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A Framework for Evaluating Electric Power Grid Improvements in Puerto Rico(2.58 MB)

Summary

This report is motivated by the recognition that serving highly distributed electric power load in Puerto Rico during extreme events requires innovative methods. To do this, we must determine the type and locations of the most critical equipment, innovative methods, and software for operating the electrical system most effectively. It is well recognized that the existing system needs to be both hardened and further enhanced by deploying Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), solar photovoltaics (PV) in particular, and local reconfigurable microgrids to manage these newly deployed DERs. While deployment of microgrids and DERs has been advocated by many, there is little fundamental understanding how to operate Puerto Rico’s electrical system in a way that effectively uses DERs during both normal operations and grid failures. Utility companies’ traditional reliability requirements and operational risk management practices rely on excessive amounts of centralized reserve generation to anticipate failures, which increases the cost of normal operations and nullifies the potential of DERs to meet loads during grid failures. At present, no electric power utility has a ready-to-use framework that overcomes these limitations. This report seeks to fill this void.
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Summary

This report is motivated by the recognition that serving highly distributed electric power load in Puerto Rico during extreme events requires innovative methods. To do this, we must determine the type and locations of the most critical equipment, innovative methods, and software for operating the electrical system most effectively. It...

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Modular Aid and Power Pallet (MAPP): FY18 Energy Technical Investment Program

Published in:
MIT Lincoln Laboratory Report TIP-93

Summary

Electric power is a critical element of rapid response disaster relief efforts. Generators currently used have high failure rates and require fuel supply chains, and standardized renewable power systems are not yet available. In addition, none of these systems are designed for easy adaptation or repairs in the field to accommodate changing power needs as the relief effort progresses. To address this, the Modular Aid and Power Pallet, or MAPP, was designed to be a temporary, scalable, self-contained, user-focused power system. While some commercial systems are advertised for disaster relief systems, most are limited by mobility, custom battery assemblies (with challenges for air transport, ground mobility, or both), and the ability to power AC loads. While the first year system focused on an open architecture design with distributed DC units that could be combined to serve larger AC loads, the second year succeeded in minimizing or eliminating batteries while providing AC power for both the distributed and centralized systems. Therefore, individual modules can be distributed to power small AC loads such as laptop charging, or combined in series for larger loads such as water purification. Each module is powered by a small photovoltaic (PV) array connected to a prototype off-grid Enphase microinverter that can be used with or without energy storage. In addition, an output box for larger loads is included to provide a ground fault interrupt, under/over voltage relay, and the ability to change the system grounding to fit the needs of a more complicated system. The second year MAPP effort was divided into two phases: Phase 1 from October 2017 to March 20181 focused on refining requirements and vendor selection, and Phase 2 from March 2018 to October 20182 focusing on power electronics, working with the new Enphase microinverter, and ruggedizing the system. The end result is the Phase 2 effort has been designed, tested, and proven to form a robust AC power source that is flexible and configurable by the end user. Our testing has shown that operators can easily set up the system and adapt it to changing needs in the field.
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Summary

Electric power is a critical element of rapid response disaster relief efforts. Generators currently used have high failure rates and require fuel supply chains, and standardized renewable power systems are not yet available. In addition, none of these systems are designed for easy adaptation or repairs in the field to...

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Component standards for stable microgrids

Published in:
IEEE Trans. Power Syst., Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 852-863. 2018.
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Summary

This paper is motivated by the need to ensure fast microgrid stability. Modeling for purposes of establishing stability criterion and possible implementations are described. In particular, this paper proposes that highly heterogeneous microgrids comprising both conventional equipment and equipment based on rapidly emerging new technologies can be modeled as purely electric networks in order to provide intuitive insight into the issues of network stability. It is shown that the proposed model is valid for representing fast primary dynamics of diverse components (gensets, loads, PVs), assuming that slower variables are regulated by the higher-level controllers. Based on this modeling approach, an intuitively-appealing criterion is introduced requiring that components or their combined representations must behave as closed-loop passive electrical circuits. Implementing this criterion is illustrated using typical commercial feeder microgrid. Notably, these set the basis for standards which should be required for groups of components (sub grids) to ensure no fast instabilities in complex microgrids. Building the need for incrementally passive and monotonic characteristics into standards for network components may clarify the system level analysis and integration of microgrids.
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Summary

This paper is motivated by the need to ensure fast microgrid stability. Modeling for purposes of establishing stability criterion and possible implementations are described. In particular, this paper proposes that highly heterogeneous microgrids comprising both conventional equipment and equipment based on rapidly emerging new technologies can be modeled as purely...

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High performance computing techniques with power systems simulations

Published in:
IEEE High Performance Extreme Computing Conf., HPEC, 25-27 September 2018.
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Summary

Small electrical networks (i.e., microgrids) and machine models (synchronous generators, induction motors) can be simulated fairly easily, on sequential processes. However, running a large simulation on a single process becomes infeasible because of complexity and timing issues. Scalability becomes an increasingly important issue for larger simulations, and the platform for running such large simulations, like the MIT Supercloud, becomes more important. The distributed computing network used to simulate an electrical network as the physical system presents new challenges, however. Different simulation models, different time steps, and different computation times for each process in the distributed computing network introduce new challenges not present with typical problems that are addressed with high performance computing techniques. A distributed computing network is established for some example electrical networks, and then adjustments are made in the parallel simulation set-up to alleviate the new kinds of challenges that come with modeling and simulating a physical system as diverse as an electrical network. Also, methods are shown to simulate the same electrical network in hundreds of milliseconds, as opposed to several seconds--a dramatic speedup once the simulation is parallelized.
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Summary

Small electrical networks (i.e., microgrids) and machine models (synchronous generators, induction motors) can be simulated fairly easily, on sequential processes. However, running a large simulation on a single process becomes infeasible because of complexity and timing issues. Scalability becomes an increasingly important issue for larger simulations, and the platform for...

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Fuel production systems for remote areas via an aluminum energy vector

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Published in:
Energy Fuels, Vol. 32, no. 9, 2018, pp. 9033-9042.
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Summary

Autonomous fuel synthesis in remote locations remains the Holy Grail of fuel delivery logistics. The burdened cost of delivering fuel to remote locations is often significantly more expensive than the purchase price. Here it is shown that newly developed solid aluminum metal fuel is suited for remote production of liquid diesel fuels. On a volumetric basis, aluminum has more than twice the energy of diesel fuel, making it a superb structural energy vector for remote applications. Once aluminum is treated with gallium, water of nearly any purity is used to rapidly oxidize the aluminum metal which spontaneously evolves hydrogen and heat in roughly equal energetic quantities. The benign byproduct of the reaction could, in theory, be taken to an off-site facility and recycled back into aluminum using standard smelting processes or it could be left onsite as a high-value waste. The hydrogen can easily be used as a feedstock for diesel fuel, via Fischer-Tropsch (FT) reaction mechanisms, while the heat can be leveraged for other processes, including synthesis gas compression. It is shown that as long as a carbon source, such as diesel fuel, is already present, additional diesel can be made by recovering and recycling the CO2 in the diesel exhaust. The amount of new diesel that can be made is directly related to the fraction of available CO2 that is recovered, with 100% recovery being equivalent to doubling the diesel fuel. The volume of aluminum required to accomplish this is lower than simply bringing twice as much diesel and results in a 50% increase in volumetric energy density. That is, 50% fewer fuel convoys would be required for fuel delivery. Moreover, aluminum has the potential to be exploited as a structural fuel that can be used as pallets, containers, etc., before being consumed to produce diesel. Furthermore, FT diesel production via aluminum and CO2 can be achieved without sacrificing electrical power generation.
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Summary

Autonomous fuel synthesis in remote locations remains the Holy Grail of fuel delivery logistics. The burdened cost of delivering fuel to remote locations is often significantly more expensive than the purchase price. Here it is shown that newly developed solid aluminum metal fuel is suited for remote production of liquid...

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Multi-layered interactive energy space modeling for near-optimal electrification of terrestrial, shipboard and aircraft systems

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Published in:
Annual Reviews in Control, no. 45, 2018, pp. 52-75.
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Summary

In this paper, we introduce a basic multi-layered modeling framework for posing the problem of safe, robust and efficient design and control that may lend itself to ripping potential benefits from electrification. The proposed framework establishes dynamic relations between physical concepts such as stored energy, useful work, and wasted energy, on one hand; and modeling, simulation, and control of interactive modular complex dynamical systems, on the other. In particular, our recently introduced energy state-space modeling approach for electric energy systems is further interpreted using fundamental laws of physics in multi-physical systems, such as terrestrial energy-systems, aircrafts and ships. The interconnected systems are modeled as dynamically interacting modules. This approach is shown to be particularly well-suited for scalable optimization of large-scale complex systems. Instead of having to use simpler models, the proposed multi-layered modeling of system dynamics in energy space offers a promising basic method for modeling and controlling inter-dependencies across multi-physics subsystems for both ensuring feasible and near-optimal operation. It is illustrated how this approach can be used for understanding fundamental physical causes of inefficiencies created either at the component level or are a result of poor matching of their interactions.
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Summary

In this paper, we introduce a basic multi-layered modeling framework for posing the problem of safe, robust and efficient design and control that may lend itself to ripping potential benefits from electrification. The proposed framework establishes dynamic relations between physical concepts such as stored energy, useful work, and wasted energy...

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Potential impacts of climate warming and increased summer heat stress on the electric grid: a case study for a large power transformer (LPT) in the Northeast United States

Published in:
Climatic Change, 20 November 2017, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-2114-x
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Summary

Large power transformers (LPTs) are critical yet vulnerable components of the power grid. More frequent and intense heat waves or high temperatures can degrade their operational lifetime and increase the risk of premature failure. Without adequate preparedness, a widespread situation could ultimately lead to prolonged grid disruption and incur excessive economic costs. Here, we investigate the potential impact of climate warming and corresponding shifts in summertime "hot days" on a selected LPT located in the Northeast United States. We apply an analogue method, which detects the occurrence of hot days based on the salient, associated large-scale atmospheric conditions, to assess the risk of future change in their occurrence. Compared with the more conventional approach that relies on climate model simulated daily maximum temperature, the analogue method produces model medians of late twentieth century hot day frequency that are more consistent with observation and have stronger inter-model consensus. Under the climate warming scenarios, multi-model medians of both model daily maximum temperature and the analogue method indicate strong decadal increases in hot day frequency by the late twenty-first century, but the analogue method improves model consensus considerably. The decrease of transformer lifetime with temperature increase is further assessed. The improved inter-model consensus of the analogue method is viewed as a promising step toward providing actionable information for a more stable, reliable, and environmentally responsible national grid.
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Summary

Large power transformers (LPTs) are critical yet vulnerable components of the power grid. More frequent and intense heat waves or high temperatures can degrade their operational lifetime and increase the risk of premature failure. Without adequate preparedness, a widespread situation could ultimately lead to prolonged grid disruption and incur excessive...

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Cloud computing in tactical environments

Summary

Ground personnel at the tactical edge often lack data and analytics that would increase their effectiveness. To address this problem, this work investigates methods to deploy cloud computing capabilities in tactical environments. Our approach is to identify representative applications and to design a system that spans the software/hardware stack to support such applications while optimizing the use of scarce resources. This paper presents our high-level design and the results of initial experiments that indicate the validity of our approach.
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Summary

Ground personnel at the tactical edge often lack data and analytics that would increase their effectiveness. To address this problem, this work investigates methods to deploy cloud computing capabilities in tactical environments. Our approach is to identify representative applications and to design a system that spans the software/hardware stack to...

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Lessons learned from hardware-in-the-loop testing of microgrid control systems

Published in:
CIGRE 2017 Grid of the Future Symp., 22-25 Oct. 2017.
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Summary

A key ingredient for the successful completion of any complex microgrid project is real-time controller hardware-in-the-loop (C-HIL) testing. C-HIL testing allows engineers to test the system and its controls before it is deployed in the field. C-HIL testing also allows for the simulation of test scenarios that are too risky or even impossible to test in the field. The results of C-HIL testing provide the necessary proof of concept and insight into any microgrid system limitations. This type of testing can also be used to create awareness among potential microgrid customers. This paper describes the modeling benefits, challenges, and lessons learned associated with C-HIL testing. The microgrid system used in this study has a 3 MW battery, 5 MW photovoltaic (PV) array, 4 MW diesel generator set (genset), and 3.5 MW combined heat and power generation system (CHP).
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Summary

A key ingredient for the successful completion of any complex microgrid project is real-time controller hardware-in-the-loop (C-HIL) testing. C-HIL testing allows engineers to test the system and its controls before it is deployed in the field. C-HIL testing also allows for the simulation of test scenarios that are too risky...

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Application of a resilience framework to military installations: a methodology for energy resilience business case decisions

Published in:
MIT Lincoln Laboratory Report TR-1216
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Summary

The goal of the study was to develop and demonstrate an energy resilience framework at four DoD installations. This framework, predominantly focused on developing a business case, was established for broader application across the DoD. The methodology involves gathering data from an installation on critical energy load requirements, the energy costs and usage, quantifying the cost and performance of the existing energy resilience solution at the installation, and then conducting an analysis of alternatives to look at new system designs. Improvements in data collection at the installation level, as recommended in this report, will further increase the fidelity of future analysis and the accuracy of the recommendations. And most importantly, increased collaboration between the facility personnel and the mission operators at the installation will encourage holistic solutions that improve both the life cycle costs and the resilience of the installation's energy systems and supporting infrastructure.
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Summary

The goal of the study was to develop and demonstrate an energy resilience framework at four DoD installations. This framework, predominantly focused on developing a business case, was established for broader application across the DoD. The methodology involves gathering data from an installation on critical energy load requirements, the energy...

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