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OU engineers researching power grid of future – Journal Record

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October 27, 2022 0
NORMAN – University of Oklahoma assistant professor Jie Cai was notified recently of funding received through the U.S. Department of Energy to advance a study of the use of thermal energy storage to promote renewable energy utilization.
Cai’s work was one of 29 new projects nationwide to receive research funding totaling $21 million.
Paul Moses, an assistant professor in OU’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Bo Shen, a senior research and development scientist at the Building Technologies Research and Integration Center at Oak Ridge National Labs, are collaborating with Cai.
“The intermittency and uncertainty of renewable resources, such as solar and wind, pose challenges for maintaining real-time supply and demand balances. These challenges lead to a growing demand for fast-ramping resources such as diesel and natural gas generators to compensate for imbalances, which in turn increases the grid integration cost of renewable energy,” said Cai, who joined the OU School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering in 2017. “Our project aims to unlock the flexibility potential of demand-side resources and promote deeper renewable energy utilization by significantly reducing the lifecycle management and grid integration costs.”
One way to cut renewable integration costs is to make better use of existing motorized energy storage systems, which refer to storage technologies that rely on electric motors to drive the energy charge and discharge processes, Cai said.
“However, the impact of flexibility provision on the lifetime of motorized energy storage is largely unknown and represents a major deterrent to their widespread adoption in the electricity market,” he said.
Ultimately, researchers want to develop a numerical model that can predict the aging of electric motors under different control conditions, as well as leverage the motor aging model for synthesis of an improved control strategy to minimize the aging effect of grid flexibility provision.
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