Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Channeling powerful Kansas wind to keep electricity running

Date:
March 22, 2011
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
Engineers are researching ways to use Kansas wind and other distributed energy sources to avoid cascading failures and prevent major power outrages.

One of Kansas' most abundant natural resources may hold the key to preventing major power outages. A team of Kansas State University engineers is researching ways to use Kansas wind and other distributed energy sources to avoid cascading failures.

Sakshi Pahwa, doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering, India, explored the topic for her recently completed master's project, "Distributed Sources and Islanding to Mitigate Cascading Failures in Power Grid Networks." The project was a winner at the recent Capitol Graduate Research Summit in Topeka.

Pahwa's co-advisers on the project include Caterina Scoglio, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Noel Schulz, Paslay professor of electrical and computer engineering and K-State's first lady. Pahwa is continuing this work for her doctoral research under Scoglio and Ruth Douglas Miller, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The research looks at using distributed energy sources to avoid cascading failures in power grids. A cascading failure occurs when an interconnected part of a power system fails and then triggers successive parts to fail -- like the one that happened in the Northeast Blackout of 2003, a power outage that affected 55 million people in the United States and Canada.

To prevent cascading failures researchers are investigating a technique called islanding, which works to minimize the impact of a power system fault to a small area. Islanding prevents this fault from affecting other areas and stops further disturbances in the network.

"We used a network partitioning algorithm, and then depending on where the fault is I can disconnect that portion of the network," Pahwa said. "That disconnected portion can then be powered using renewable or distributed energy sources, such as wind turbines or solar panels, and the remaining parts are still being powered by conventional sources."

The Kansas wind can potentially provide abundant renewable energy that could power the disconnected portion of the network. For data collecting and testing purposes, the researchers plan to use the university's wind turbine north of campus, near the intersection of Denison and Kimball avenues, as well as four other wind turbines installed at the Riley County Public Works Facility.

The university turbine was installed for Wind for Schools, a project led by Miller, director of the Kansas Wind Application Center. The Riley County wind turbines were installed for the Resourceful Kansas project, a cooperative effort between Miller, Scoglio, Riley County and the Kansas City-based consulting firm GBA, and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

"We need to set up power systems that are reliable and stable so that when that wind is blowing, we can use that power, but when the wind isn't blowing, there are also stable systems," Schulz said. "That's what this project is about -- modeling the network so we understand the different aspects for when there are changes, when the wind blows, when it doesn't and how that affects the power system."

Scoglio and Pahwa started the project when Pahwa was a master's student. As they began studying complex network systems, they turned to Schulz, a power grid expert who has done previous work with islanding. They also collaborated with power systems expert Anil Pahwa, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Shelli Starrett, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

"With the proper design and the right intelligence, some of the problems related to power failures can be prevented," Scoglio said. "We need to make sure that the communication network will monitor the network and detect the problem and will implement the reaction securely to implement these solutions."

Sakshi Pahwa's research aims to not only study the problem from a theoretical aspect, but also provide practical solutions to real-world problems. It also fits in with the Renewable Energy Standards Act, which was signed in 2009 and states that major Kansas utilities should be able to generate about 10 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2011 and 20 percent by 2020.

"This project benefits the state because it reduces carbon emissions through renewable energy," Pahwa said. "It is a good opportunity to create jobs, and renewable energy incorporation is also a support to the conventional sources so we don't need to import fuels from other countries. It helps the economy as well."

Pahwa's research was supported by the four companies involved in the K-State Electrical Power Affiliates Program: Westar Energy, Burns and McDonnell, Nebraska Public Power District and Omaha Public Power District. Schulz directs the program, which supports undergraduate and graduate research programs.

"This research is a benefit for Kansas and the whole nation because I think that innovation, coming from research and support from companies such as those that are part of the power affiliates, can really bring the country back to a better economic situation," Scoglio said. "Innovation comes with jobs and can really improve the whole nation."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "Channeling powerful Kansas wind to keep electricity running." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321134619.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2011, March 22). Channeling powerful Kansas wind to keep electricity running. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321134619.htm
Kansas State University. "Channeling powerful Kansas wind to keep electricity running." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321134619.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins