University of Texas secures NSF funding for smart grid research


The $173,420 smart grid research grant falls under the White House Initiative, designed to support research, development and implementation of smart city technologies.

By supporting projects on smart city innovation, the White House Initiative aims to reduce energy usage to ensure grid reliability, reduce traffic congestion, enhance economic growth and optimise service delivery to improve quality of life in the US.

The UTSA will use the grant to develop energy efficiency technology to help utility firms and operators of buildings to reduce energy generation and usage costs respectively.

[quote] To implement research, development and testing of the technology, UTSA is partnering with the University of California and utility company Southern California Edison.

The technology will allow buildings in a city or community to remotely communicate with each other regarding their energy consumption to ensure they use the same amount of energy.

The solution will help operators of buildings understand how much energy they use, how and when they use it.

The platform will be tested under a pilot to include 1,000 buildings in Orange County, California.

Bing Dong, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UTSA, said: “What we’re doing, essentially, is figuring out how to optimise the energy consumption of an entire community: from the buildings to the power grid.”

Smart grid research funding

In the first quarter of 2016, Villanova University’s Energy Smart Electronic Systems (ES2) received $1.1 million grant for smart grid research project.

ES2 said the funding will be directed towards the implementation of a collaborative energy efficiency research and development project aimed at reducing energy consumption in data centers and other electronic systems.

The project will be carried out under NSF’s Industrial and University Cooperative Research Programme (I/UCRC) providing sustained and funded partnership between industry, academia and government to accelerate research and development of emerging technologies to build a workforce benefiting the US economy.

Under the project, ES2 partnered with Binghamton University, Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Texas, Arlington.

ES2 will utilise grid-connected advanced power electronic systems (GRAPES) at the University of Arkansas, the Power Systems Engineering Research Centre at Georgia Institute of Technology, and the Integrated Electronics Engineering Centre out of Binghamton University.

ES2 said the project will focus on developing hybrid AC/DC power delivery in data centres consuming more than 100 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. [New smart energy centre opens at Newcastle University].

To date, 10% to 20% of AC power used by data centers is lost during stepping down of power to fit the voltage required by the centers’ IT equipment chipsets.

By using DC power, ES2 believes data centers will increase reliability, reduce power consumption and allow renewable energy usage.


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