PROJECT SEEKS TO TRANSFER ENERGY MORE EFFICIENTLY

THE FONDECYT INITIATIVE WILL CONTRIBUTE TO FIND SOLUTIONS SO THAT THE ENERGY GENERATED FROM RENEWABLE SOURCES IS ADDED RELIABLY TO THE POWER GRID, GETTING THE BEST POSSIBLE PERFORMANCE.



April 1, 2016

Chile is one of the countries currently investing more in non-conventional renewable energies, but in order for these energy sources to be included in the electrical network it is required to develop devices to control the move from these power sources to the networks.

It is in this field of power electronics where Carlos Baier, from the Department of Engineering, develops his work. He was awarded the last Regular Fondecyt contest with funds to implement the “Modular High Performance Converters with Low Number of Units for Integration into the Medium Voltage Network” project.

With this, Professor Baier was one of 17 researchers from our Institution who obtained funding from Conicyt to carry out their research over four years.

The professor will conduct a scientific work about the development and control of new inverters to inject energy. Or for applications in medium voltage networks, as for example modular equipment to feed and control motors, speed control of these devices and to take energy from photovoltaic panels or other renewable sources and introduce them to the network.

“We seek to inject these sources with high quality of supply, being very reliable and achieving greater efficiency,” said Baier.

The modular inverters to be designed will make it possible that if one of the modules fails, the rest of the equipment can continue working without problems. Regarding efficiency, the idea is that if the source is generating 1 Kw, it can deliver to the network a value as close to this, explained by the researcher.

“We are working in inverters called Z and quasi-Z, which have been in development since 5 or 6 years. They are very versatile, so that there is still much to study,” said the academic.

The professor explained that his work is carried out as a prototype and in a coming phase the companies developing new technologies look for this kind of innovations and apply them to their equipments.

“These companies doing technological transfer are located in various parts of the world, and I have no doubt that there will be a lot of activity in the coming years in the area of inverters, which will be passed on to the industry,” said Baier.

Laboratory

The scientist has worked for several years in the area of power electronics. He was previously awarded an Initiation to Research Fondecyt project related to the topic. This allowed the Department of Engineering to implement the Energy Conversion and Power Electronics Lab, with several spaces for the project development at the Curicó campus of our University.

“It's sector enjoying a lot of research, because they are recent issues. We have managed to form a very important group of academics in Engineering, and today there are projects that have allowed us to enhance the scientific research carried out at the laboratory,” he said.

The group of power electronics is comprised by Carlos Baier, who is also the director of the laboratory. And professors Marco Rivera, Javier Muñoz, Johan Guzman, in addition to Carlos Restrepo, who joined recently the Department of Engineering.

Equipment

With this new initiative, which also adds to other projects that has been awarded to the group of power electronics of the Department, new scientific equipment will be acquired.

He explained that through this Fondecyt project, special power sources will be purchased for the work at the laboratory with prototypes, fast prototyping of real time control systems, high-end oscilloscopes that have greater functionality, allowing sampling multiple signals, more than the conventional devices. He said that all these equipments will be state-of-the-art and will make it possible to keep the laboratory in the highest standards of research.

In Addition, it will support the training of students in topics related to power electronics, through degree thesis. And from this year, it will support the work of the students of the new Master's degree in Engineering Science with major in Energy Conversion, which has just begun at the Institution.

Visits

During the four-year project, the academic hopes to bring prominent researchers in the field into the Corporation. Among them, the Chinese scientist Baoming Ge, who currently develops more than 40% of the research that has been written about this type of inverters.

Along with this renowned foreign academic, Professors Joseph Pou, from the University of New South Wales in Australia, and Gerardo Escobar, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, both researchers of international prestige, will visit the Curicó Campus and will talk to the students during their stays.

“They will collaborate with some of the objectives of this Fondecyt project, and I think that that contribution will be very important, in addition to generating networks of high-level research”, explained Carlos Baier.



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