A few weeks back we assembled the next prototypes of our Power Flow Control Converter. It will support power flow control in meshed DC distribution grids and be able to feed loads from two sides to more than double the power transfer capacity of a DC distribution cable to a single location. It supports bidirectional power flow and is made for bipolar DC grids of 350/700V DC. In this way, we can combine low power appliances like LED lighting at 350V and high power loads at 700V on the same grid. A further function of this converter is the ability to increase the voltage in very long lines. In this way, the feeding points in public lighting grids can be reduced. The converter is a partial power converter that only converts a fraction of the power. In this way, the system efficiency can be significantly be improved while the cost of the converter is only a fraction of traditional fully-rated converters. We develop this converter within our FLEXDC project with support from the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands.
Today Dr. Giel van den Broeck founder of DCINGERY and our founder Dr. Laurens Mackay were interviewed by Ronald Fransen and Henry Lootens from the DC Foundation Netherlands. The interview covered various topics on DC distribution grids, amongst others bipolar DC grids and meshed operation of DC grids. (Interview in Dutch)
Last week Gerasimos Maroulis successfully defended his Master’s Thesis titled “DC-DC Converters for Photovoltaic Powered DC Microgrid” at Delft University of Technology. He was awarded an outstanding grade 9/10 for his work, which he performed during the last year at DC Opportunities R&D. Gerasimos has been working on our new string level solar maximum power tracking converter as well as a converter for balancing the poles in bipolar DC microgrids of 350/700V.
As of November 2020, Gerasimos is now part of our permanent staff and we are looking forward to making many great developments in DC microgrid technology together.
We are happy to announce that Jesse Echeverry today successfully defended his Master’s Thesis at Delft University of Technology. As usual these days, the defense was done online. Jesse joined our team over a year ago and in his internship started to work on and 100W inverter and arc-fault detection. In his Master’s Thesis titled “Isolated DC/DC Converters for DC Distribution Grids in Rural Electrification” he first developed a unidirectional DC/DC converter from 350V DC to 24V DC using GaN technology, planar transformer and switching frequencies up to 1.5 MHz. Then he continued to design a bidirectional version of this converter with a higher power rating. We are happy that Jesse will join us again after a well-deserved break to continue our development in this field.
Today Mohamed-Youssef Najjar successfully defended his Master’s Thesis with the title: Decentralized Optimal Power Flow for Bipolar DC Grids. Mohamed-Youssef has been doing already his internship with us at DC Opportunities where he did a power electronics converter design. Afterwards, he moved to the algorithm side of things and pushed forward our research and development on real-time electricity markets with dynamic pricing and demand response for future DC Microgrids.
We are happy to announce that Beer Witteveen successfully defended his Masters’s Thesis. Beer worked on the analysis of storage options for DC Microgrids in developing countries. He especially focused on micro hydro storage for the mountainous villages in Ethiopia.
We have been working on our rural electrification project for more than a year and a half now. During this time, we have been researching, developing and building prototypes of our own USB-C based solar home system. With this off-grid system we intend to provide a solution to villages that do not have a grid connection. Our ultimate goal is to interconnect households to create DC microgrids and provide reliable access to electricity for all.
We planned to carry out our first field test in Ethiopia this month. Unfortunately, due to the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we had to postpone this field test. However, we at DC Opportunities still feel very enthusiastic to keep working on improving our prototypes.
In spite of the aforementioned challenges we were able to book some progress. Last week we have received 50 of our PCBs to assemble power-banks and in the coming weeks we expect to receive more components such as solar charging stations and power-hubs. We would like to take a moment and thank all the parties who are helping us throughout this journey including TU Delft | Global Initiative, Students4Sustainability, 3E Royal, Mekelle Institute of Technology & Victron Energy.
We are happy to announce that today Faik Nizam successfully defended his MSc thesis on “Energy Management in USB-C Based Modular Solar Home Systems” . During the past year and a half, Faik has been working within the rural electrification project focusing on implementing power delivery communication to perform the energy management of our Solar Home System. Congratulations Faik!
Last week Pedro Parreira graduated from the MSc in Electrical Engineering at TU Delft. During his thesis, he has been working on “Distributed optimal power flow for low voltage DC grids” at DC Opportunities. For the past months, Pedro developed an optimization algorithm for low-voltage DC grids which eliminates the need of a central controller. By utilizing physiscal measurements of the grid, it is now possible to control local voltage and power with the goal of minimizing cost.
Today, Lukas Irazusta Gorostidi successfully defended his Master’s Thesis titled “Power Electronics in Modular Solar Home Systems” at Delft University of Technology. During the last year, he has been developing the hardware for our modular solar home system. Several prototypes were realized and Lukas demonstrated that today to the audience in his well-attended public presentation. We are very happy that Lukas will stay with us after his graduation to continue this development!