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article imageIntelligent solutions for the power grid of the future

By Tim Sandle     Apr 22, 2018 in Technology
Keila - The expansion of electric cars is set to place greater strain on power grids. In order to deal with the demand, smart solutions are required to control power grid supplies. Researcher have been looking at options.
Electric cars are the future, set to replace cars reliant upon fossil fuels over the next two decades. The rise of electric vehicles poses challenges for power grids. As electric cars are subject to rapid powering, this means that high quantities of energy are required at charging stations for short periods of time.
These peak loads lead to bottlenecks across the electricity grid and this fluctuating and high demand creates issues for the growth in electromobility. The resultant challenges for energy transition mean that new types of flexible and reliable power grid are required.
Moreover, according to Wired: “Today’s grid would likely fail catastrophically if the entire U.S. car fleet immediately made the switch to running on electricity.” This means that new solutions are required for the electromobile age.
A possible solution to this is a type of Smart Transformer. This is the idea from a research center called Power Electronics. The group is based at the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel. The new type of transformer can transform medium voltage into low voltage, while minimizing energy losses and also enables DC connection.
In a new development, the researches have constructed a prototype which uses silicon carbide power semiconductors. These semiconductors are designed to controls the current flow. This technology allows for easier integration of charging stations into the power grid. Furthermore, the technology could be used to support data centers.
The use of Smart Transformers also fits with the expansion of renewable energy solutions, providing power to grids. Many standard electric distribution system limits the use of renewable energy resources, offers poor electric vehicle infrastructure, and they are based on a unidirectional information flow from sources to control centers. Moreover, in some countries, encouraged by attractive tax incentives and promotion policies, some local grid end consumers are becoming not only consumers of electricity but also producers. These issues can be potentially addressed through the Smart Transformer concept.
According to lead researcher says Professor Marco Liserre, in conversation with EE News Europe: "The conventional infrastructure is not designed for bidirectional current flows.” For this reason, the new Smart Transformer concept is designed for distributing electricity according to demand and for avoiding overloads or grid failures.
More about Electric cars, electric vehicles, Smart grid, Grid, Energy
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