Versatile Distributed Grid Intelligence Communication Platform Developed

Achievement date: 
2013
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Researchers with the Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management Systems (FREEDM) Center produced an electronic controller capable of effectively managing a distributed, or decentralized, power grid system.

FREEDM, a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center (ERC), is headquartered at North Carolina State University.

Impact/benefits: 

The FREEDM ERC’s on-site power system and the nation’s future smart grid require “intelligent” power equipment that can operate independently of any centralized control hub. The Distributed Grid Intelligence (DGI) platform represents a breakthrough for the smart grid industry and for the delivery of cleaner, more cost effective, and more reliable electric power.

Explanation/Background: 

DGI is a suite of power control equipment that can quickly acquire and compute data, as well as store it. It communicates with the system it controls by using standard communication protocols, making it extremely versatile. As critical as these features are to establishing a true “smart” grid, prior to DGI’s development there hadn’t been a hardware suite that integrated them in such a comprehensive way.

The DGI platform is a collection of system boards that are each dedicated to specific functions of power management and control. The assorted hardware will be used to carry out instructions from Center-developed DGI software. When integrated with any power equipment, such as a solid-state transformer (SST) or fault isolation device (FID), it makes them effectively controllable, dispatchable (able to be called into use remotely), intelligent power equipment.