Project A

New energy conversion, storage and distribution technologies for smart buildings

Smart Energy System (SES) applications can provide higher flexibility by allowing the injection of locally generated electrical energy and by including local energy storage, leading to a more-efficient use of resources. The main goal of this project is to increase the efficiency of the electrical infrastructure in houses and buildings through an intelligent and more flexible participation of decentralized generation, storage and controllable loads, as well as through the optimization of the power conversion steps (AC to DC, DC to AC, etc.). Additionally, it aims at optimizing the cost/power efficiency/user-convenience balance of the interfaces between this infrastructure and information-centric end applications, such as laptops, monitors, phones, wearables, etc.

The higher participation of decentralized generation and storage devices working on DC power, like photovoltaic cells, fuel cells, batteries, electric vehicles, etc. brings new opportunities for the built environment. Connecting DC sources and storage via DC networks brings lower investment costs and higher efficiency. This can be attained, for example by savings in copper: the same cable can carry from 50% to 100% more DC power than AC power. In terms of efficiency, a higher efficiency of energy transfer can be achieved by removing one conversion step. Moreover, a DC-DC conversion has higher efficiency than an AC-DC conversion by 2-3 % and is less costly.