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Microgrid with FDERS vs. 'Status Quo'

Microgrids are nowadays being sought after by various customers including military, utilities, industries, campuses and municipalities. In the past decade or so, research publications on microgrids have risen sharply (for instance, references [8]-[18], to name a few). Recently, a two-part paper that contains good bibliography on microgrid control schemes was published in [19],[20]. As against the general trend, which focused on improvements to a specific feature, this group's research on Flexible Distribution of EneRgy and Storage resources (FDERS) has taken a holistic approach in order to achieve the higher level sustainability goals of increased Distributed Energy Resource (DER) lifetime, optimal energy storage deployment, higher controllability and improved robustness among others [2]. This can be further explained by means of the qualitative evaluation carried out in Table 1, which reveals that the DER control variables of ‘virtual inertia’ and ‘virtual reactance’ offer greater value and additional degrees of freedom to optimize the microgrid operation for achieving the FDERS goals.

The principal motivation for FDERS was to address the question: “what is the best way of integrating multiple smaller-rated DERs to enable them as a whole to reliably supply a large and fluctuating load - especially when the power from main grid is not available?” [1],[2]. 


FDERS was inspired by observing the advantages achieved in cooperative (and flexible) formations of bird flock V-shape formation and cycling team peloton formation. It has been published in a Science article [3] that the V-formation consisting of 25 birds could theoretically result in a 70% increase in the range of distance flown by them as compared with a bird flying solo. Another article, in Nature [4], presented the observations from heart-rate monitors physically placed on pelicans to prove the benefits for birds flying in a V-shape formation (cf. Fig. 1). Likewise, numerous articles have been published on the gains derived by cyclists in a peloton formation (for instance, [5]-[7]).

However, in case their positions within the formation are fixed and unalterable over the entire journey, the leading birds/cyclists get exhausted sooner than their drafting counterparts. Similar issues exist when a large and fluctuating load is to be supplied from a network of multiple smaller-rated distributed energy and storage resources in the microgrid that is a fixed formation in 'status quo', and the FDERS is proposed to resolve these by enabling flexibility - as observed in the real migratory bird flock/cycling racing team formation.


[1]   M. S. Illindala, “Flexible Distribution of Energy and Storage Resources,” 2012 IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE), 2012, pp.4069-4076, 15-20 Sept. 2012.

[2]   M. S. Illindala, H. Khasawneh*, A. Renjit*, “Flexible Distribution of Energy and Storage Resources: Integrating These Resources into a Microgrid,” IEEE Industry Applications Magazine, Vol. 21, No. 5, Sept. 2015.

[3]   P. B. S. Lissaman, C. A. Schollenberger, “Formation Flight of Birds,” Science, Vol. 168, 1970, pp. 1003-1005. doi:10.1126/science.168.3934.1003.

[4]   H. Weimerskirch, J. Martin, Y. Clerquin, P. Alexandre, S. Jiraskova, “Energy Saving in Flight Formation,” Nature, Vol. 413, 2001, pp. 697-698. doi:10.1038/35099670.

[5]   C. R. Kyle, “Reduction of wind resistance and power output of racing cyclists and runners traveling in groups,” Ergonomics, 1979, Vol. 22: pp. 387-397.

[6]   A. G. Edwards, W. C. Byrnes, “Aerodynamic characteristics as determinants of the drafting effect in cycling,” Journal of Medical Science Sports Exercise, Jan 2007, Vol. 39, No. 1, pp. 170-176.

[7]   J. Brisswalter, C. Hausswirth, “Consequences of Drafting on Human Locomotion: Benefits on Sports Performance,” International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, Apr 2008, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 3-15.

[8]   J. Eto, R. Lasseter, B. Schenkman, J. Stevens, H. Vollkommer, D. Klapp, E. Linton, H. Hurtado, J. Roy, “CERTS Microgrid Laboratory Test Bed,” IEEE Trans. on Power Delivery, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 325-332, Jan 2011.

[9]   A. A. Renjit*, M. S. Illindala, “Graphical and Analytical Methods for Stalling of Engine Generator Set,” 2012 IEEE Intl. Conf. on Power Electronics, Drives and Energy Systems (PEDES), Bengaluru, India, Dec. 16-19, 2012.

[10]  A. A. Renjit*, M. Illindala and D. Klapp, “Graphical and Analytical Methods for Stalling Analysis of Engine Generator Sets,” IEEE Trans. on Industry Applications, Vol. 50, No. 5, Sep. 2014, pp. 1-9.

[11]  A. A. Renjit*, M. Illindala, R. Lasseter, M. Erickson, D. Klapp, “Modeling and Control of a Natural Gas Generator Set in the CERTS Microgrid,” 2013 IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE), Sep. 15-19, 2013.

[12]  A. Mondal*, D. Klapp, M. Illindala, J. Eto, “Modeling, Analysis and Evaluation of Smart Load Functionality in the CERTS Microgrid,” 2014 IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE), Sep. 14-18, 2014.

[13]  R. H. Lasseter, “MicroGrids,” IEEE PES Winter Meeting 2002, Vol. 1, pp. 305-308, Jan. 2002.

[14]  G. Venkataramanan, M. S. Illindala, “Microgrids and Sensitive Loads,” IEEE PES Winter Meeting, 2002, Vol. 1, pp. 315-322.

[15]  N. D. Hatziargyriou, A. P. S. Meliopoulos, “Distributed Energy Sources: Technical Challenges,” IEEE PES Winter Meeting, Jan. 2002, Vol. 2, pp. 1017-1022.

[16]  F. Katiraei, M. R. Iravani, “Power Management Strategies for a Microgrid With Multiple Distributed Generation Units,” IEEE Trans. on Power Systems, Vol. 21, No. 4, 2006 , pp. 1821 - 1831.

[17]  N. Hatziargyriou, H. Asano, M. R. Iravani, C. Marnay, “Microgrids,” IEEE Power and Energy Magazine, vol.5, no.4, pp.78-94, July-Aug. 2007.

[18]  R. H. Lasseter, “Smart Distribution: Coupled Microgrids,” Proceedings of the IEEE, vol.99, no.6, pp.1074-1082, June 2011.

[19]  J. M. Guerrero, M. Chandorkar, T. Lee, P. C. Loh, “Advanced Control Architectures for Intelligent Microgrids—Part I: Decentralized and Hierarchical Control,” IEEE Trans. on Industrial Electronics, vol. 60, no. 4, pp.1254-1262, April 2013.

[20]  J. M. Guerrero, P. C. Loh, T. Lee, M. Chandorkar, “Advanced Control Architectures for Intelligent Microgrids—Part II: Power Quality, Energy Storage, and AC/DC Microgrids,” IEEE Trans. on Industrial Electronics, vol. 60, no. 4, pp.1263-1270, April 2013.