A new microgrid project to be delivered by ABB at the University of Chester will use a range of distributed energy resources to prove such projects can connect or disconnect from a main grid connection and operate in an islanded mode without incident.
ABB has been selected by the university to deploy a high-tech microgrid control system for the new Energy Centre at its Thornton Science Park, described as a major research and innovation hub in England.
According to the technology provider, the control system will act as the ‘brain’ of the microgrid, which will comprise a CHP unit, diesel generation, solar PV plant, a new energy storage facility and a load bank.
It will serve the 90,000 square metre site, made up of industrial laboratories, workshops and office space, and aims to demonstrate how these technologies can work together to minimise fuel costs and emissions within a closed grid.
The microgrid controller will manage the Energy Centre’s connection to the campus network and then the connection to the local grid. This is intended to show its capability to connect or disconnect seamlessly from the main connection and operate separately, ensuring continuity of supply in case of an outage.
Professor Joe Howe, executive director and professor of the Thornton Energy Research Institute at the University of Chester, said: “The Energy Centre has been created to demonstrate and promote the development of the latest technologies and forms part of a wider energy focus for Thornton Science Park.
“The ABB microgrid control and storage solution is a particularly exciting development that provides a platform for learning and is a great example of industry and academia working together to address real-world issues.”
Massimo Danieli, managing director of ABB’s grid automation business unit, a part of the company’s power drids division, added: “The Thornton Science Park microgrid is a pioneering initiative and we are pleased to contribute with our domain expertise, experience and know-how.”