Undergrad Research Project - GridBallast

Spring 2017

Malik Parker
Anthony Rowe
Project description

The North American electric grid is facing exponential growth in distributed energy resources. The GridBallast project will create low-cost demand-side management technology to address resiliency and stability concerns accompanying this growth. Specifically, GridBallast technology will monitor voltage and frequency, control load to address excursions from operating targets, and will be able to operate autonomously, allowing for rapid local response. This technology is to be tested on a water heater.

The project consists of three major phases: 1) Simulation, 2) Hardware Development, and 3) Deployment. The project team will do the initial design of the controls in the simulation phase, then build control hardware for water heaters and circuit breaker-connected loads in the hardware development phase, and finally field test that hardware at residential customers of distribution utilities in the final phase. My work will focus on hardware bring-up and the design of distributed control firmware. The hardware is unique in that it can precisely sense the AC mains frequency which we can use to learn the grid load patterns at each water heater over time.

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