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A modular power electronic inverter based on a local DC nanogrid for solar, storage and smart grids

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - FerroHub (A modular power electronic inverter based on a local DC nanogrid for solar, storage and smart grids)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2019-05-31

EU has designed the energy challenge “Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy” in order to support the transition to a reliable, sustainable and competitive energy system. The rapid deployment of renewable energy systems already poses challenges for the electricity grid, which needs to adapt to increasingly decentralized and variable production (solar and wind). The deployment of electric vehicles and the electrification of transport poses another challenge, since today’s networks would not be capable of loading a vast amount of cars or powering fully electrified transport networks without failing. Smart grids are a solution to both of these problems. The deployment of smart grids is a priority for the EU, which has spent about €300 million on the research and development projects for modern electricity networks over the last decade and launched the European Electricity Grid Initiative (EEGI) for the same reason. The Commission will request Members States to produce action plans with targets for the implementation of smart grids. For consumers, smart electricity grids mean a shift from a passive receiver of electricity into an interactive participant in the supply chain. The solution proposed by Ferroamp is completely in align with the European policies, since it is a truly enabling technology for the smart grid. It perfectly complements any type of energy production installation turning it from passive to active and thus contributing towards the ambitious goals set by the EU.

The EU is tackling the challenge through a policy whose target is the transformation of the entire energy system, with far-reaching implications on how energy is sourced and produced, how it is transported and traded, and how it is used. In short, low-carbon technologies need to become affordable and competitive – a market choice. This is the core idea behind the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan). One of the main external drivers is the “EU Energy and Climate Package” which has set out ambitious targets for 2020 and beyond: 20% of renewable energy sources in the EU 28 energy mix by 2020 and 27% by 2030 (today they account only for 6.5%). The easy to set-up, use and cost-effective FerroHub solution will encourage the households and the small commercial buildings to install and use the eco-friendly and low-carbon system.

The FerroHub innovation business project aims to significantly contribute to sustainability, resilience, reliability, security and survivability principles, for both target stakeholders – the end-users and distributors/installers. The overall objectives are to finalize the design of the FerroHub, demonstrate and validate its performance through multi-country pilot, establish a production line and obtain the CE mark as an electronic device.
During the first period, the SME beneficiary focused on the requirements and specifications, analysis of the user cases, standardization of the product integration components and mechanical design. The design of separate modules was updates, reducing the manufacturing complexity and minimizing the COGS. Improved the control system, making it automated and completely reliable. Optimized the Solar String Optimizer, improving the speed and robustness. Upgraded the front-end software, making it more user friendly and faster. Established the supply chain management system and prepared a detailed plan for new production line. 8 deliverables and 4 milestones were successfully achieved.
During the second period, the SME beneficiary updated design of EnergyHub, SSO, control system and ESO; added support for buffering measurement data; developed an automated software update manager; updated user-interface; created a device management portal; fulfilled GDPR; set up a new production line; identified and deployed 8 pilot sites; and prepared guidelines for installation.
During the third period, the SME beneficiary further optimised the hardware and software; integrated local application programming interfaces; built up a service workshop for repair and testing; ran 15 pilots; obtained certification for the hardware unit and presented the project and technology to numerous of events.
FerroHub is an innovative electronic hub leveraging several patents, which enables the wide diffusion and optimised easy operations of new energy systems, such as Smart Grids, Micro grids, Nano grids and VPPs. Ferroamp aims to maximise the return on investment in solar power by introducing smart flexibility and sustainability of the power network. The solution incorporates an inverter, storage, hardware and software control, that continuous utilizing the power modules even after sunset. The brain of the system is the process control that communicates with all system components. FerroHub gathers relevant information from external sources such as weather forecast and energy spot prices to optimize the energy flow between solar panels, energy storage and the grid, using advanced algorithms. The heart of the system is the Power Module, a 3 x 5 A (3.5 kW) three phase, scalable bi-directional power inverter. The Power Module converts the DC energy from the solar panels and energy storage into AC energy that can be used in the building or sold to the electric grid company. The FerroHub inverter has a unique function that convert AC from the electric grid into DC to charge the batteries in the energy storage.