Feature Topics

Smart Grid

In just a few years, electricity distribution as we know it will transform radically. This quantum leap in power management requires innovative solutions in power engineering, measurement and control electronics and IT.

  1. Power from renewable energies (photovoltaic technology, wind power, biomass) is on the increase. However, because the generation of such types of power is decentralized and requires smaller equipment compared to traditional power sources, power grid management will become a challenge.
  2. As such energy is not generatedrandomly rather than consistently, the power grid must be able to constantly assess demand and supply.
  3. The operating reserves of load following plants will not be able to balance out the resulting fluctuations and stabilizing the power grid will have to take second place to actively managing large consumers, energy accumulators and decentralized power generation facilities.
  4. Decentralized load following plants will have to contribute substantially to stabilizing the power grid. One approach currently under discussion is increasing cogeneration in industry and homes (fuel cells, gas and Stirling engines, gas and steam turbines). A prerequisite would be determining short- and medium-term predictions of the future demand for and supply of heat and power, so that electricity and heat needs can be met reliably. This, in turn, requires collecting and processing data on the weather, consumer behavior, condition and load flow at each grid element (power plants, households, industry) in real-time.
Fraunhofer IZM is advancing this area by developing new and customized technologies in the following areas:
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