FREEDM Receives Funding to Develop "TIPS" for Smart Grid

June 08, 2011

FREEDM continues to lead research in smart grid technologies with a new initiative to develop a transformerless intelligent power substation (TIPS) - an advancement that will enable the direct interconnection of renewable energy resources and energy storage systems to the smart grid with bidirectional power flow control.

This research is funded by a grant of $5.15 million over three years awarded from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) to support FREEDM's efforts to enhance smart grid distribution of energy from renewable resources.

"TIPS will enable the vision of the smart grid," said Dr. Subhashish Bhattacharya, FREEDM professor and primary investigator for ARPA-E grant project.

"It will be a more cost-effective and efficient means of connecting renewable energy resources to the existing power infrastructure."

FREEDM industry member Cree will lead the ARPA-E grant research by developing power semiconductor devices based on silicon carbide. The ARPA-E research grant partners include North Carolina State University FREEDM researchers, ABB and Powerex.

Bhattacharya, who is also FREEDM's solid state transformer subthrust leader, and Dr. Alex Huang, FREEDM director and co-primary investigator of the ARPA-E grant, say TIPS will provide energy management and improve grid power quality and reliability through enhanced communication.