Funding entity Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (AEI)
Participated by Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (UAH)
The future sustainability of the Worlds Energy System (WES) rests on a massive and distributed penetration of renewable energy sources and their substantial increase in the generation mix. This phenomenon is already taking place at an ever-increasing pace (that is bound to speed up in the future) thanks to facilitating technologies such as power electronics. Therefore, conventional synchronous technology will gradually move from its dominant position towards a situation in which coordination with other and newer technologies will be mandatory. In fact, a situation in which the whole electricity demand of certain regions is supplied by electronic converters from renewable energy sources, at least temporarily, is possible or is already occurring. In this new situation there exists the urgent need to rethink current paradigms regarding the control and operation of conventional electric energy systems in order to address future scenarios (lower system inertia, faster dynamics, controller interactions, etc.). The main objective of this project is to provide the in-depth analysis of the control, operation and technology requirements for the newly created breed of electricity networks of low-to-nil conventional generation with increasing numbers of smart components (generators and loads, for example). This type of systems must include (a) alternating current (AC) sub-grids because of the large number of existing AC loads and the necessity of maintaining the compatibility with the conventional grid and (b) direct current (DC) sub-grids where most of the renewable-based generation can be more naturally integrated (see solar energy, for example), energy storage (batteries) can also be easily interfaced and some domestic and industrial loads can be connected (computers and electrical drives, for example). Currently, the operation of hybrid (DC/AC) electric grids is possible thanks to the use of electronic Voltage Source Converters (VSCs, abbreviated). This project will address the following specific topics:
(1) Modelling, analysis, control, and quality of electrical grids with low-to-nil conventional generation in order to improve their flexibility thanks to the use of power electronics while similar levels of voltage control, quality and reliability of supply to those already achieved with conventional systems can be reached.
(2) The detailed study of selected electronic power converters and related technologies as key tools for electrical grids like those under study. The project will focus on solid-state (electronic or intelligent) transformers, energy storage, distributed VSCs and virtual synchronous machines.
(3) Experimental demonstration and validation of the main theoretical contributions developed in points (1) and (2).