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US Patent Issued To Masdar Institute For Innovative Technology That Secures Electrical Grid During Power Disturbances
(30 November 2016)
Patented Technology Ensures Utility-Scale Wind Generators Can Support Electrical Grid during Power Dips and Surges


The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced that a new fault ride through (FRT) transient management system, which can support the electric power grid during grid faults, developed by a team of its researchers has been issued a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The patented fault ride-through (FRT) system and transient management scheme, developed by Dr. Mohamed El Moursi, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Dr. Weidong Xiao, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Po Hsu Huang, Electrical Power Engineering MSc alumnus, responds to the need to maintain uninterrupted electrical power supply. Maintaining a constant supply of electrical power is critical to modern day life. Even a temporary stoppage of power can lead to monetary setbacks, health risks, and lost data, which is why maintaining grid performance and reliability is a priority worldwide.

The patented technology was designed in particular to enable grid-connected wind farms to effectively ride through all types of grid faults. However the technology also has potential applications beyond wind energy system, including as a high-voltage direct-current transmission (HVDC) system based on voltage source converter, which helps to achieve smooth power delivery to grids during grid faults.  Consequently, it prevents bottlenecks and overloads in power grids and improves the FRT capability, resulting in greater system reliability and stability of electric grid.

 “The issuance of this US patent reflects Masdar Institute’s commitment to bringing use-inspired research of direct relevance to the UAE’s energy sector through the innovation pipeline, from the research and development stage to inventions and innovations that ultimately are commercialized,” said Dr. Steve Griffiths, Vice President for Research and Interim Associate Provost, Masdar Institute.

“The development of novel FRT systems capable of securing our increasingly complex electrical power grid could ultimately bolster the region’s power sector and further support an increased share of renewable energy across the region,” he added.

The new technology employs a novel configuration coupled with an innovative transient management scheme to achieve an optimized FRT system. The new configuration enables shunt and series compensation – which are two different types of mechanisms to mitigate the impact of voltage dips – with a single converter. Coupled with an innovative transient management scheme – the proposed control strategy used to manage the power electronics during dynamic and transient conditions – this simple configuration avoids the need to use multiple components and thus achieves superior FRT performance response with a smaller physical footprint.

“The new configuration significantly improves the transient response for all types of grid faults, and enables smooth power evacuation from the wind turbine during grid faults, resulting in reduced stress on the mechanical system of the wind turbine and greater system reliability,” explained Dr. El Moursi.

In its potential applications, Dr. El Moursi thinks the technology will be instrumental in helping off-shore operations, including off-shore oil and gas rigs connected to the AC grid, stay connected during AC grid faults with higher system reliability and stability.

Dr. El Moursi and Dr. Xiao have managed a number of successful industrial projects that required deep knowledge and practical understanding of control systems, power electronics and power system operations. They received the Masdar Institute Excellence in Collaborative Research Award in 2012-2013. Their research team has a significant number of publications in top quality journals in the areas of HVDC systems, Flexible Alternating Current Transmission System (FACT) technologies and grid interface schemes of renewable energy systems.

The associate professors look forward to collaborating with wind turbine manufacturers and HVDC manufacturers to apply their novel configuration and control strategies for practical system implementation. 

As of September 2016, the innovative research conducted by Masdar Institute students and faculty has resulted in 14 issued US patents, 73 filed US patent applications, 134 Invention disclosures and more than 960 published articles in peer reviewed journals. 

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