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The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
  • 2012-08-17 16:50:00
  • Article ID: 592750

As Smart Electric Grid Evolves, Virginia Tech Engineers Show How to Include Solar Technologies

  • Credit: Virginia Tech

    Virginia Tech’s Reza Arghandeh, an electrical and computer engineering Ph.D. candidate, second from left, works with his adviser Robert Broadwater, professor of electrical and computer engineering, third from left, and authored the internationally award winning paper. Also working with them on the smart grid and renewable energy sources is Ahmet Onen, also an ECE Ph.D. candidate, far left, and Jeremy Woyak who graduated with his ECE master’s degree. All reside in Blacksburg, Va.

Contact:

Lynn A. Nystrom

tansy@vt.edu

540 231 4371

An economically feasible way to store solar energy in existing residential power networks is the subject of an award winning paper written by two Virginia Tech electrical engineers and presented at an international conference.

Reza Arghandeh of Blacksburg, Va., a doctoral candidate in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech, won the best student paper award at the 20th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering, held in conjunction with the American Society of Mechanical Engineering Power 2012 Conference at Anaheim, Calif.. His advisor is Robert Broadwater, professor of electrical and computer engineering, who specializes in electric power system analysis and design.

In their paper, they acknowledge that solar energy resources are “intermittent, seasonal, and non-dispatchable.” However, the current national climate with its deregulation policies, electricity tariffs, control strategies and demand management are “significant tools for flexible and resilient operation of power systems with photovoltaic adoption levels,” Arghandeh argued.

“Selling the household generated electricity into the electric energy market and the storage of electricity in storage systems and demand control systems provide a variety of economic opportunities for customers and utility companies to use more renewable resources,” he added.

Some residential houses are already doing just this – selling power back to an electrical distribution industry. But Arghandeh and Broadwater’s work provides an optimization algorithm for a Distributed Energy Storage (DES) system on a broad scale. The system they developed presents a fleet of batteries connected to distribution transformers. The storage system can then be used for withholding distributed photovoltaic power before it is bid to market, Arghandeh explained.

“Withholding distributed photovoltaic power, probably gained from rooftop panels, represents a gaming method to realize higher revenues due to the time varying cost of electricity,” he said.

Arghandeh is referring to the peak usage of energy systems such as the early evening hours when families return home from school and from work versus the low usage times that occur in the early morning hours when most households are asleep. “The distributed photovoltaic power adoption can be controlled with the help of real-time electricity price and load profile,” he confirmed.

Today’s power systems are moving towards a smart grid concept to improve their efficiencies, reliability, economics, and sustainability. Arhhandeh and Broadwater want to make sure that solar technologies are integrated with the existing technologies like energy storage and control systems.

Specifically, the distributed energy storage system computation they devised is called a discrete ascent optimal programming approach. It insures convergence of the various power systems after a finite number of computational iterations. A solution determined by using their approach depends upon the day ahead forecast of load variation, market prices, and photovoltaic generation.

The output of their optimization algorithm is a distributed energy storage charging and discharging schedule with maximized operation benefits.

Electrical Distribution Design (EDD) of Blacksburg, Va., a leading edge software company serving the utility industry, funded this research.

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Ultrathin Device Harvests Electricity From Human Motion

Imagine slipping into a jacket, shirt or skirt that powers your cell phone, fitness tracker and other personal electronic devices as you walk, wave and even when you are sitting down. A new, ultrathin energy harvesting system developed at Vanderbilt University's Nanomaterials and Energy Devices Laboratory has the potential to do just that.

Energy-Efficient Accelerator Was 50 Years in the Making

With the introduction of CBETA, the Cornell-Brookhaven ERL Test Accelerator, Cornell University and Brookhaven National Laboratory scientists are following up on the concept of energy-recovering particle accelerators first introduced by physicist Maury Tigner at Cornell more than 50 years ago.

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Titan Simulations Show Importance of Close 2-Way Coupling Between Human and Earth Systems

A new integrated climate model developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other institutions is designed to reduce uncertainties in future climate predictions as it bridges Earth systems with energy and economic models and large-scale human impact data.

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India's EV Drive Will Boost Power Utilities, Increase Energy Security

India is pushing hard to electrify its automobile market, aiming to sell only electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. But what impact will that shift have on the country's utilities and the grid? A new report by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that the prospective EV expansion will deliver economic benefits, help integrate renewable energy, and significantly reduce imports of foreign oil.

Studying Argon Gas Trapped in Two-Dimensional Array of Tiny "Cages"

For the first time, scientists have trapped a noble gas in a two-dimensional porous structure at room temperature. This achievement will enable detailed studies of individual gas atoms in confinement--research that could inform the design of new materials for gas separation and nuclear waste remediation.

Mica Provides Clue to How Water Transports Minerals

In a new study from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Delaware, chemists have been able to look at the interface between water and muscovite mica, a flat mineral commonly found in granite, soils and many sediments. In particular, the researchers looked at the capture and release of rubidium - a metal closely related to but more easily singled out than common elements like potassium and sodium.


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Construction Begins on International Mega-Science Experiment to Understand Neutrinos

In a unique groundbreaking ceremony held this afternoon at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, a group of dignitaries, scientists and engineers from around the world marked the start of construction of a massive international experiment that could change our understanding of the universe. The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) will house the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), which will be built and operated by a group of roughly 1,000 scientists and engineers from 30 countries.

Buchanan Named Deputy for Science and Technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Michelle Buchanan, an accomplished scientific leader and researcher, has been appointed Deputy for Science and Technology at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory by new Lab Director Thomas Zacharia.

Neutrino Project to Fuel Particle Physics Research

Over the next decade, 800,000 tons of rock will be excavated from the former Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota, to accommodate a particle detector filled with 70,000 tons of liquid argon cooled to -300 degrees Fahrenheit to study neutrinos beamed from Fermilab in Illinois. It's called the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

Berkeley Lab to Lead Multimillion-Dollar Geothermal Energy Project

The Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) will lead a new $9 million project aimed at removing technical barriers to commercialization of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), a clean energy technology with the potential to power 100 million American homes.

PNNL Scientist Ruby Leung Appointed a Battelle Fellow

Ruby Leung of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been named a Battelle Fellow -- the highest recognition from Battelle for leadership and accomplishment in science. She is one of eight Battelle fellows at PNNL.

Gu and Paranthaman Named ORNL Corporate Fellows

Researchers Baohua Gu and Parans Paranthaman have been named Corporate Fellows of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

DOE Funds Center for Bioenergy Innovation at ORNL to Accelerate Biofuels, Bioproducts Research

The DOE has announced funding for new research centers to accelerate the development of specialty plants and processes for a new generation of biofuels and bioproducts.

Grant Focuses on 'Hydrogen Sponge' for Use in Fuel-Cell Vehicles

Finding practical hydrogen storage technologies for vehicles powered by fuel cells is the focus of a $682,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, awarded to Mike Chung, professor of materials science and engineering, Penn State.

Engineers Win Energy Department Grants to Help Develop a Reliable, Resilient Power Grid

Two Iowa State electrical engineers have won Energy Department grants to help improve the country's power grid. The projects' goals include addressing the challenges of adding high levels of intermittent power sources to the grid, mainly wind and solar power.

Heart of Matter Studies Resonate with Award Winner

Raul Briceno was presented with the 2017 Kenneth G. Wilson Award for Excellence in Lattice Field Theory on June 22. The award citation noted his "groundbreaking contributions to the study of resonances using lattice QCD."


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Scientists Program Yeast to Turn Plant Sugars into Biodiesel

Redox metabolism was engineered in Yarrowia lipolytica to increase the availability of reducing molecules needed for lipid production.

Soils Could Release Much More Carbon than Expected as Climate Warms

Deeper soil layers are more sensitive to warming than previously thought.

Weaving a Fermented Path to Nylons

Microbial enzymes create precursors of nylon while avoiding harsh chemicals and energy-demanding heat.

Loosening of Lignocellulose: Switchgrass and Success in Sugar Release

Using a genetically modified line of switchgrass, scientists reduced plant cell wall recalcitrance while increasing sugar release over three generations.

Extending the Life of Lithium-Ion Batteries

Scientists offer new insights into how the source of electrons in batteries fails.

Unraveling the Molecular Complexity of Cellular Machines and Environmental Processes

State-of-the-art mass spectrometer delivers unprecedented capability to scientists.

Speeding Up Catalysts for Energy Storage

Researchers develop the fastest synthetic catalyst for producing hydrogen gas, potentially leading to a new environmentally friendly, affordable fuel.

Watching Neutrons Flow

Like water, neutrons seek their own level, and watching how they flow may teach us about how the chemical elements were made.

FIONA to Take on the Periodic Table's Heavyweights

FIONA (For the Identification Of Nuclide A) is a newly installed device designed to measure the mass numbers of individual atoms of heavy and superheavy elements. FIONA will let researchers learn about the shape and structure of heavy nuclei, guide the search for new elements, and offer better measurements for nuclear fission and related processes.

Laser Stripping Powers Protons

Researchers demonstrate a new technique that could lead to significantly higher power proton beams to answer tough scientific questions.


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