PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEM WILL GENERATE DEVICES TO CONNECT TO THE POWER GRID
A SET OF SOLAR PANELS WAS INSTALLED AT THE CURICÓ CAMPUS TO BUILD COMPONENTS TO OPTIMIZE THE CONNECTIVITY SYSTEMS BETWEEN THEM AND THE POWER GRID.
June 23, 2017
To take advantage of the photovoltaic energy in an optimal and stable way, which would allow a better connection of the solar panels to the power grid, is one of the objectives of the study carried out by Professor Javier Muñoz, from the Department of Engineering, who is running a Regular Fondecyt project called "Multifunctional Asymmetrical Multilevel Topologies for the Injection of Photovoltaic Energy to Microgrids."
As part of this, a 5.5 kW solar panels system was installed at the Curicó Campus, enough to provide energy to 3 to 4 houses that will serve to develop new electronic systems which, in the future, will be able to use photovoltaic power generation plants, thus moving forward in an area of science called power electronics.
"In particular, when operating conditions are not optimal, as on cloudy days, the panels generate phenomena that make them behave in a way different from what happens on a sunny day, so we are characterizing these situations and creating devices to optimize the energy we get," said Professor Javier Muñoz.
To do this, data-processing methods are used, which help understanding the irregularities, so to attack them through electronic devices. "The electricity networks operate with alternating current, unlike the solar panels that generate continuous current. Then, in order to integrate them, we need specialized equipments, called power converters, that we build," he said.
In the industry there are already solutions such as these, so his work focuses on generating a different prototype to resolve the distribution of electrical variables such as voltage, current and frequency in an asymmetrical manner. "The initiative has a deadline of three years and, at the end of that period - in 2019, it is expected to have a laboratory prototype working," he said.
"The next level will be to present projects to reach a commercial version," added Muñoz.
At the same time, students of the Master's Degree in Engineering Sciences with a minor in Energy Conversion are running two initiatives, with funding from FONDEF’s Research Enhancement at the University (VIU), in conjunction with internal resources of our University. As a result, by-products were created that were tested in a preliminary manner and are at an advanced stage for possible marketing. "We hope that these developments can generate businesses," said the academic.
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