ECN, VITO to collaborate on developing PowerMatcher smart grid technology


Petten, The Netherlands and Mol, Belgium — (METERING.COM) — February 12, 2009 – The Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) and the Flemish research organization, VITO, have signed a cooperation agreement to develop ECN’s new PowerMatcher smart grid technology.

The PowerMatcher is a new coordination system which can match the demand and supply of electricity more efficiently. This is thus an important building block for the smart electricity network of the future.

Devices connected to the network would be equipped with the intelligent PowerMatcher software to enable them to respond automatically to fluctuations in the demand and supply. This will then support the incorporation of more sustainable energy sources, such as wind and solar, without causing instabilities in the grid. In addition, it reduces the need for traditional central power plants to be kept in reserve in order to cope with fluctuations in supply. At the consumer level, the application of the technology is expected to lead to reduced energy consumption due to feedback on patterns of energy usage.

One of the first applications will be to synchronize the output of large wind farms with industrial electricity demand, such as industrial cold stores which have certain flexibility in their demand. Electricity from wind is difficult to predict accurately. The PowerMatcher offers possibilities for coupling the fluctuation in wind electricity generation with the flexibility of large cold stores.

The PowerMatcher is also undergoing testing in electric vehicle charging, using a Toyota Prius purchased by ECN for the purpose.

The PowerMatcher technology was developed by researchers at ECN.

The research carried out by VITO is focused on intelligent energy systems for smart grids, including all systems for supply and demand. The organization also has its own state-of-the-art smart grid test facilities.

The cooperation between ECN and VITO is expected to stimulate energy research and the further development of smart grids. Furthermore, the parties will cooperate on finding technology applications in the market.

The development and application of the PowerMatcher technology is being funded by the European Union, and the Dutch national energy research fund of SenterNovem.