The 30-meter-tall wind turbine is delivering 10 kW. The turbine operates on a vertical rather than a horizontal axis so it does not have to be oriented to wind direction. The investment costs are low. The MSG can be run in island mode in parallel to the grid operated by the local energy provider.
"If our batteries are empty, we can connect the MSG to the local grid," explained Rose.
What is special about this MSG is that it is designed as a direct current (DC) grid. Photovoltaic facilities and battery storage devices both use direct current. We settled on a DC design for our micro smart grid to avoid the losses that occur when transforming alternating current (AC) into DC, explained Rose.
In addition to the energy management software, the IAO scientists are also setting up a simulation environment in which to lay out their MSG and play out various scenarios, such as different weather conditions.
Rose sees a host of advantages in decentralized power generation, but none more significant than being able to secure supply. Rose said:
As Germany continues to move toward a new energy economy, increasing demand is being placed on the countrys power grids. Wind and photovoltaic facilities generate electricity intermittently, which doesnt always match customer demand. The grid has to compensate for these fluctuations, increasing the risk of power outages. We can counteract this risk by establishing decentralized supplies of electricity and by optimizing the way we manage our energy. And doing so also serves to increase our independence from energy price trends by largely eliminating the need to import electricity.
In their living lab, the IAO scientists now plan to create a testing environment that will allow industrial companies, systems providers, public utility companies, communities and distributers to explore the potential of micro grids. Over the next two years, the Micro Smart Grid innovation network will provide interested parties with an opportunity to work up new kinds of smart grid configurations and operating strategies. Using the Fraunhofer micro smart grid demonstrator, the project partners can test their hardware and software components and investigate options for allowing other consumers to connect to the MSG. whether, for example, to run a buildings air conditioning system or to integrate other production facilities.
"Our long-term goal is to bring individual local grids together to form a large smart grid," said Rose.
The researchers will demonstrate a virtual model of their smart grid at the Hannover Messe from April 7 through April 11 at the joint Fraunhofer booth in Hall 2, Booth D18.
This article was originally published on EE Times Europe.