Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Technology could lead to more reliable renewable energy systems

Date:
December 3, 2013
Source:
University of Alabama
Summary:
Renewable energy sources such as wind-powered generators can be more reliable and efficient by better controlling the process of getting electricity onto the power grid, according to new research.

Dr. Shuhui Li, left, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at The University of Alabama, and graduate student Ishan Jaithwa examine equipment in Li’s laboratory.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Alabama

Renewable energy sources such as wind-powered generators can be more reliable and efficient by better controlling the process of getting electricity onto the power grid, according to a United States patent based on research by Dr. Shuhui Li, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at The University of Alabama.

Related Articles


Li, with assistance from Dr. Tim Haskew, professor and head of the electrical engineering department, found in their research that wind turbines often stop sending electricity to the grid because of competing processes in converting electricity into a form usable for power distribution. The patent, granted in November to UA, claims an algorithm that when programmed into the turbine's power electronics better controls the electric conversion.

"There are two different control tasks that fight to control each other's method," Li said. "When you compete, it's dangerous, and sometimes you compete wrong."

The patent and two other pending patents are part of Li's efforts to enhance energy generation from renewable resources and improve the efficiency, reliability, stability and power quality of integrated renewable and electric utility systems. For electric energy consumers, Li hopes to improve the power quality and uninterrupted energy supply to meet customers' needs and increase incentives for energy consumers to use less expensive, more reliable energy from renewable resources and electric vehicles.

Renewable energy such as wind or solar power produce electricity at varied rates, unlike electric generators powered by the consistent burning of fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas. The wind energy produced is alternating current, or AC, electricity, which is the form of electricity used to deliver power across the grid. However, it is near impossible for a wind turbine, for example, to produce AC electricity at the correct frequency needed for distribution.

To get the AC electricity at the right frequency, the generator converts it to direct current, or DC, power that can then be converted again into AC at a frequency needed for distribution on the power grid. The problem, though, is the active and reactive power control tasks of the conversion fight with each other, messing with the other's process, Li's research has shown. When the fluctuation or oscillation appears in the system -- as can happen with wind turbines -- the generator could trip off until production ramped back up. This would interrupt the flow of electricity onto the grid, Li said.

If wind turbines and other renewable energy systems are to make up more of electricity production in the future, they need to be more reliable and with higher power quality, Li said. The technology behind the patent improves the energy coming from the wind turbine and makes it a more reliable and efficient contributor to the power grid.

The University of Alabama Office for Technology Transfer is working with Li to market the patent and related technology for commercial use. For a more detailed description, please visit UA OTT's website.

U.S. Patent Designated No. 8,577,508 was granted Nov 5.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Alabama. "Technology could lead to more reliable renewable energy systems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203124532.htm>.
University of Alabama. (2013, December 3). Technology could lead to more reliable renewable energy systems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203124532.htm
University of Alabama. "Technology could lead to more reliable renewable energy systems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203124532.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tesla 'Insane Mode' Gives Unsuspecting Passengers the Ride of Their Life

Tesla 'Insane Mode' Gives Unsuspecting Passengers the Ride of Their Life

RightThisMinute (Jan. 29, 2015) — If your car has an "Insane Mode" then you know it&apos;s fast. Well, these unsuspecting passengers were in for one insane ride when they hit the button. Tesla cars are awesome. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) — Bill Gates joins the list of tech moguls scared of super-intelligent machines. He says more people should be concerned, but why? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) — The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bipartisan bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Stunt Pilots Perform Incredibly Close Flyby

Two Stunt Pilots Perform Incredibly Close Flyby

Rumble (Jan. 29, 2015) — Two pilots from &apos;Escuadrilla Argentina de Acrobacia Aιrea&apos; perform an incredibly low altitude flyby stunt during a recent show exhibition in Argentina. Check it out! Video provided by Rumble
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

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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