4 February 2013

EPSRC award for large scale utilisation of renewable energy

Special congratulations are due to Professor Qing-Chang Zhong for winning an EPSRC grant, worth £372k, for a project titled, "Developing Fundamental Theory and Enabling Technologies for Parallel Operation of Inverters to Facilitate Large-scale Utilisation of Renewable Energy." The award is for the period March 2013 to February 2016.

More about the project

UK Research Councils have set up a RCUK Energy Programme, investing more than £530 million in research and skills to pioneer a low carbon future. Several major global companies, including BP, Caterpillar, EDF Energy, E.On, Rolls-Royce and Shell, have joined their forces with the UK government to establish the Energy Technologies Institute, creating a potential £1billion investment fund for new energy technologies.

The renewable energy needs to be connected to the grid, preferably, via inverters in order for them to take part in the grid regulation, in particular, for large-scale renewable installations. However, the capacity of individual power inverters is limited and multiple inverters are needed to be operated in parallel to achieve the power capacity needed. How to make sure that the inverters will share the load proportionally/evenly is a challenge. The parallel operation of inverters has been a major problem in industry that prevents the large-scale utilisation of renewable energy sources.

The major aims of the project are to develop fundamental understanding about parallel-operated inverters and to develop enabling control technologies to facilitate the large-scale utilisation of renewable energy and distributed generation. The ultimate goals of the project are to develop universal control strategies that allow the parallel operation of inverters with different types of output impedances and to develop a fundamental theory to guarantee the stable operation of power systems with parallel-operated inverters.