Saturday, 16 April 2016

Solid State Transformers: Mitigating Power Loss in Smart Grids

As global energy consumption surges, inclusion of solid state transformers is necessitated further for their power-smart performance in electrical utilities.

With regard to the net power losses incurred in electrical utilities accountable to outage duration and equipment inefficiencies, while being on the same page for global environmental concerns, the implementation of smart, or solid state transformers, is a must. Backed by innovatively designed active power control from semi-conductor electronic devices, these transformers hold a promising solution to the future of power industry.

Solid State Transformers 

Smart Energy, Smart Transformers

Quest for adopting cleaner energy resources that served conservation of conventional sources in the long run fetched solid results. Wind, solar, hydro-, bio-, and geothermal energy conversion systems actively contributes to current energy scenario claiming for a huge portion of net electricity being generated at micro as well as macro scale in utilities. Interconnected grids helped ease the increasing per capita load, at the same time rendering grids more efficient. Duly enough, other issues such as improper power synchronization, fluctuating supply, and temporary outages cropped up. In the distributed source backdrop, concept of smart utilization of energy was realized.

Smart utilization of generated energy meant channelizing and regulating the net input from incoming lines in grids. Solid state transformers helped regulate power flow through voltage optimization with support from innovative power storage devices during high voltage inputs and fed back reactive power to the grids during power outages. Additional enhanced semi-conductor devices ease surge-free AC to DC signal modulation at desired frequencies and vice versa for quality power output. SSTs being developed now are obtuse to propagation of system generated harmonics. When incorporated with intelligent control, they exhibit pro-active capability of automatic fault correction.

Solid State Transformers And Adapting Markets

Over years of corporate monitored research have availed positive results for components involved in solid state transformer market. Having discussed increased penetration from renewable energy in grids, we know the shift surely counts as a reason. Cost-reduction in volumes of semi-conductor based devices has been another. Moreover, end-devices have indulged in intelligent management from remote locations, prioritizing SST integration. Not to forget, electrical utilities need to brace themselves for the expected surge in load as a result of growing market for electric vehicles. Faced with apprehensions on reliability of such complex control techniques involved, manufacturers need to work around lowering market cost for SSTs in this tug of war against conventional distribution transformers. Thankfully, energy industry is well-informed of its pros outweighing estimated cons. The cost-effectiveness of SST based distribution system, for instance, justifies initial installation costs. While, high-end management systems are quite unlikely to fail on the reliability front.

Analysts at Allied Market Research, in their recently published report on “World Solid State (Smart) Transformer Market - Opportunities and Forecasts, 2014 -2020” agree that the market is still at its infancy stage, yet hint steep growth for market during current period. The study of global market structure along with its major drivers and restraints predict considerable revenue generation by the end of 2018. Regional analysis exhibit Europe to remain dominant in terms of installed capacity, while North America shall register highest CAGR of 49.3% during the forecast period. Detailed review of developing trends reveals profitable opportunities from investment perspective.