Posted in | Water | Renewable Energy

Researchers Design a New Method that Permits High Utility of Harvested Energy

Scientists from Italy have designed a method that can help smart homes that are connected to a microgrid—a set of individualized units that are linked to one another and by one common energy source—to use energy more efficiently.

The study outcomes offer an approach that can control the distribution of energy, thereby focusing on the necessity of effective approaches for the management of residential energy. In particular, the scientists have suggested a method that can facilitate the planning of electrical energy activities of smart homes that are connected to a microgrid and a distributor. They show that this helps residents within the microgrid to supply energy among themselves, thereby reducing the overall load and need for renewable energy.

The work has been reported in the May issue of IEEE/CAA Journal of Automatica Sinica (JAS), a collaborative publication of the IEEE and the Chinese Association of Automation.

Supplying buildings and homes with various small and grid-connected distributed energy resources is advantageous for many reasons. First, it decreases energy loss while distributing and transmitting energy from natural sources like wind and sunlight, which are not continuous sources (sun can be blocked by clouds and winds change speed often), denoting that the energy produced is not always fully consumed. One way of dealing with this is to store surplus energy, but this could be expensive. Another alternative solution is uniting smart homes by a proactive approach so that electricity distribution is balanced.

As part of this study, the scientists aimed at planning of electrical energy activities of a microgrid consisting of smart homes. The main objective was to decrease the energy supply from the grid by letting homes to swap their unused renewable energy and by optimally planning energy amounts used. All smart homes can acquire or sell energy from or to the grid. At the same time, smart homes unite and may purchase or sell locally harvested renewable energy from or to other smart homes.

The proposed approach allows maximally exploiting the locally harvested energy, while ensuring that privacy about users' consumption schedules is maintained.

Raffaele Carli, PhD, Research Fellow, Politecnico di Bari, Italy

Carli is also the corresponding author of this study.

The scientists suggested a decentralized optimization algorithm, a system that can allow every home within the grid to serve as a single electricity load node. They explained that this is the best way that can permit electricity use and use-scheduling so that any excess can be shared with other users in the network.

The aim of the scientists is to improve estimations of the parameters that target optimization in future.

The next step is to address a more complex scenario where residential users are eventually equipped with energy storage systems, whose capacities are reallocated among users. In this case the energy management aims at defining a control strategy that additionally ensures an optimal energy storage sharing, while simultaneously planning the consumption profile of the controllable appliances, the exchanged renewable energy among users, and energy to be bought/sold from the distribution network.

Raffaele Carli, PhD, Research Fellow, Politecnico di Bari, Italy

The final objective is to improve the efficiency in meeting the high demand for distribution and storage.

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