Singapore innovates transformer technology to accelerate smart grid development

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Technology firm Hitachi ABB Power Grids has partnered with research institute Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) on a government-led smart grid development project.

Led by the Energy Research Institute and supported by the National Research Foundation, Singapore, the two organisations will work together to advance developments in Solid State Transformer (SST) technology.

The project is part of the Singapore government’s Energy Grid 2.0 initiative aimed at shaping the next-generation grid system and transforming how energy is managed by consolidating multiple energy sources into a single intelligent network that is more efficient, sustainable and resilient.

Hitachi ABB Power Grids and NTU Singapore will focus on transformers as the component is key to smart grid development.

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Solid state transformers (SST) incorporate power semiconductor components, control circuits and high-frequency transformers, offering bi-directional power flow control, harmonics reduction, and many other benefits. They allow conversion from Alternate Current (AC) to Direct Current (DC), DC to AC and also DC to DC on different voltage levels. They are designed to support power system transformation towards more flexible AC and DC mixed system configurations, facilitating the integration of renewable energy sources close to DC loads.

The partnership can also mitigate land scarcity challenges faced by Singapore.

NTU’s senior vice resident (research) professor Lam Khin Yong, said, “The Solid State Transformers (SST) are multifunctional and will allow users flexible control on the amount of power that is distributed to networks.

“By doing away with multiple separate equipment required by current conventional transformers, we also save on land-use, making the SST an attractive solution for a more efficient electricity grid.

“One of the key objectives in partnering with Hitachi ABB Power Grids for this project is to take the technology to the next level – from lab to real-world applications. Both organisations have considerable knowledge and experience in the development of SST technology and we are confident that this partnership will catalyse commercial deployment to support a sustainable energy future.”

Nirupa Chander, managing director, Hitachi ABB Power Grids, Singapore, adds: “Singapore is at the forefront when it comes to the sustainable development of smarter cities and the power grid is an integral contributor.”

Hitachi ABB Power Grids and NTU Singapore have previously partnered to innovate energy storage technologies.