Microgrid Cuts University of Missouri Coal Consumption by 73%

microgridThe University of Missouri has reduced its coal consumption by 73 percent through the use of a sophisticated microgrid, according to Microgrid Knowledge.


The story provides an overview of the school’s microgrid activities. It supports a “large and complex” microgrid capable of supporting the 34,000-student, 15-million square-foot campus in Columbia. The platform is supported by four coal-fired burners, a biomass-fired burner, four steam turbine generators, a dual-fuel oil and gas-fired boiler and two gas turbines that feed heat recovery stream generators, the story says.


The infrastructure links to the city of Columbia:


The sustainable microgrid is interconnected with the local municipal utility through a 69-kV tie line, and leverages favorable wholesale market prices through MISO when possible. When grid prices are high, the university relies more on its on-site power generation. This interconnection also allows MU to contract for renewable energy generated off site such as wind and solar.

Microgrids are growing in sophistication and importance. Venkat Subramanian, a member of The Electrochemical Society and the Washington Research Foundation Innovation Professor of Chemical Engineering and Clean Energy at the University of Washington, has released a paper that suggests that disconnected microgrids operating with batteries can efficiently replicate the tasks they perform while connected.


The story quotes Subramanian as saying that all the key functions can be done while the microgrid is off line: “We wrote down all of the microgrid equations in mathematical form, including photovoltaic (PV) arrays, PV maximum power point tracking (MPPT) controllers, batteries, and power electronics, and then identified an efficient way to solve them simultaneously with battery models,” the story says.


The import of the paper – which is entitled “Direct, Efficient, and Real-Time Simulation of Physics-Based Battery Models for Stand-Alone PV-Battery Microgrids” – is to stress the usefulness of microgrid functionality both when it is connected to the grid and disconnected from it.

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