International Patent Protection Sought for Voltage Control System

Achievement date: 

Researchers at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) extended their quest for intellectual property protection on their novel “Adaptive Controller for STATCOM to Enhance Voltage Stability” with an international patent application filed in 2013. The international protection would augment a U.S. patent application on the system, which was developed through the Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Network (CURENT), an Engineering Research Center co-funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy and headquartered at UTK.


Voltage stability is a fundamental requirement for secure, reliable performance of power systems. The Static Compensator (STATCOM) is a popular device for power control that has gained increasing interest over the last decade for its potential to improve power system stability. However, conventional STATCOM controllers are specifically set for one set of conditions and may not perform efficiently when conditions change. The device being patented addresses this issue by using an adaptive controller that can self-adjust during a disturbance. Since the adjustment is automatic, the controller offers “plug and play” improvement for STATCOM operations.


STATCOM can provide fast and efficient reactive power support to maintain power system voltage stability. Various STATCOM control methods have been considered, including many approaches for PI controllers. However, these approaches have not lead to optimal performance that is as effective at one operating point as it is at another. In simulation testing, UTK’s adaptive controller showed consistent excellence under various operating conditions, such as different initial control gains, different load levels, change of transmission network, and consecutive disturbances. By comparison, the conventional STATCOM control usually performs fine in the original system, but may not perform as efficiently when there is a change in system conditions.