Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




ENERGY TECH
A smart grid self-organized simply
by Staff Writers
Munich, Germany (SPX) Feb 05, 2015


Decentrally organised electricity supply: According to a study carried out by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, electricity control devices, so-called smart meters, can tailor the electricity supply from nuclear power plants and wind farms to the demand from industry and households based on a self-organised process. The study also takes into account whether the electricity is available in stored form, for example in batteries, or whether it has free storage capacity. Image courtesy Benjamin Schafer / MPI for Dynamics and Self-Organization. For a larger version of this image please go here.

To improve the management of fluctuations in the electricity supplied by solar and wind installations, the electricity network needs to work more intelligently in the future. Electricity suppliers aim to be able to regulate consumption on the basis of supply with the help of an intelligent electricity network, a smart grid. Intelligent electricity meters developed for such a system would be able to switch electrical devices on and off.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization have now shown that intelligent electricity meters can match electricity demand and supply decentrally and on an entirely self-organised basis. Up to now, electricity suppliers worked on the assumption that they would need to collect consumption data centrally and also centrally coordinate electricity demand and supply.

This makes the electricity supply vulnerable to hacker attacks and also raises data protection issues - problems that do not arise with a fully decentral solution of the Max Planck researchers. Decentral control also relaxes the need for the complex design of the vast communications infrastructure that would be required to connect millions of electricity meters with the major energy suppliers in future.

The use of renewable energy sources is growing rapidly. For instance, since early 2014, the feed-in from renewable energy sources has reached over 28 percent of electricity consumption in Germany - a new, all-time high.

However, with the rise of solar and wind installations, fluctuations in the electricity network are also on the rise. When a cloud front covers South Germany, there is an abrupt dip in the amount of electricity supplied by the solar power plants. And when a storm approaches, electricity production in the wind parks increases suddenly and fluctuates even more than usual.

Such fluctuations do not arise in the traditional electricity network, as the generators in the coal-fired power stations and remaining nuclear power stations chug along regularly day in day out, providing a constant supply of electricity.

The increasing feed-in fluctuations will have to be balanced out in the future by simultaneous variations in electricity consumption. For example, when the wind and sun provide a lot of energy, the cooling units in computer centres and warehouses, and electric car charging stations should be cranked up; when production dips, they should be put on stand-by.

To achieve this, the energy suppliers would like to equip their customers in the future with electricity control devices, so-called smart meters. These would be installed in households or company premises and transmit the data they collect automatically to the energy supplier. Depending on the available supply of electricity, household and industrial devices could then be switched on or off.

Customers are more likely to adopt such systems if they are offered excess energy at lower prices. To coordinate the electricity supply and demand, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Gottingen have introduced a new concept which focuses on the fully decentral matching of electricity supply and demand.

Hackers could bring a central supply network to a halt
The concepts available today for a future intelligent electricity network (smart grid) work on the assumption that the data for all electricity consumers and generators would be collected centrally by the energy supplier.

However, according to Benjamin Schafer, a physicist from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, this approach involves various risks: "This kind of central control is a potential target for hacker attacks." If someone hacks into the control centre via the Internet, they could at worst bring the supply network to a complete standstill. In times of increasing Internet criminality, this scenario must be taken seriously.

"Moreover, it remains to be clarified how data protection could be guaranteed if customer consumption data are constantly being transmitted to a central location."

For this reason, Benjamin Schafer, member of Marc Timme's Research Group, "Network Dynamics" examined whether central control is actually essential. The inspiration for the project was provided by a cooperation partner of the Max Planck researchers, the managing director of the Karlsruhe-based company Easy Smart Grid, Thomas Walter.

His company develops system solutions for the operation of decentral energy networks - that is electricity networks, in which the electricity is not provided exclusively by large power plants and is increasingly supplied by numerous small generators.

As part of this study, Benjamin Schafer, together with Marc Timme, his former colleague Dirk Witthaut and Masters' student Moritz Matthiae, examined whether, and how, smart meters installed on customers' premises could regulate consumption directly and decentrally without a detour via a central control system.

For this purpose, the physicists developed a mathematical model in which they simulated the electricity generators and consumers. They wanted to find out whether the entire network remains stable when regulation is carried out decentrally and no longer involves coordination with the central energy supplier.

Would the network be able to run itself on a more or less self-organised basis? Basically, network frequency, i.e. the frequency at which the alternating current oscillates in the supply network, is used as a parameter for regulation.

It is defined at 50 Hertz and may only deviate from this target value as a result of network fluctuations by a maximum of 0.2 Hertz. If a storm front darkens the skies over a solar park, for example, or an aluminium plant starts up its machinery, less electricity is available the network locally and the frequency falls slightly.

If the sun generates more electricity again or major electricity consumers are switched off, more electrical energy is available and the frequency rises. The electricity suppliers must take active measures to maintain the frequency of 50 Hertz and avoid faults in the network.

Smart meters can control the electricity consumption decentrally
Schafer and his colleagues have now succeeded in demonstrating that such faults can actually be balanced out if the electricity control devices respond directly. The smart meters are thus entirely capable of using frequency changes as a parameter and controlling the electricity consumption of connected electrical devices themselves.

Schafer overcame a particular challenge through his analysis: It is known that many devices have a delayed response to short-term frequency changes in the network, which sometimes arise within a period of milliseconds - for example, a cooling unit has a delayed response when the compressor has to be switched on or off. Schafer wondered how long such a delay can be and whether it might prevent the direct control of frequency fluctuations through the smart meters installed on the consumers' premises.

His results are very positive. He established that smart meters do not have to react immediately as smaller fluctuations often balance themselves out within a few seconds or fractions of a second. For larger fluctuations, this kind of delay is actually useful.

Therefore, it is ideal if the smart meters average out the frequency values over a few seconds, then intervene, and regulate and adapt consumption accordingly. This means, of course, that a sufficient number of smart meters and electrical devices must always be activated so that the impact on the electricity network is adequate.

"No previous study analysed in detail whether a smart grid can actually function without central control. Our analysis has shown for the first time that this is possible in principle," says Marc Timme.

A decentral control system of this nature would offer enormous advantages. In particular, it would no longer be necessary to build the vast communications infrastructure that would otherwise be required to connect millions of smart meters to the major energy suppliers.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ENERGY TECH
Masdar, Masdar Institute And ABB Announce New Facility
Masdar, UAE (SPX) Feb 01, 2015
Masdar ( Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company ), The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, and ABB, a leading power and automation technology group announced a collaboration agreement to jointly develop a photovoltaic (PV) testing facility located within the Masdar City premises. ... read more


ENERGY TECH
Service Module of Chinese Probe Enters Lunar Orbit

Service module of China's lunar orbiter enters 127-minute orbit

Chinese spacecraft to return to moon's orbit

Russian Company Proposes to Build Lunar Base

ENERGY TECH
Gully patterns document Martian climate cycles

The two faces of Mars

Helicopter Could be 'Scout' for Mars Rovers

Hilltop Panorama Marks Mars Rover's 11th Anniversary

ENERGY TECH
Heady days for tech sector 15 years after bubble burst

NASA, Boeing, SpaceX Outline Objectives to ISS Flights

Boeing will be first to carry US astronauts to space

Japanese businessman set to resume space tourist training

ENERGY TECH
More Astronauts for China

China launches the FY-2 08 meteorological satellite successfully

China's Long March puts satellite in orbit on 200th launch

Countdown to China's new space programs begins

ENERGY TECH
NASA's CATS Installed on ISS by Robotic Handoff

Roscosmos, NASA Still Planning on Sending Men Into Space

Russian Cargo Spacecraft to Supply ISS With Black Caviar

Astronauts' year-long mission will test limits

ENERGY TECH
Soyuz Installed at Baikonur, Expected to Launch Wednesday

SpaceX releases animation of heavy-lift Falcon rocket

NASA TV Coverage Reset for Launch of Newest Earth-Observing Mission

Japan delays launch of satellite due to weather

ENERGY TECH
Dawn ahead!

Smaller Gas Giants Could Support Life

Will NASA's TESS Spacecraft Revolutionize Exoplanet Hunting?

Kepler astronomers discover ancient star with 5 Earth-size planets

ENERGY TECH
How ionic: Scaffolding is in charge of calcium carbonate crystals

Graphene edges can be tailor-made

Scientists 'bend' acoustic and elastic waves with new metamaterials

The laser pulse that gets shorter all by itself




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.