Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Batteries for Smart Grids

Greetings from the Australian National University in Canberra, where Philipp Braun is speaking on how to work out the use of home batteries for solar panels (more formally "Hierarchical distributed optimization and predictive control of a smart grid").

Phillip compared a centralized versus distributed approach. With the centralized approach the electricity authority issues commands to the batteries to charge or discharge, with distributed the controller in each house tries to predict what will be needed. He has worked on an approach combining centralized and distributed approach: the central system sends out a suggested solution, which the local system then modifies.

While interesting, Phillip's approach does not allow for micro-grids. That is coordinating the households in a neighborhood. This is an attractive alternative as it can take into account how the households are physically wired together, as well as local climatic conditions which will effect solar power production and power use. As well as physical constraints making micro-grids practical there are also financial and regulatory reasons to coordinate household power, even if they are near-by.

Phillip is now at ANU, and has published a number of papers.

The Canberra based company Reposit Power, founded by an ANU graduate, produces systems for controlling home batteries. They recently featured in the ABC TV documentary "Battery powered homes".

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