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ADVanced communicAtions and iNformaTion processing in smArt Grid systEms

Final Report Summary - ADVANTAGE (ADVanced communicAtions and iNformaTion processing in smArt Grid systEms)

The ADVANTAGE project is a major interdisciplinary project between power and communications engineers to train the next generation of engineers and scientists that will lead the development of this technology both within Europe and Internationally. The principle objectives of ADVANTAGE have been to provide a rich and varied training programme for the thirteen Early Stage Researchers recruited to the Network, and to ensure dissemination and outreach of ADVANTAGE’s research findings to ensure lasting impact. The research work of ADVANTAGE has been organised under four Work Packages:

Work Package 1. Smart Homes:
In particular, the research has focussed on two major aspects. The first is wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) communication technologies to support communications between large numbers of smart home devices and appliances. The second topic is smart modelling and optimization for home heating systems, to reduce energy consumption and allow systems to switch off at times of peak grid demand (so called “demand response”).

Work Package 2. Neighbourhood/Industrial Area Networks:
The research in this WP has focussed on three major aspects. Firstly, new data communications protocols have been developed in the project, particularly to support different types of smart grid data, including both routine monitoring information and real-time control information. Secondly, novel interference cancellation methods have been developed to allow smart grid data to be communicated effectively over existing power line cables. Finally, techniques that integrate data processing and efficient communications have been developed for communicating smart meter data.

Work Package 3. Micro Grids:
The research in WP3 has investigated a novel communications solution for microgrids called “Powertalk” and has also addressed means to improve grid security. New solutions for controlling voltage in a microgrid have been investigated using four wire connections rather than the traditional three wires. Finally, new modelling techniques for commercial properties have been developed to support “demand response”, where the energy demand is managed at one or more sites in response to emergency signals from the power grid.

Work package 4. Intelligent Distribution Networks:
The research in WP4 has investigated new methods for determining the current state of a voltage grid, making use of data from different types of sensor that collect data at different rates, e.g. milliseconds versus minutes. A new signal processing approach called “belief propagation” has also been applied to yield better results. New techniques that can better predict the behaviour of large numbers of houses and offices on the power grid – aggregated loads – have also been studied. Finally, machine learning techniques have been applied to a real power grid data to improve the detection of energy theft by unscrupulous consumers.

Project ADVANTAGE’s website features our project twitter and LinkedIn accounts and a link to our YouTube channel which includes videos of Early Stage Researchers and of invited speakers at ADVANTAGE Training schools. It provides details of all people involved in the Project, links to project Newsletters and to the ADVANTAGE ESRs’ Research Deliverables, lists all ADVANTAGE publications and provides a comprehensive record of the project’s Training events, with photographs and links to the itinerary of events.

Highlights of the ADVANTAGE dissemination programme include research from Project ADVANTAGE being featured along with H2020 project P2P-SmarTest and FP7 SUNSEED in April 2017 in London, UK at a Workshop “Smart Distribution Networks: Technologies and Business Models”. Training event 5, a one day Research Seminar held in London, UK on 29th October 2016, was a significant dissemination milestone for ADVANTAGE. 43 people attended the event which gathered together leading names in the field of Smart Grid development including notable academics, industrialists and international research groups.

Outreach highlights of the project include Early Stage Researcher Aleksandar Mastilovic being accepted onto the IEEE Publication Services and Products Board in February 2017, and receiving the Award of IEEE President Karen Bartleson for Outstanding Performance in 2017. Early Stage Researcher Pierre Vogler-Finck presented at the ‘Young Researcher Conference: Energy Efficiency’ of the World Sustainable Energy Days 2017 in Wels, Austria on “Model predictive control for efficient house heating” in March 2017

Three UK-based Early Stage Researchers designed and delivered presentations and an interactive activity at the Edinburgh International Science Festival In April 2016. Two UK-based Early Stage Researchers took part in European Researchers’ Night 2016 in Edinburgh, with demos based on the operation of the Smart Grid, as did Early Stage Researcher Aleksandar Mastilovic who presented at European Researchers’ Night 2016 in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The socio-economic impact highlights of the project include work by Early Stage Researcher Mirsad Cosovic who has developed an algorithm for power state estimation which is believed to perform particularly well compared to other methods and was awarded the best paper prize at the IEEE International Conference on Smart Grid Communications in Dresden, Germany, in October 2017. Early Stage Researchers Gautham Krishnadas and Mehdi Zeinali are using knowledge gained on their projects to evaluate virtual power plant technology for a current project funded by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Early Stage Researcher Madalina Buzau has undertaken notable work on developing an algorithm for detecting fraudulent use of electrical power in Endesa power network, and thus increased the fraud detection rate from 5 % to 21 %.

Details of all the project’s Training events can be found on our website: Particular highlights included the Early Stage Researchers’ Team Challenges at Training events three and four. At the final Training event hosted by the University of Seville in September 2017 the ESRs fed back that they had particularly enjoyed the Team Challenges - working with ESRs in different institutions and across Work Packages on broader based topics. ESRs had the opportunity to visit facilities and companies of interest during the Training events.

A key feature of the ADVANTAGE project and a highlight of the Training provision for Early Stage Researchers was the secondment programme. All ESRs were supported to undertake two secondments, with a focus on the ESRs based in industry being given the opportunity to undertake a secondment at an academic institution, and ESRs based in Universities or Research Institutes having the chance to undertake an industry-based secondment.