Plug and Play Hybrid Power Control System

Primary Inventors: 
Description: 

A novel approach to the design, operation and control of hybrid power generation systems, via an integrated communication network. Components (energy generators, consumers, support and control equipment) of the system are connected by 2 pathways, one for the distribution of energy, and the other for communications between components.   

Three important characteristics of the system:

1) Open standards:

  • to facilitate connection of components by different vendors,
  • Internet suite of software,
  • XML metalanguage for standardized transmission of data,
  • Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) for identification in the network

2) Automatic component identification

3) Adaptable control algorithm

The goal is to achieve an automated supervisory controller over a power grid system through compatible components, software and communications network, allowing the components present in the system to adapt to situations such as a component dropping out of the system, coming on-line, or human intervention.

Applications: 

Power companies, hybrid power design engineering firms, control and communications engineering, manufacturers of components and subsystems of power generating components, such as wind turbines, diesel gensets, photovoltaic systems, power converters.

Good possibility of extending the concept beyond isolated hybrid power systems to so-called "distributed generation" power systems, more common in developed countries, such as the US.

Advantages: 

Currently, hybrid power systems are composed of numerous components, such as wind turbines, diesel generators, photovoltaic panels, batteries, etc. which require a communication system custom designed and engineered for each location. 

In conventional, or centralized, generation of electricity, there are relatively few, large generating plants. These plants, typically coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, or natural gas, supply electricity first to transmission systems, which consist primarily of relatively high voltage power lines. These transmission systems ultimately feed electricity into lower voltage distribution systems. Users of electricity (factories, commercial businesses, homes, etc.) get their electricity from the distribution system.  In "distributed generation" relatively small electricity generators are connected to the distribution system. Electricity from these generators is either sold to the utility or it may be used to reduce the amount of electricity purchased. In this case, the net effect is similar to energy conservation. These small generators are typically wind turbines, solar photovoltaics, fuel cells, etc. As described by the US Dept. of Energy, distributed generation is: "small, modular electricity generators sited close to the customer load and can enable utilities to defer or eliminate costly investments in transmission and distribution (T&D) system upgrades, and provide customers with better quality, more reliable energy supplies and a cleaner environment."

Licensing Status: 
Available for Licensing and Sponsored Research
Patent Status: 

 

Docket: 
UMA 06-20
For More Information: 

Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property
Phone: 413-545-3606
E-mail: cvip@research.umass.edu