Canadian Manufacturing

Wind, solar microgrid storage gets a boost with three-port converter

Developer says converters will cost effectively bridge gap between solar generation, energy storage



OpenHydro has been selected to build a four-megawatt tidal installation in the Bay of Fundy. PHOTO OpenHydro

OpenHydro has been selected to build a four-megawatt tidal installation in the Bay of Fundy. PHOTO OpenHydro

Austin, TEXAS—Ideal Power Inc., a developer of power conversion technology, has developed a three-port 30-kilowatt hybrid converter for off grid, grid-tied and grid resilient applications.

Research firm Navigant Research forecasts that revenue from deployments of microgrids will be just under $10 billion in 2013, increasing to just more than $40 billion annually by 2020.

Frost & Sullivan also thinks mircrogrids are poised for growth, saying the global microgrid market is rapidly gaining prominence as supportive government policies in various countries encourage renewable energy development, such as wind and solar. The firm estimates that there will be a sharp rise in installations from 2015 to 2029, and the large value chain of participants actively contributing to microgrid development will further fuel a market boom beyond 2015.

Ideal’s hybrid converter recently awarded the 2014 electrical energy storage (ees) award for product innovation to improve efficiency and cost of combined energy storage and PV applications at the Intersolar Europe exhibition.

The technology integrates multiple power sources for microgrids lowering the cost of delivering grid resiliency during blackouts, and reducing dependency on expensive diesel fuel for off-grid applications.

The company’s Power Packet Switching Architecture (PPSA) enables integration of solar PV inverter functions on one DC port and bi-directional battery converter functions on the second DC port while a third AC port supports both grid-tied and microgrid applications.

The company estimates that its Hybrid Converter will reduce the size and weight of microgrid power electronics that integrate PV and storage by 90 per cent, which reduces material, manufacturing, shipping and installation costs.

Ideal Power engineers and markets its Power Packet Switching Architecture (PPSA) that improves the size, cost, efficiency, flexibility and reliability of electronic power converters. The firm has won multiple grants including one from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) to commercialize bi-directional power switches, which are expected to improve power density by thirty percent and reduce efficiency losses by fifty percent. For more information, visit www.IdealPower.com.

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