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Research Components

About the Project » Research Components

The research activities in this project focus on the thorough research into, and implementation of the core technological components which comprise the Smart Grid. These include the three major spheres of: Energy/Power, Communications and High Performance Computing.



One of the main features of Smart Grid technology is the two way flow of electricity, i.e. using this technology, electricity can also be put back into the power grid by the users. This backward flow is very important, as it can help in:

  • balancing loads during peak hours by sending power back into the grid (peak shaving)
  • reducing the electricity bill of the user and preventing them from blackouts

To implement the concept of the two way flow of electricity, we have to integrate various renewable energy sources like solar panels, wind turbines and fuel cels, among others, with the use of existing power grids. However effective utilization of distributed renewable energy sources and their integration poses many challenges. The key problem is how to model these renewable energy sources.

 Very complicated forecasting and scheduling is needed for wind and solar renewables as they are intermittent and fluctuant in nature, so there is a need to understand and explore both long term and short term renewable source patterns and likely behaviour. In order to effectively utilize the renewable energy, we will perform thorough mathematical analysis on its modeling. 



The introduction of Smart Grids into the local infrastructure will require the integration of several different technologies. One such area is Communications since data from sources such as meters and sensors must be relayed back to some central location in order to make smart decisions. Furthermore, actions to be taken (i.e. controls) must be relayed back to appropriate controllers in the grid. The specific requirements (message frequency, message size, QoS requirements, etc.) of such communications are dictated by the underlying applications. Som information may already be readily accessible/disseminated directly over the grid while others may require a new communication infrastructure (wired or wireless). We will investigate how new wireless technologies (e.g. in LTE Advanced) that are eing developed for M2M (machine to machine) communications, can be cost effectively used for this purpose. In addition, we will investigate what new forms of sensors should be deployed and what aspects of information gathered from the grid (e.g. outage maps) should be made available to the public (e.g. via a web site or mobile apps). Such maps can also be used to indicate areas that will require load shedding (brown out) unless peak-hour consumer demand is decreased (e.g. use of washer/dryer in off-peak hours, etc.). In summary, the use of ICT for both improving the efficiency of the present infrastructure and for providing the consumer with more information will be investigated.


High Performance Computing:

This aspect of the project is concerned with looking at the computing needs for building the Smart Grid and examining the currecnt computing infrastructure to see whether it can address these needs. Under the assumption that the power communicaty is not in a position to develop or create its own computing platforms from scratch and hence, must work with generally accepted standards and commercially successful hardware and software platforms, we then ask to what extent can these existing options be used to address the requirements of the smart grid. Many promising power management ideas demand a level of scalability which can only be offered by Multi-core High Performance Computing (HPC), but also have additional requirements (real-time, consistency, privacy, security, etc.) that HPC may not currently support. Some of these gaps will not soon be filled by the HPC industry, for reasons stemming and underlying economic drivers that have shaped the industry and will continue to do so. Apart from building the computing infrastructure, the aim is to carry out valuable simulations of different day to day scenarios with respect to the grid. Our expertise and experience in this field allows us to foresee the different requirements of the thematic area for carrying out different simulations and mould according to the field in question. Here, it is a power grid distribution.