Houston microgrid powers R&D of next-generation distributed technologies


Black & Veatch and Shell have partnered to conduct research and development into next-generation renewable and distributed energy technologies.

Black & Veatch has designed a microgrid comprising 300KW of solar, a 127KW natural gas generator, a 250KW/1,050MWh lithium ion battery and a 250KW load bank, at Shell’s Technology Center in Houston.

The two are in the process of integrating the microgrid with an additional battery storage and electric vehicle charging system.

The microgrid is powering the 2000 acre campus whilst providing a research tool for the 2,000 Shell scientists housed by the technology center.

The technology center is Shell’s third after centers in Amsterdam and Bangalore.

Researchers are using a cloud-based analytics platform to optimise the operations of the microgrid for energy resilience at the center during outages and other grid interruptions.

The analytics platform allows operators to access real-time energy demand, solar production and other conditions.

The microgrid is also providing energy to the main grid thereby generating extra revenue for Black & Veatch and Shell.

Dustin Rogge, Black & Veatch’s project manager, said: “By serving as a platform for hands-on research, the microgrid allows Shell to analyse different scenarios in renewable energy systems integration, providing an elevated level of technology assurance and insight.

“By enabling the testing, demonstration and development of sustainable power solutions, the microgrid allows Shell to better understand complex distributed energy integration challenges. With this knowledge, Shell can accelerate its development and move solutions quickly to market.”