The use of decentralized energy systems gives rise to a fundamental change in our energy supply system. With the feeding of solar and wind energy into the distribution network, the energy flow direction is changing with ever-increasing frequency. The planning and operation of energy networks must adapt to these new conditions. The return energy flows lead to overloading of cables and transformers, and the voltage at network connection points can exceed permissible limits. Therefore, for safe operation in the future, considerably more measurement values will be needed in the medium and low voltage networks. Network operators need direct access to the millions of decentralized energy systems. This further development of the electricity network is referred to as the "Smart Grid".
Ulm University of Applied Sciences has been actively involved in the development and testing of smart grids for 10 years now. The Smart Grids laboratory has a test environment for software and hardware-in-the-loop analysis of smart grid components. Here we are researching the interaction of solar power, battery systems and flexible loads with smart meters, smart meter gateways (iMSys), control boxes (controllable local systems) and the experimental distribution network control center (SIEMENS SPECTRUM POWER 5). In addition to the electricity network, we are also investigating interactions with heating and gas networks, and developing and testing new smart grids-based business models.
Another research topic is energy meteorology. In view of the rapidly-growing significance of weather and climate for energy supply using renewable energy sources, getting as complete a description as possible of the interactions of the entire energy supply system with the meteorological boundary conditions is becoming increasingly important. This gives rise to a considerable need for the development of new measurement and prediction methods to provide meteorological information adapted specifically for energy systems. This will require a high level of interdisciplinary cooperation between meteorologists, physicists, ecologists, engineers, computer scientists and economists in order to satisfy the diverse aspects and interactions of the energy system as a whole.
Institute for Energy and Drive Technologies Prof. Gerd Heilscher
Head of Smart Grids Research Group