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A researcher at Detroit's Wayne State University (WSU) is developing a strategy that manages new and old energy sources in an integrated system that is more efficient and reliable than current energy distribution.

Caisheng Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and engineering technology in the College of Engineering has received a $311,334 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a control strategy for using both traditional power plant-generated electricity and alternative energy distributed generation (AEDG) sources, including wind turbines, solar panels and fuel cells.

AEDG sources, which could be standard features of smart homes of the future, can generate power on their own for individual homes or as part of a larger network connected by a grid. If utilized efficiently, their integration into the larger power system could bring about vital improvements to the current power system, according to Wang.

"Integrating old and new energy sources into one system is challenging, because the current energy infrastructure was not designed for these small, additional power sources," Wang says. "Yet, if we can develop strategies for managing them together, it will create opportunities for both efficiency and reliability that we've never seen before."

Wang is modeling his control strategy to include several facets, including coordinating multiple energy sources to optimize efficiency, energy storage and even prediction programs for upcoming shortages or surpluses in energy supply.

He will test the strategies using computer simulation studies, and later, using a microgrid that will power the WSU engineering technology building.

SOURCE: Wayne State University

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