructure.

The broad aims of this project are to:

  1. develop an explanation of critical failures, errors and attacks in the mathematical language of cyber-physical systems theory
  2. develop tools for the prevention of such critical failures
  3. develop tools to recover from and/or mitigate the effects of such failures including distributed detection, repair and isolation of damaged infrastructure in the network.

Faults caused intentionally or unintentionally including computer viruses in cyber networks, malicious software in industrial systems, and device failures in power grids, will be studied.

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Large Scale Optimisation

Researcher: Iman Shames

With the ubiquity of networked systems, the accessibility of the data that they generate, and the constant drive to improve the productivity of both existing and future systems, questions regarding the use of such data in order to achieve higher performance from these systems have come to prominence. One of the avenues to achieve the aforementioned goal is to use mathematical optimisation theory to solve very large scale problems that rise in diverse areas, such as load balancing in power generation and distribution networks, and scheduling and guaranteeing water delivery in agricultural water distribution networks.

The goals of this project are:

  1. to develop methods and techniques that are well-suited to solve such large scale problems
  2. to facilitate the democratisation of solving large optimisation problems and to make decentralised optimisation algorithms more accessible to people focused on the application end of the spectrum.

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Fault Detection in Nonlinear Systems

Research Partner: Monash University, Malaysia Campus

Personnel: Assoc Prof Mohammad Aldeen and Dr Sajeeb Saha (University of Melbourne),  Assoc Prof Edwin Tan and Mr Shyan Chua (Monash University)

This project investigates the design of fault detection filters for nonlinear systems where the plant and sensor faults are nonlinear functions of the state.

Start Date: July 2013 – present

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Fault Detection in Complex Nonlinear Systems

Industry Partner: Australian Research Council

Personnel: Assoc Prof Mohammad Aldeen (University of Melbourne), Prof Peng Shi (Adelaide University) and Mehrdad Saif (Windsor University, Canada).

This project involves development of new fault detection and identification theory suitable of application to complex nonlinear systems such as power systems where faults are prevalent and occur frequently.

Start Date: June 2014 – June 2017

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High Voltage Smart Sensor

Industry Partner: Ausnet Services

Personnel: Assoc Prof Mohammad Aldeen and Assoc Prof Peter Farrell (University of Melbourne), and Dr Yogendra Vashishtha (Ausnet Services)

This project involves the design and development of a smart sensor that detects the presence of high voltage in non-current carrying power lines in Power Substations.

Start Date: December 2013 – present

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Energy Demand Forecasting for Low Carbon Precincts

Industry Partner: CRC LCL

Personnel: Assoc Prof Mohammad Aldeen and Dr Roger Dargaville (University of Melbourne), Dr Adam Berry and Mr Steven Percy (CSIRO).

This project aims at identifying ways of minimising carbon footprints in future residential and commercial precincts by reducing the amount of energy consumption.

Start Date: July 2014 – present

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Distributed Control of Power Systems

Research Partner: Gent University, Belgium.

Personnel: Assoc Prof Mohammad Aldeen (University of Melbourne) and Prof Rene’ Boel (Gent University).

This project investigates how best to control large power grid with various sources of distributed energy and generation using minimal amount of information sharing throughout the network.

Start Date: July 2013 – present

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Future Grid Research & Development

Research Partner: Carlton Connect

Personnel: Assoc Prof Mohammad Aldeen, Prof Rob Evans, and Prof Iven Mareels (University of Melbourne)

This project investigates the challenges and opportunities future power grids will pose and offer including the integration of distributed generation into the main power grid and the impact on voltage level and quality of supply.

Start Date: July 2012 – until July 2014

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The Impact of the Mass Adoption of Electric Cars on the Australian Electricity Grid

Industry Partners: Senergy Australia, Better Place Australia

Personnel: Prof Iven Mareels, Prof Doreen Thomas, Assoc Prof Marcus Brazil, Assoc Prof Tansu Alpcan, Dr Julian de Hoog (University of Melbourne)

Electric vehicles show great promise as a technology that will allow greater energy security and greenhouse gas reduction in the transport sector. However, the charging of electric vehicles puts additional strain on the electricity grid, and if uncontrolled can lead to unexpected and undesirable effects. The aims of this project are to: Identify limitations in existing distribution networks with respect to electric vehicle charging; Develop optimal “smart charging” policies for large numbers of electric vehicles that will alleviate their impact on the grid; Evaluate the benefits of various charging policies with respect to the increasing introduction of intermittent renewable energy sources.

Start Date: 01/02/2012 – 01/02/2015

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The Value of Demand Response for Electric Vehicles

Industry Partners: CSIRO, United Energy

Personnel: Dr Julian de Hoog, University of Melbourne,  Mr Phillip Paevere (CSIRO), Mr Raman Jegatheesan (United Energy)

The purpose of this project is to determine the long-term impacts of electric vehicles on low voltage distribution networks, and the role for demand response in alleviating these impacts. The study builds on an electric vehicle uptake model originally proposed by CSIRO, and uses network information provided by United Energy. Optimal charge scheduling methods developed at the University of Melbourne are evaluated. The goal is to determine what the possible cost (in terms of necessary network upgrades) of electric vehicle uptake will be, and how much this cost may be reduced by carefully managing the timing of electric vehicle charging.

Start Date: 01/03/2014 – present

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Evaluating the Potential for Residential Energy Storage

Industry Partners: IBM Research – Australia

Personnel: Dr Julian de Hoog (Unimelb & IBM), Mr Valentin Muenzel, and Prof Iven Mareels, (University of Melbourne), Dr Arun Vishwanath, and Dr Shivkumar Kalyanaraman (IBM).

Electricity prices are rising, feed-in tariffs are declining, and the costs of battery technologies (such as Li-ion) are decreasing. The result is a favourable scenario for residential storage for home owners that want to make the most of their existing photovoltaic rooftop solar generation. This project evaluates the value case for residential storage in an Australian setting. Evaluating the long-term value of storage involves understanding the coincidence of residential demand and generation patterns, as well as understanding the effects of battery operation on battery ageing.

Start Date: 01/03/2014 – present

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Power Quality Management in Distribution Networks

Industry Partners: 1Circle

Personnel: Mr Lu Via, Mr Ramachandra Rao Kolluri, Assoc Prof Tansu Alpcan, and Prof Iven Mareels (University of Melbourne), Dr Julian de Hoog (University of Melbourne / IBM), and Mr Iain Jennings (1Circle)

Many low voltage networks have high levels of harmonics, excessive phase unbalance, and low power factor. This project evaluates the extent of these undesirable effects at several medium-scale sites and aims to develop a power quality model and an associated decision engine to provide sustained cost and energy reductions for electricity for private local networks such as shopping centres, commercial/industrial precincts, academic campuses, and high-density commercial and residential buildings.

Start Date: 01/09/2014 – present

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Contact Us

Assoc Prof Mohammad Aldee

Director, Future Grid Laboratory

T: +61 3 8344 7298

Dr Iman Shames

T: +61 3 8344 6689