The Potential of Power-Electronic Sustainable Energy Systems
A recent study by IRENA shows that quick adoption of renewable energy solutions together with energy efficiency strategies would greatly reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions to meet climate goals. In fact, power electronics sustainable energy systems are the backbone of these solutions.
So what is power electronics? It is the use of electronic devices, switching electric circuits, information and communication technology, and control algorithms to interface with renewables and other loads (e.g. lighting, motors); in doing so managing the electric power flow within the system. When many of these power electronic circuits are connected together, they form a power network: a microgrid.
TO FIND OUT MORE
Associate Professor Dylan Lu
The discipline of Electrical Power and Energy Systems (EPES) within the School of Electrical and Data Engineering has diverse areas of expertise in microgrids, namely devices, circuitry, electric motors, system control, planning and operation. Led by Associate Professor Dylan Lu, their team have several areas of ongoing work in energy efficiency, including;
- Exploring better electric motor materials, shapes and design to reduce losses in the electromechanical energy conversion. The saving is significant as around 65% of electricity goes to driving motors
- Devising new power electronic circuits that enable the use of more efficient semiconductor devices (e.g. GaN transistors) and improve overall efficiency
- Developing hybrid AC and DC microgrid that integrates different energy sources and reduces energy waste by removing repeated power conversions because some renewables and loads operate in DC instead of the 50/60 Hz AC.
- In regards to supply reliability,
- We have developed wind energy forecasting algorithm using computational intelligence to combat its power fluctuations
- We have devised algorithms and predictive control for large-scale distributed energy storage systems so the power system won’t collapse unexpectedly
- Our analysis shows that home appliances have good potential to actively support the grid
These ideas and solutions are being developed and tested at the Faculty of Engineering and IT's state-of-the-art research facility: UTS Tech Lab.
A lot of work is still to be done as the functionality and potential of microgrid technology has not been fully explored; notably in the areas of interaction with existing AC grids, with electric vehicles and fast charging. The Electrical Power and Energy Systems team and the School of Electrical and Data engineering are eager to work with wider community to combat climate change through better microgrid design, planning and operation.
Contact: Associate Professor Dylan Lu
Head of Discipline, Electrical Power and Energy Systems