2 Minutes with Liuchen Chang
March 23, 2012
For many small-scale wind and solar power generators to displace carbon fuels, they have to work seamlessly with sophisticated power systems built around large and predictable point source generators. Matching the power supply with demand, when the sun goes down or the wind stops blowing, presents huge technological challenges and also a remarkable opportunity for innovation. Smart grids, which blend information and communication technologies, promise just this level of integration. Liuchen Chang discusses the latest progress in this field and how it is helping Canada expand its traditional leadership in power systems research into green technologies.
Smart reader technology really is an early state technology by combining the electric power industry, the electrical infrastructure with the ongoing information, communication infrastructure, putting two large scale manmade infrastructures together to form a new electrical grid, adding the control intelligence to provide more services to the consumers and to increase the reliability and the power quality of power industry. It can also enable the customers to manage their customer load in an optimized way, to reduce the cost of the customers. And then, further, the customers through the smart grid technologies can participate in the service, can participate in providing the resources.
For example, I have a hot water heater tank at my home. It's using electricity and I'm using hot water. To me, the end use is hot water and the intake is electricity. However, the hot water heater tank has the energy storage capacity. I could shift the consumption of the hot water tank but yet I will always have the hot water available. The shifting of the usage of the hot water tank's load can be used to facilitate the operation of the system. Sometimes when the system would need more load, then I can turn on the hot water heater tank to add the load to the power system. It's to control the consumption frame, time frame so that collectively we can increase the load consumption and we can decrease the load consumption at the disposal of the system operator, very much similar to the generator. A generator can increase the generation capacity, can decrease the generation. The load now through the smart grid technologies we can also increase the load and decrease the load and in a controlled fashion.
NSERC is instrumental. It's the most important resources, financial resources and the support for the university's research. It is the most important driving force behind the innovation.