Tuesday, September 29, 2009

UTSA's Autonomous Control Engineering lab works on Energy Systems of Systems to integrate renewables into power grid

Every day it seems that progress is made in the production of some sort or renewable energy. But how can these energy sources be integrated into the power grid efficiently and effectively?

At UTSA the Autonomous Control Engineering lab or at least part of it is looking into it. At the Fredericksburg Renewable Energy Roundup a UTSA student representing the department explained how his work involved looking into making the conversion of DC power to AC power and back again for some appliances more efficient.

That is just part of a larger effort to build Energy System of Systems (SoSE) technology which would allow existing and new power sources to be integrated with improved performance and at a reduced cost.

SoSE grew out of Defense Department needs to coordinate and integrate a large number of diverse systems in an environment of uncertainty. In recent years this approach has been applied to complex systems that arise when various systems interact with one another. The complexity itself creates uncertainty which the engineers must deal with, but in many environments the systems themselves are subject to change which creates even more uncertainty.

UTSA professor and director of the Autonomous Control Engineering Center, Mo Jamshidi, Ph.D. is among the world's leading experts on SoSE. As we switch from a system in which our electrical energy came from a small number of roughly similar plants to a system that will include generators that harvest wind and solar power along with such seasonably variable sources as biomass energy the need for Systems of Systems Engineering will continue to grow.

UTSA intends to be at the center of SoSE developments.

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