The objective of the project is to develop an advanced optimization-based design support tool for AC or DC microgrids in remote locations, where utility grids may not be accessible. The mathematical model and the interface are being developed such that multiple design objectives and criteria/constraints can be easily enabled or disabled, to deliver a flexible tool relevant to a large, diverse user base, and to facilitate future feature developments.
The new tool delivered by this project leverages the team’s extensive expertise in the development, testing, deployment, and commercialization of the state-of-the-art Distributed Energy Resources Customer Adoption Model (DER-CAM) – which is the foundation for the new tool.
Phase I of the project leverages the microgrid design and decision support tool DER-CAM. Key Phase I developments include the following adaption to the DER-CAM model: a) AC or DC microgrid architectures, b) multiple economic objectives (e.g. single customer vs community vs utility perspective), c) constraints on fuel availability (e.g. total fuel available during outage periods), d) active and reactive power flow constraints for normal and N-1 contingency cases, e) component part load efficiencies (e.g. power electronic devices), and f) interactive data visualization capabilities (e.g. design topology elements). A component library including components’ default technical and economical characteristics was also developed. In Phase II, the project is focused on tool testing and validation, use for real-world microgrid designs, and outreach.
Fully developing this tool will have the following impacts: 1) optimal off-grid microgrid designs that replace existing back of the envelope or non-optimal calculations, reducing capital costs and risk of microgrid deployment; 2) removing barriers to microgrid assessments by lowering microgrid soft costs, as the tool is freely usable; 3) reliable and resilient designs that reduce the cost of critical load shedding due to component outages.