Focus Group Report

Parallel Panel Session 1: Smart Grid: Current Status (5x10m + 40m Q&A)

Panel Chair: Robert Balog, Texas A&M University, USA

Panel Summary:

The group of panelist was eclectic and gave presentations ranging the spectrum from an academic test bed, to industrial experiences, to a vendor offering test solutions, all within the scoped of the smart grid. Attendance during the panel ranged from 16 to 24 over the course of the session

The first presentation was by Dr. Osama A. Mohammed, Professor at the Florida International University, USA. He spoke about the desirable characteristic of a laboratory-based smart grid test-bed and the specific infrastructure and capabilities at Florida International University. The theme of student education, started in this presentation, was echoed during the question and answer period and emerged as perhaps the most significant outcome of the panel discussion. He suggested that a communication system infrastructure was part was necessary in a test bed. The hybrid energy / communications system should provide real-time monitoring of a variety of architectures and distribution system connectivity ideas to emulate different systems and Microgrids, have a cyber-physical infrastructure to test data handling and real-time control, and enable the implementation of wide-area protection system and the study of dynamic issues such as real-time voltage stability using synchrophasors. In addition, the ideal test bed for smart grids would include alternate and sustainable sources with controllers to enable the integration of embedded architecture and distributed control through intelligent agents as well as to perform market analysis, economic studies and social behavior. Further, the test bed should include emulation modules of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles (PHEVs) and (PEVs) that emulate energy storage systems, SOC and SOH for batteries. It should further enable the integration of hybrid ACDC systems such as micro grid solutions for residential and industrial applications and enhancement of energy efficiency and management in addition to integration of multi agents in an embedded platform to utilize data from components and systems including smart meters, hardware-in the-loop (HIL) controllers and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).

The second personation was by Mr. Marc Lacy, Vice President of Smart Grid Sales and Business Development, Alstom, France. He discussed that the power grid must support the development and integration of renewable energy solutions, which in is occurring faster than anyone predicted, thanks to regulatory incentives, but which results in challenges to maintaining grid reliability. The first-order effects of renewables — namely the intermittent nature of wind and solar, and how solar in particular can drive rapid swings in power balance in regional areas. Combing with local distribution and decentralized models for control, the result can be seen as loss of frequency inertial and reactive power quality. He shared a vision in which self-healing Microgrids no longer depend on the transmission system to set and control local frequency, yet can achieve stable and reliable operation. He stated that power electronics will dominate grid operation when in a high penetration of renewable scenario.

The third presentation was by Mohammed Junaid, Project Manager with Siemens, Qatar. He described the current system of manual, monthly meter reading Qatar and discussed the rollout of over 17,000 smart meters as part of the KAHRAMAA advanced metering project. The AMI technology is bi-directions and allows not only for remote reading, but also remote control for connect / disconnect. He discussed he merits of power line carrier technology to the meter and then levels of data aggregation, ultimately leading to fiber back to the data / control centers. Amongst the reported customer benefits of the project include a portal in which the customer can see current and forecasted energy bills. The vision is to ultimately have time-of-use data to create an energy-enabled customer.

The fourth presentation was by H.B. “Trip” Doggett, President and Chief Executive Officer of Electric Reliability Council (ERCOT) of Texas, USA. Mr. Doggett described some of the unique aspects of the Texas deregulated energy market in which 75% of load is served through an unbundled market – the remaining 25% are served through local municipality associates and cooperatives. ERCOT has 6.7million smart meters deployed. Unfortunately the area where Texas A&M is located is served by a municipal utility which does not have a smart meter program. He discussed load-shed program such as utility-control of pool pumps to shed electrical load during the peak time of the day. In a day marked with discussion of renewable energy and power electronics, Trip did not see much of a future for photovoltaic in Texas, despite the abundance of solar resources.

The final presentation was on from Carlo Canziani, Business Development Manager with Keysight, Spain. He discussed that with the emergence of alternative energy, electric vehicles, electrification of aircraft and many other energy related technologies, there is a large need for testing. He offered test solutions being offered by Key sight that span the range from power semiconductor technologies (SiC, GaN) through power electronic modules and motor drives, and smart meter technologies.

The question and answer session had a lively exchange between industry and academia discussing the need to determine how best to educate the future work force. The example was given that motor-generator labs used to be ubiquitous in electrical engineering education and educated most of the current workforce. Now, with the emergence of Microgrids, smart grids, and renewable energy, academia and industry have the opportunity to partner to develop the pedagogy to ensure that students are well prepared to enter the new energy industry. An interesting message came from industry as to the appropriateness of simplifying assumptions made by faculty and students in research projects, which was counted by faculty in the audience with an invitation for industry to become more involved and share the inside-information and data that would justifiable assumptions. The allotted time was consumed without resolution of this dialog, suggesting that future panels and/or workshops are needed to address the educational challenges in the smart grid.

Parallel Panel Session 2: Microgrids and Distributed Generation (4x15m + 30m Q&A)

Panel Chairs: Joseph Ojo, Tennessee Tech University, USA and Lazhar ben Brahim, Qatar University, Qatar

Panel Summery:

There were four presentation in the session:

1. Hybrid Power Generation Strategies for Microgrid Applications

Kaushik Rajashekara, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering and Distinguished Chair of Engineering, University of Texas at Dallas, USA

In his presentation, Dr Rajashekara talked about hybrid power generation system which includes two or more power generation sources for better efficiencies than those obtained from a single power source.  Hybrid power generation systems with different combinations of fuel cells and renewable energy sources for microgrid applications were discussed.

The hybrid systems discussed are combined cycle operation of a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) and a micro turbine; proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell and wind turbine; combination of SOFC and PEM fuel cell; and SOFC and solar thermal power generation system. The outline of his talks is as follows:

  • Why Hybrid Power Generation for Microgrid?
  • SOFC/Gas Turbine Hybrid Concept
  • SOFC- Solar air turbine systems
  • SOFC – PEM Fuel Cell Hybrid Power System
  • PEM Fuel- Wind Turbine Hybrid Power Generation System

2. Small Wind Turbines and PV Installations in Modern Distributed Power Generation Systems

Mariusz Malinowski, Professor, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

Dr Malinowski talked about low-power, small wind turbines (SWTs) and PV installations (SPV) that are still under research/development. He discussed different proposed features to achieve better performance while minimizing the cost. He investigated dynamically expanding sector of SWTs and SPV. Suitable power electronics converter topologies and their controls for better use in SWT and SPV were discussed. The outline of his talks is as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Small Wind Turbines (SWTs)
  • Small PV installations (SPV)
  • Applications

3. Power Electronic Converters for Microgrids

Mohammad Abusara, Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter, UK

Dr Mohammad introduced the need of Power Electronics Converters (PEC) to manage the flow of power from these RES into the grid or from the grid into the energy storage systems. For microgrids, PEC should supply high quality currents, low voltage ride through, and steady state network support. He also explained the role of PECs to transfer seamlessly from grid-connected mode to island mode and vice versa in order to provide uninterruptable power supply.

4. Integration Considerations for Inverter-based Distributed Generation”

Shehab Ahmed, Associate Professor, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Qatar

Dr Ahmed talked about Inverter-based distributed generation (IBDG) and their negligible fault current contribution compared with synchronous generators due to inherent non-overload capabilities. In his presentation, he discussed an experimental investigation of two scenarios for IBDG fault current contribution under different fault conditions. In the first scenario, the inverter is controlled to produce zero output current or is disconnected upon fault occurrence, which is the case for most commercial grid-connected inverters. In the second scenario, the inverter contributes its rated current to the fault. The practical selection may be questionable and is affected by the fault level, employed protection scheme, and the penetration level of IBDGs.

Parallel Panel Session 3: Energy Storage Systems in the Smart Grid (5x10m + 40m Q&A)

Panel Chairs: Dallia Ali, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Qatar, and Gavin Walker, University of Nottingham, UK

Panel Summery:

1. Energy Storage Technologies for the Grid Storage Application                                                     

Ilias Belharouak — Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), Qatar

  •  Illias reviewed most of the Energy Storage Systems (ESS) but focused on batteries
  • He mentioned that in Qatar the ES will be integrated from the residential up to the Distributed level (100kW up to 2 MW).
  • He sees that flow batteries, lithium-ion batteries are generally the technology to be used

2. Integrating Oil and Gas Renewable Solar Nitrogen Energy Storage Systems into the Smart Grid

Daniel Aklil — Pure Energy Centre, UK

  •  Daniel aimed stabilizing the grid when lots of renewables are integrated into it, through absorbing the excess in renewable power and utilizing it in generating Nitrogen gas as a commodity for use in the oil & gas, the petrochemical and the food industry.
  • He aimed making money while removing the limitation in the amount of renewable that can be integrated without grid collapse.
  • He mentioned that other commodities can be generated like Hydrogen, oxygen and clean water.

3. Microgrids, Distributed Generation and Energy Storage: Opportunities and Challenges

Suleiman Sharkh — University of Southampton, UK

  •  Suleiman reviewed Microgrids
  • He talked about storing waste heat and re-using it as heat rather than changing it back to electricity
  • He reviewed the efficiency of different interfaces to the grid (tidal, wave, and electric vehicles)
  • He spoke about the protection of systems with integrated Distributed Generation

4. Flywheel Energy Storage Systems

Ahmed Massoud – Qatar University, Qatar

  •  Ahmed spoke about Flywheel energy storage as an early day, well established, and easy technology
  • He spoke about the advantages of this technology (high power density, high efficiency, fast response, clean, low maintenance, and are not affected by the temperature), low energy density.
  • He gave us a comparison of the materials used in its construction.
  • He said that they are either low speed with mechanical bearing or high speed with magnetic bearing.
  • He reviewed the kinds of machines used (PMSM, IM, …)
  • He reviewed the types of power electronic converters
  • He reviewed the types of casings employed
  • He reviewed the applications

5. Energy Storage as an Enabling Technology for the Smart Grid

Omar Ellabban — Texas A&M University at Qatar, Qatar

Dr. Omar reviewed:

  • Why we need Energy Storage (ES)
  • What is an ESS
  • Benefits of ES
  • Classification of ESS
  • Current ES technologies
  • ES for grid integration

He mentioned that the challenge for ES grid integration is having a cheap large scale storage.

Final Discussion (The Q&A Session):

 1. If we store the excess in renewable energy (RE) as Nitrogen, can we return it back to electricity?

  •  It is better to use N2 as a commodity
  • We don’t always have to return output back to electricity, so for example if we store heat it is better to use it as heat. We need to have a broader thinking of the most efficient utilization.
  • It has taken the oil & gas electricity generation 200 million years to be established and we are sticking to it in spite of its pollution, the associated time and cost, and the low efficiency. So why we don’t give the new renewable and its storage technologies some time.

 2. Before choosing any Energy Storage technology, 4 aspects need to be considered:

  •  Market needs
  • Cost competitiveness
  • Its viability, reliability and efficiency
  • Its acceptance by industry

Dr. Illias sees that Lithium-ion is the best suited technology

 3. What is the required purity of Nitrogen?

  •  This depends on the application, so in oil &gas some applications needs 95% purity, while others require 99% and a few requires 99.999%. Nitrogen is used in oil rig lifting, gas purging, and food industry.
  • Nitrogen is generated at 7 bars average

 4. What Energy Storage technology does QEERI intend to apply for the Qatar Foundation System?

  •  Two Systems will be tested, a Flow battery system and a Lithium-ion System.
  • They don’t know what technology is the best, so they are testing and validating accordingly

 5. What is the effect of the temperature in Qatar on batteries?

  •  Not known yet, QEERI will test this

 6. What are the challenges to Energy Storage as seen by the different Speakers?

  •  Different applications require different storage technologies, therefore we need to test and investigate the best technology for each application – ending up with high cost.
  • The reliability of energy storage is a challenge
  • Storing energy doesn’t have to be returned back to electricity, we need to optimize the system for each given application. For example utilized output can be heating, cooling, clean water, H2, O2, or N2
  • The challenge for grid-integrated energy storage is the need for solutions to be used for the next 40 years