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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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The Challenge of Estimating Alaska's Soil Carbon Stocks

A geospatial analysis determined the optimal distribution of sites needed to reliably estimate Alaska's vast soil carbon.

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Scientists have identified a set of biomarkers that indicate which patients infected with the Ebola virus are most at risk of dying from the disease. The results come from one of the most in-depth studies ever of blood samples from patients with Ebola.

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Studies at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have made the first real-time observations of how silica - an abundant material in the Earth's crust - easily transforms into a dense glass when hit with a massive shock wave like one generated from a meteor impact.

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Lignocellulose-degrading enzyme complexes could improve biofuel production.

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Scientists use heat and mismatched surfaces to stretch films that can potentially improve the efficient operation of devices.

Simple is Beautiful in Quantum Computing

Defect spins in diamond were controlled with a simpler, geometric method, leading to faster computing.

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Argonne to Install Comanche System to Explore ARM Technology for High-Performance Computing

Argonne National Laboratory is collaborating with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to provide system software expertise and a development ecosystem for a future high-performance computing (HPC) system based on 64-bit ARM processors.

CANDLE Shines in 2017 HPCwire Readers' and Editors' Choice Awards

Argonne National Laboratory has been recognized in the annual <em>HPCwire</em> Readers' and Editors' Choice Awards, presented at the 2017 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC17), in Denver, Colorado.

SLAC's Helen Quinn Honored with 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics

Helen Quinn, a professor emerita at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, will receive the 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics - one of eight prestigious Franklin Institute Awards that will be handed out in Philadelphia next April.

PPPL Honors Grierson and Greenough for Distinguished Research and Engineering Achievements

Article describes PPPL's presentation of 2017 Kaul Prize and Distinguished Engineering Fellow awards.

INCITE Grants of 5.95 Billion Hours Awarded to 55 Computational Research Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science announced 55 projects with high potential for accelerating discovery through its Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program. The projects will share 5.95 billion core-hours on three of America's most powerful supercomputers dedicated to capability-limited open science and support a broad range of large-scale research campaigns from infectious disease treatment to next-generation materials development.

Former SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan Awarded Japan's Order of the Rising Sun

Former SLAC Director and Stanford University Professor Emeritus Jonathan Dorfan has been awarded Japan's Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star for his contributions as founding president of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST). It is the highest award Japan bestows on university presidents.

Jefferson Lab Staff Scientist Honored with APS Fellowship

Fulvia Pilat, a staff scientist at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society. The honor is bestowed by members of APS on their peers for exceptional contributions to their fields.

First Northwest Theoretical Chemistry Conference Is a Hit!

The first Northwest Theoretical Chemistry Conference was a success. The event offered ~50 early career theorists and students opportunities to present talks in a nurturing environment that developed and advanced collaborations.

Argonne Forms New Divisions to Focus on Computation and Data Science Strengths

Argonne has formed two new research divisions to focus its lab-wide foundational expertise on computational science and data science activities.

Hermann Grunder Recognized by IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society

Dr. Hermann Grunder, Founding Director of Jefferson Lab, has been selected as one of two recipients of the 2018 IEEE NPSS Particle Accelerator Science and Technology (PAST) Award.


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The Challenge of Estimating Alaska's Soil Carbon Stocks

A geospatial analysis determined the optimal distribution of sites needed to reliably estimate Alaska's vast soil carbon.

Unplugging the Cellulose Biofuel Bottleneck

Molecular-level understanding of cellulose structure reveals why it resists degradation and could lead to cost-effective biofuels.

How Fungal Enzymes Break Down Plant Cell Walls

Lignocellulose-degrading enzyme complexes could improve biofuel production.

Stretching to Perfection of 2-D Semiconductors

Scientists use heat and mismatched surfaces to stretch films that can potentially improve the efficient operation of devices.

Simple is Beautiful in Quantum Computing

Defect spins in diamond were controlled with a simpler, geometric method, leading to faster computing.

The Effect of Hurricanes on Puerto Rico's Dry Forests

More frequent storms turn forests from carbon source to sink.

A Chemical Thermometer for Tropical Forests

Monoterpene measures how certain forests respond to heat stress.

Where a Leaf Lands and Lies Influences Carbon Levels in Soil for Years to Come

Whether carbon comes from leaves or needles affects how fast it decomposes, but where it ends up determines how long it's available.

Twisting Molecule Wrings More Power from Solar Cells

Readily rotating molecules let electrons last, resulting in higher solar cell efficiency.

Rules Are Only Suggestions in Heavy Elements

The arrangement of electrons in an exotic human-made element shows that certain properties of heavy elements cannot be predicted using lighter ones.


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