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Innovative smart components, modules and appliances for a truly connected, efficient and secure smart grid.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CONNECT (Innovative smart components, modules and appliances for a truly connected, efficient and secure smart grid.)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2019-04-30

The limitation of the primary energy sources and the carbon dioxide emissions are two of the most important societal challenges at present. In order to solve them, we need to significantly increase the usage share of renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaics, and to introduce local storage capacities.
CONNECT investigates concepts, technologies and components that support enhanced integration of renewables and storage into the supply grid combined with intelligent management of the energy flow. It will facilitate a decentralized energy infrastructure. This effort will allow to reduce the demand for primary energy, as well as to decrease the carbon dioxide emissions.
CONNECT provides new solutions for power conversion that will be specifically developed for bidirectional power exchange with the grid. The project will develop high efficiency, low-cost, low-weight, and compact high-power density converters with embedded communication capabilities, for different application levels of the grid. Power quality optimization will also be explored in order to avoid unnecessary energy flows in the grid. Thus, extended integration of local storage and renewables such as PV are supported.
Moreover, CONNECT focuses on developing monitoring approaches and advanced energy management algorithms, which will take into account renewable energy sources, local storage and electric vehicles. Thereby the peak power demand from the distribution grid will be reduced and the use of local generation, consumption and storage will be optimized.
In order to fully exploit the advantages of the technologies mentioned before it is necessary to enhance the data transmission capacity of the smart grid communication infrastructure. For this purpose CONNECT will develop solutions for high interoperable, high data rate local and wide area communication in the grid which will be complemented with enhanced security in order to protect this critical infrastructure against attacks and ensure privacy and integrity. Particular effort is spend to minimize the power consumption of the developed solutions.
The CONNECT project started on April 1 2017. In its first year, the requirements were determined. Starting from that basis, the specifications were derived and the work towards the solutions was started as planned for all three areas: power conversion, energy management and communication. In the second period the development and design were the main activities. The progress was according to the plans, all deliverables were provided, all milestones achieved and the committed objectives were confirmed to be achievable.
The envisioned technical concepts were confirmed by simulations and partly by first prototypes.
The different bidirectional power converters are expected to achieve efficiencies as high as 97%. Also, the results of the energy management approaches are very promising. For example, a cooperative energy management scheme has been developed and applied to a single-distribution transformer case and achieved an average of 45% peak demand reduction compared to the case where all buildings obtain their energy from the distribution grid. Simulations of an enhanced version of that algorithm show that a CO2 reduction of 50% can be achieved with an optimized dimensioning of PV and local storage for the cooperating buildings. A prototype of a smart charging algorithm for DC grids was implemented which is the first of its kind worldwide since it is hardware independent, fast enough to handle large power changes introduced by high power chargers, PV panels and batteries and which can handle up to 100.000 chargers simultaneously (upscaling possible).
Finally, for the secure communication a threat analysis was performed for all use cases. The need for advanced security functions and hardware based encryption was confirmed and the development of the needed functions was started. At the end of period 2 there is a first version of a demonstration available which combines the results of partners to a secure wireless network for energy monitorin demonstrating resilience against man in the middle attacks. In regard to the enhancement of the communication bandwidth by a factor of 2, the feasibility of the novel PLC approaches was confirmed by first lab tests using prototype implementations. Last not least, the latest status of the new current sensors which are expected to increase the measurement performance are promising by indicating potential bandwidths of more than 2 Mbit/s and a gain error of less than 1% over temperature (i.e. accuracy) manufactured in cost-effective CMOS resp. BICMOS technology.
Therefore, the overall objective of a peak demand reduction to the grid of at least 50% which requires the combination of solutions of all three areas is confirmed.
It is expected that the solutions developed by CONNECT will contribute significantly to the reduction of losses. Reduction of peak power demand to the grid and increased efficiency at the device and component level would boost the system level efficiency. According to the recent research, more energy efficient, reliable power electronics alone have the potential to reduce the world’s electricity consumption by some 20-30% by 2025. CONNECT provides key technologies to make this happen.
CONNECT is based on a strong, experienced consortium, with partners covering the required application chain fully from the sensing node, via secure communication and power conversion to the energy management. The project results will benefit education and increase employment potential in Europe. European companie’s and organization’s market position will be strengthened in the key technology fields of semiconductor, power electronics, de-centralized power grids and electro-mobility. The techniques help to reduce the primary energy demand, thus will decrease the dependency of the Europeans to non-European energy suppliers and at the same time provide the next step to not only achieve the 2020 Energy Efficiency Plan but to also support the EU targets for 2030.