Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Managing renewable energy intelligently

Date:
March 25, 2014
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Although more and more of our electrical energy is coming from sources where supply is variable – whether from wind turbines, solar parks or biomass facilities – grid structures, industry and private households alike are not yet prepared to deal with the inevitable fluctuations. Smart energy management systems are the way to put robust supply networks in place and to ensure that renewables are harnessed as efficiently as possible.

Although more and more of our electrical energy is coming from sources where supply is variable -- whether from wind turbines, solar parks or biomass facilities -- grid structures, industry and private households alike are not yet prepared to deal with the inevitable fluctuations. Smart energy management systems are the way to put robust supply networks in place and to ensure that renewables are harnessed as efficiently as possible. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance will be showcasing their energy solutions for energy providers, small and medium-sized enterprises and homes at this year's Hannover Messe.

"Wind, solar and biogas are all energy sources with their own strengths and weaknesses. And it's by combining the strengths of each in a smart way that we'll be able to guarantee Germany's energy supply into the future," says Dr. Kurt Rohrig, deputy director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology IWES in Kassel. But what happens when, instead of a big power plant, you have a host of individual small energy producers feeding in energy to the grid at varying times? Is reliable operation of the grid still technically feasible? In the "Combined Power Plant 2" research project, both science and industry have answered the question with a resounding yes. Their concept: to use a software platform to bring together a multitude of small energy providers within a "virtual power plant."

Software platform brings decentralized providers together

Experts have already conducted a test showing that this setup does indeed work reliably in practice, having combined numerous wind parks, biogas and photovoltaic facilities delivering a total output of over 80 MW in a virtual combined-cycle power plant. Because small providers work together, regional variations in wind and sun can be evened out via the grid or using biogas facilities that can be regulated according to requirement. Surplus energy is either stored or converted into heat. The result is a powerful network that remains decentralized but can still operate as a larger unit in energy trading markets. And it's not just the facilities brought together in the virtual power plant that can be managed and monitored via the software platform; the energy generated can be marketed, too.

"The results of the Combined Power Plant 2 project demonstrate that network reliability can be guaranteed even when relying purely on renewables," says Dr. Rohrig. Fraunhofer IWES offers the relevant control mechanisms and forecasting systems for a variety of applications, including the Wind Power Management System and Regional Virtual Power Plant for the energy industry.

Dynamic energy management systems

More and more companies are generating energy themselves, using solar installations or systems that recover energy from manufacturing waste, in an effort to cut costs. Now, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg have developed dynamic energy management systems that manage distributed energy providers, storage and current energy consumption efficiently. Installed in a company, such a system determines whether enough renewable energy will still be available to charge the fleet of electric company cars once power has been supplied to the HVAC system. So that the system can operate fully automatically, the amount of energy required and the amount of power expected to be produced on a given day are measured at first for general planning. In the detailed planning stage, data are supplied for the next fifteen minutes. The researchers use neural networks trained specifically for the particular complex infrastructure to make a forecast, which the system then uses to optimize energy use in the next quarter of an hour automatically.

"We need to change our thinking from the now common generation of power geared toward consumption to consumption geared toward providers. Smart and dynamic management systems ensure that energy is used efficiently all the time," explains Dr. Przemyslaw Komarnicki from the Fraunhofer IFF.

Technologies for smart energy use in the home

With solar cells on the roof and small combined heat and power plants in the basement, homes are also generating energy. But the energy a household generates is seldom sufficient to meet its combined energy requirements throughout the year. The only option is to buy in energy -- preferably when it is at its cheapest. "There are significant savings to be made if you can cleverly combine independently generated energy with variable energy tariffs and storage," says Jasmin Specht from the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen. In an effort to make this a reality, researchers from Fraunhofer IIS, Fraunhofer ISE and Fraunhofer IWES are working on an open software platform called OGEMA 2.0 that will allow modular energy management systems to be developed efficiently.

OGEMA 2.0 energy management systems can control energy producing, storing and consuming devices to achieve their optimal use. Not only do they facilitate the best possible use of independently generated energy in houses or apartments, they also allow users to store excess energy and to recall it when it is required. On top of providing key management functions, the system can also communicate with other participants in the smart energy network. This allows to actively contribute to supply stability and the inclusion into a virtual power plant.

Secure energy management via apps

The smart energy management system can be accessed via various interfaces, including smartphones, tablets and computers. For example, OGEMA 2.0 enables apps that tell users whether they would be better off using the energy generated by their solar cells themselves or whether they should feed it in to the grid. Such apps are also capable of tracking variable energy tariffs and automatically calculate when and how best to use connected devices such as heat pumps, storage systems, air conditioning systems and other smaller consumers of energy. OGEMA 2.0 even helps charge electric vehicles cost-effectively, with the E-Car Communication Manager (ECM) coordinating communication among various charge spots (direct and alternating current), the driver and the car's battery system. The system features the maximum security level in line with the protection profiles of the BSI (Federal Office for Information Security). This means smartphone users also have secure access to OGEMA 2.0 while on the move.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Managing renewable energy intelligently." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140325094814.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2014, March 25). Managing renewable energy intelligently. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140325094814.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Managing renewable energy intelligently." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140325094814.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Protesters Stage Wall Street Climate Sit-in

Raw: Protesters Stage Wall Street Climate Sit-in

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A day after over 100,000 people marched against climate change, more than 1,000 activists blocked parts of Manhattan's financial district. Over 100 people, including a person wearing a white polar bear suit, were arrested Monday night. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday warned about the potential "catastrophe" if global warming was not dealt with in a "powerful" way. Duration: 01:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) After a year of poor rains and heavy fighting Somalia is again at risk of famine, just three years after food shortages killed 260,000 people. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
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