Summary of the technology
UPQC (Universal Power Quality Conditioner) allows optimal control of a power electronics-based conditioner. Comprising both shunt and series elements (inverters), UPQC compensates for sags and swells, unbalance and distortion (harmonics)in the supply current and supply voltage respectively. UPQC delivers cost savings, increased reliability and enhanced electrical power network functionality. It also employs modular control software and novel techniques for load side short circuit protection of series inverters.
New and innovative aspects
UPQC allows optimal control of a power electronics-based conditioner. Comprising both shunt and series elements (inverters), UPQC compensates for sags and swells, unbalance and distortion (harmonics) in the supply current and supply voltage respectively. UPQC delivers cost savings, increased reliability and enhanced electrical power network functionality. It also employs modular control software and novel techniques for load side short circuit protection of series inverters.
Main advantages of its use
The UPQC offers a number of advantages over existing solutions, including:
• Increased Grid Reliability – reduced risk of mal-operation or failure of loads from power quality problems originating from the network.
• Harmonic Protection – greatly reduces the level of harmonics being injected back into the network from disrupting electrical loads.
• Voltage Sag Mitigation – caters for up to 50% voltage sag from the utility supply.
• Efficient DC Bus Control – a novel adaptive controller ensures that during severe voltage/current disturbances, the change in the dc link voltage is steady. It can follow the reference at all times to ensure injected voltage and current harmonics are kept to the minimum.
• Renewable Energy Integration – allows wind generation and other renewable energy supplies to be accommodated into electricity supply networks, by increasing their voltage ride through capability in the event of short duration grid voltage disturbances.
• Full Integrated Digital Controller – provides flexibility to adjust control algorithms or tuning parameters if required.
• Quality of service – enhances both the availability and reliability of existing electricity supply networks.
• Modular design – simplifies both manufacturing and maintenance.
Current solutions involve regulation of the DC bus voltage but this can significantly deviate from its reference during transient events caused by load (dis)connection and supply side voltage sag and swell. DC link voltage is particularly affected when load change coincides with series voltage sag giving rise to degraded load end voltage quality. UPQC is a complete system with an integrated digital controller, ensuring desired power quality for both the utility and the load side. The system automatically adjusts the injected current according to load conditions ensuring supply currents and load voltages are balanced sinusoids and always in phase. It can compensate for a sag or swell of up to 50% in the supply voltage and has an efficiency of greater than 90%. UPQC has been designed to a European specification (3 phase - 3 wire) but can easily be adapted to operate to US and Asian supply voltages. Energy storage modules may also be added to give the system uninterruptible power supply (UPS) functionality
Power electronics-based conditioning is important across multiple industrial sectors. The UPQC may be used by a number of industries including:
• Utilities (transmission and distribution companies);
• Process industries (semiconductor plants, paper mills, plastic manufacturers);
• Automotive manufacturers;
• Chemical plants, Electronics (consumer electronic and computer manufacturers); and • Mining industry, Steel plants.
Intellectual property status
The software modules, power conditioning models and the overall system architecture are protected as confidential know-how.
Current development status
The technology has been built, tested and is capable of demonstration. A 12kVA prototype has been developed but it will require further commercial development to automate and scale up.
Desired business relationship
The market for power electronics globally was worth nearly $11.5 billion in 2014. With a growth rate in excess of 6% it is expected to reach $16 billion by 2019. A number of factors are influencing the power-conditioning segment across the grid. These include advanced automations, i.e. real‐ time control and monitoring; the addition of fast acting power conditioning apparatus; customer based reliability and power quality enhancement; and micro-grids for Outage management. UPQC has the potential to fit into the area of power conditioning and quality enhancement.
DIT is currently seeking expressions of interest from potential business partners and licensees interested in developing the technology, particularly in the renewable energy sector or for mechanical dampening applications.
Click here to download the UPQC Technology Information Sheet
About DIT Hothouse
Technology Transfer Office from IrelandDIT Hothouse
DIT Hothouse is the award-winning Innovation and Knowledge Transfer Office at Dublin Institute of Technology, responsible for the commercialisation of intellectual property arising from DIT research. DIT Hothouse is the hub of innovation and technology transfer activities in DIT, the place where business meets innovation. DIT Hothouse has a range of spinout technologies available to industry across Life Sciences, Food, ICT, Software, Industrial Technology, Manufacturing and Clean Technologies. Our team works with students, lecturers and research teams across DIT as well as with entrepreneurs, industry leaders and investors. Through the DIT Hothouse New Frontiers Startup Programme, we provide a startup incubator for innovative and promising startup companies. Our Mission The mission of DIT Hothouse is to: Maximise the commercialisation of new technologies developed by the growing community of DIT researchers. Partner with industry on research collaboration, research consultancy and contract research. Support the launch of knowledge-intensive startups with the potential to generate significant economic benefits for Ireland through our startup support programmes and the DIT Hothouse Incubator. Our Offering At DIT Hothouse we assist: Entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses. Industry partners to find new technologies, research partners, and funding. Investors to find high-potential opportunities. DIT staff and students to commercialise their intellectual property (IP). Technology transfer offices in the Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITTD), the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB), the Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Dún Laoghaire (IADT) and the National College of Ireland (NCI) and the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) in their commercialisation activities. Whichever category you belong to, DIT Hothouse can provide you with unparalleled expertise, skills and resources to help you achieve your goals. Our Success Since its establishment in 2007, DIT Hothouse has consistently outperformed all other Irish university technology transfer offices, completing up to 20% of the annual commercial technology transfer licences in Ireland. Through its Enterprise Ireland-funded Incubation Programmes, DIT Hothouse has helped create nearly 400 sustainable businesses that have attracted €195 million in equity investment and created approximately 1,700 quality jobs.