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

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - CONNECT (Innovative smart components, modules and appliances for a truly connected, efficient and secure smart grid.)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2021-01-31

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 investigated 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 facilitated a decentralized energy infrastructure. This effort allowed to reduce the demand for primary energy, as well as to decrease the carbon dioxide emissions.
CONNECT researched new solutions for power conversion that were specifically developed for bidirectional power exchange with the grid. The project developed 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 was also explored in order to avoid unnecessary energy flows in the grid. Thus, extended integration of local storages and renewables such as photovoltaic are supported by CONNECT.
Moreover, CONNECT focused on developing monitoring approaches and advanced energy management algorithms, which take into account renewable energy sources, local storages and electric vehicles. As key result, the peak power demand from the distribution grid could be reduced by at least 50% and the use of local generation, consumption and storage was optimized.
In order to fully exploit the advantages of the technologies mentioned before, it was necessary to enhance the data transmission capacity and security of the smart grid communication infrastructure. For this purpose, CONNECT developed solutions for high interoperable, high data rate local and wide area communication in the grid, which were complemented with enhanced security in order to protect this critical infrastructure against attacks and to ensure privacy and integrity. Particular effort was spent to minimize the power consumption of the developed solutions.
The CONNECT project started on April 1 2017. In its first period, 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 design and development were the main activities. The progress of the project 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 third period focused on integration, demonstration and validation of the developed power converters, energy management strategies and communication architecture in the four use cases:
(1) Use case 1: Controllable energy flow (Transferium, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands)
(2) Use case 2: Demand control for supply with high amount of distributed energy resources (Poblenou, Barcelona, Spain)
(3) Use case 3: Local DC microgrid as a smart local power domain (Port of the city of Bari, Italy)
(4) Use case 4: Secure, robust, high bandwidth communication for innovative energy management (IHFT lab, RWTH University, Germany)
In terms of power conversion, CONNECT developed 50 kW bi-directional AC/DC converter for battery storage, 100-300 kW high power electric bus charger, stand-alone 20 kVA 3P4W (three-phase four-wire) converter, 500 W isolated DC/DC converter for battery integration, 3kW bidirectional DC/DC converter for microgrid application, GaN FET (Gallium Nitride field-effect transistor) 48V/12V hybrid switched-capacitor/inductor DC/DC converter as well as a grid interfacing power converter.
Achievements in energy management concern photovoltaic panel modelling and monitoring, sensor tags, microgrid modeling and emulation, cooperative energy management software, mobility analysis and optimization algorithms, distributed energy resources and smart charging of electric vehicles.
With view on secure communication, CONNECT introduced hardware-based security and achieved a communication hub, a multiband multiprotocol transceiver with zero standby wakeup receiver, secure backend communication, secure SDN (Software-defined Networking) implementation with hardware security element, NFC (Near Field Communication) secure commissioning and universal secure communication platforms (both WSN2 and WSN3). Work was complemented by low-power AC/DC converter, Hall-effect and TMR (Tunnel Magneto Resistive) current sensors.
The CONNECT top level objective to reduce the peak demand to the grid by at least 50% was over-achieved. On subsystem and component levels, measures are fully achieved, some are even over-achieved. These excellent results provide a very solid basis for exploitation. Joint validations as for example in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and in Aachen could facilitate the identification of synergetic elements, which can be considered for joint exploitation beyond the potential identified in the research collaboration.
In view of exploitation, standardization activities are very important, in particular related to communication and interoperability aspects. CONNECT partners are members in a manifold of standardization bodies, carefully monitoring relevant standardization activities and contributing as needed. Significant contributions were made to the bodies of the ITU "G.hn for access area" (Home Networking Standard from the International Telecommunication Union) and the OCA (Open Charge Alliance) "OSCP" standards. Related to G.hn several technical papers, e.g. on the use of G.hn technology in smart grid applications have been created. For the OSCP (Open Smart Charging Protocol) standard, the contributions are incorporated into the new version 2.0 officially released in October 2020. Three patents related to CONNECT were granted in the course of the project. The partners have published in total 25 articles in journals, 60 conference contributions, 1 book and conducted 2 workshops (at the IEEE CAMAD 2018 and the AEIT 2019).
The developed CONNECT solutions enable a significant reduction of peak power demand to the grid. Reduction of losses and increased efficiency at the device and at the component level boost system level efficiency. According to the research results, more energy efficient, reliable power electronics alone have the potential to reduce the world’s electric energy consumption by some 20-30% by 2025. CONNECT provided key technologies to make this happen.
CONNECT was based on a strong, experienced consortium, with partners covering the entire required application chain 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 companies’ and organizations’ market position is strengthened in the key technology fields of semiconductor, power electronics, de-centralized power grids and electromobility. CONNECT techniques help to reduce the primary energy demand, thus will decrease the dependency of the European society to non-European energy suppliers and at the same time provide the next step to achieve the 2020 Energy Efficiency Plan and to support the EU targets for 2030.
Classification of the use cases in the voltage levels of the grid
CONNECT areas of work
Smart energy landscape according to ECSEL MASP 2015_46 amended by CONNECT application areas