tirsdag 23. september 2014

Smart Campus project

By participants at the NorRen Summer School 2014
Professor Paul Borza, Professor at Transilvania University of Brasov, Romania
Professor Gady Golan, President at Hermelin Academic College of Engineering, Israel
Kaveri Bhuyan, Researcher at SINTEF, Norway
Vasco Gomes, Researcher at Transylvania University Brasov, Romania
Mohammad Ostadi, PhD candidate at NTNU, Norway, and
Nuno Amaro, PhD candidate at University in Lisbon, Portugal

Smart Grids are the electric grids of the future. 

Although everyone in science and technology knows the term, there is not yet a clear definition for it. To help people understand the methodologies involved, our group decided to create a little example of a smart grid.

The created project was named Smart Campus. The idea is to establish a micro grid system, operating as an energetic island, in a Smart Grid context. The campus consists of 5 departments/buildings which can be seen as grid users. 
The main goals of this project include:
  1. Creation of a self-sustained self-managed energy system;
  2. To demonstrate a holistic energy efficient system;
  3. To generate consumption and tariff patterns for optimization of energy efficiency;
  4. Consumer and government education by increasing customer awareness;
  5. Dissemination and deployment of the Smart Grid concept;
  6. Building a knowledge base of the smart grid consumers behavior;
  7. Connecting to the distribution network and other micro grids.
Like any faculty campus, this one is connected to the power grid. However, it will only buy energy from the grid as a last resource, since it has its own power sources. The considered power sources are: solar panels, wind turbines, a micro hydro generator, and a diesel generator. Since one of the main issues in existing electric grids is related to energy storage, this campus will also have a storage system consisting of batteries (for medium term storage) and flywheels acting as fast energy stabilizers to assure the continuity of the electric system in case of a fault.

To measure spent energy and to be able to optimize energy consumption it is necessary to add intelligent devices such as smart meters and smart energy counters. The considered consumers for this scenario are comprised of departments and neighboring micro-grids which are faculties. This brings up the possibility to not only use generated energy in the campus, but also to trade it with neighbors.

Considering that a university campus has many different energetic needs, the chosen network topology is a combination of an AC grid and a DC grid. In this sense, equipment can be connected to one or both of those grids, considering its needs. In order to not complicate the scenario, the associated load profiles are only defined for the following appliances: white goods, HVAC, lighting system, computers, and access and security systems.

To implement and design such a system, there are a lot of challenges, included in different technological disciplines. This means that the following specialties need to be considered:
  1. Electrical engineering – responsible for the simulation and implementation of PV system, wind generation system and all related control aspects.
  2. Mechanical engineering – responsible for the structural and thermal aspects in the design and operation of wind turbines. These specialists are also responsible for all heat flow systems.
  3. Science department – in charge of all data analysis, modelling and optimization processes.
  4. Computer engineering – to implement management algorithms, cyber-security and other ICT challenges. 
  5. Management department – to create a business model, define and run an evaluation process to measure economic efficiency, results, statistics. Also responsible for the project management, policy and regulations.
  6. Design department – to develop the interface for interactive communication with customers.
Not considering the raw materials and technological equipment there are other components that need to be taken into account to implement the smart campus. The computing components (software) that are needed for the project are:
  1. Solar power management;
  2. Wind power management;
  3. Smart meter management;
  4. Smart home emulation scenarios;
  5. Higher level micro grid management integration;
  6. Communication among all smart grid components;
  7. Cyber security – Hierarchic protocol gateways.
To ensure high reliability in the complete system the following characteristics are required:
  1. Power quality – to improve quality of power in the network;
  2. Fault prediction – identification and detection of fault;
  3. Fault management – mitigate fault; 
  4. Communication software – to achieve an interactive communication with customers and also with higher hierarchy micro grid networks;
  5. Power management – Manage DC grids, AC grids, connection with the network and assure the continuity and reliability of the power system;
  6. Software security – to assure cyber security in all network components;
  7. Energy storage management system.
At the end of the project, an evaluation and assessment process must be implemented. This process must consider the following parameters: 
  1. Quality management – power, performance, components and system;
  2. Validation – comparison of obtained results with the initial goals;
  3. Academic evaluation;
  4. Economic evaluation;
  5. ROI – return on investment;
  6. Impact on community;
As a summary, to help people understand the concept of a Smart Grid, a small introductory project for a Smart Campus was presented. This campus is considered as a micro grid, with energy generation capabilities operating in a Smart Grid context. This means that the campus is surrounded by other micro grids, which can also have some power generation systems. The grid context can be viewed as a hierarchic system, in which these micro grids are the smaller units one can consider. It is then necessary to understand that existing micro grids can exchange power between each other and with the grid. The main technologies and challenges were presented. However, it is necessary to consider that a smart grid is a very complex system, and many other challenges may arise in a real case implementation. The creation of real micro grid systems and the operation in a Smart Grid context can help improve energy efficiency and power quality, leading to a better utilization of electric energy. This is critical considering the current situation of energy and environment in the world.

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