Solid-state transformers aid smart grid

Smarter technologies are needed to handle issues due to smart grid growth; solid-state transformers could be the answer.

12/30/2010


Jaymi Heimbuch, of TreeHugger.com, discusses solid-state transformers.

As the smart grid grows, smarter technologies are be needed to handle issues like incorporating renewable energy, fast charging times for electric vehicles, and energy flowing into the grid from homes and businesses with their own solar arrays or wind turbines. In response to this need, companies are coming up with ways to beef up the "muscle" of the smart grid -- transformers. And that includes making them solid-state.Solid State Transformers

Kevin Bullis and Technology Review reports on the research:

The new solid-state transformers are much more flexible. They use transistors and diodes and other semiconductor-based devices that, unlike the transistors used in computer chips, are engineered to handle high power levels and very fast switching. In response to signals from a utility or a home, they can change the voltage and other characteristics of the power they produce. They can put out either ac or dc power, or take in ac and dc power from wind turbines and solar panels and change the frequency and voltage to what's needed for the grid. They have processors and communications hardware built in, allowing them to communicate with utility operators, other smart transformers, and consumers.

Such smart transformers will enable car owners to charge their vehicles at home in under an hour with less wasted electricity, and several cars on the same block could all be charging at the same time without overloading the circuits. That means solid state transformers could enable the growth of affordable all-electric vehicles.

That's not the only financial boon solid-state transformers that can handle two-way power flow could provide to consumers and businesses. In terms of allowing electricity generated by businesses to be added to the grid, Technology Review reports that "Smart transformers could coordinate this potentially rapid change from buying to selling power, while keeping the grid stable and preventing neighbors' lights from dimming. They could even allow people to buy electricity from their neighbors."

While the new generation of solid-state transformer is still being developed by a range of companies, it's likely we'll see them begin to roll out in just a few years as part of trials and pilot programs. But in the long term, those in the industry are confident that solid-state transformers will be a significant piece of the smart grid puzzle.



Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
2017 MEP Giants; Mergers and acquisitions report; ASHRAE 62.1; LEED v4 updates and tips; Understanding overcurrent protection
Integrating electrical and HVAC for energy efficiency; Mixed-use buildings; ASHRAE 90.4; Wireless fire alarms assessment and challenges
Integrated building networks, NFPA 99, recover waste heat, chilled water systems, Internet of Things, BAS controls
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
2017 MEP Giants; Mergers and acquisitions report; ASHRAE 62.1; LEED v4 updates and tips; Understanding overcurrent protection
Integrating electrical and HVAC for energy efficiency; Mixed-use buildings; ASHRAE 90.4; Wireless fire alarms assessment and challenges
Integrated building networks, NFPA 99, recover waste heat, chilled water systems, Internet of Things, BAS controls
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me