WINSmartGrid – A UCLA-based Initiative for Green Energy
The UCLA Wireless Internet Smart Grid (WINSmartGrid http://winmec.ucla.edu/smartgrid) project announces the formation of the UCLA WINSmartGrid Connection (UCLA Wireless Internet Smart Grid Connection), which is a partnership between universities, industry and government.
What is the UCLA WINSmartGrid?
The UCLA WINSmartGrid is a network platform technology that allows electricity operated appliances such as plug-in automobile, washer, dryer, or, air conditioner to be wirelessly monitored, connected and controlled via a Smart Wireless hub. The WINSmartGrid technology connects home appliances and smart meters to the WINSmartGrid web service that receives live feeds from utilities and external sources on information such as instantaneous price of power, future prices, etc., and sends control signals to the WINSmartGrid which in turn dynamically controls various appliances in real time. Important aspects of this system include low-power capabilities, generic/flexible/reconfigurable technology, two-way communication capability, open-architecture for integration with sensors, devices, networks and appliances, and, standards-based interfaces.
This technology allows utilities - at the edge of the network - enabling technology to provide consumers incentive-based consumption of electrical power during off-peak hours, to store this power in millions of battery-operated Plug-In automobiles, which can subsequently utilize the stored power during the peak hours for transportation thereby helping utilize the off peak-time capacity. By intelligently operating appliances via a wireless open architecture approach within the home with WINSmartGrid, the utilities can simultaneously reduce peak power requirements during the daytime.
The WINSmartGrid system is based on the advanced technology called the ReWINS (Reconfigurable Wireless Interface for Networking of Sensors http://winmec.ucla.edu/rewins) that was developed in the Wireless Media Lab and WINMEC in UCLA over the past six years. Its architecture is a tri-layered architecture (that derives from the WINRFID Middleware and Edgeware research - http://winmec.ucla.edu/winrfid) that separates the hardware via Edgeware, the control, setup and data functions in the Middleware and the decision making in the Centralware.
According to DOE, its vision for the Modern Grid Strategy as follows (source http://www.netl.doe.gov/moderngrid/opportunity/vision.html) - "Before we can begin to modernize today's grid, we first need a clear vision of the power system required for the future. Given that vision, we can create the alignment necessary to inspire passion, investment, and progress toward an advanced U.S. grid for the 21st century. A modernized grid is a necessary enabler for a successful society in the future. Modernizing today's grid will require a unified effort by all stakeholders rallying around a common vision".
The UCLA Wireless Smart Grid project using the WINSmartGrid technology provides an enabling Wireless Technology for achieving the goals of the electricity smart grid by allowing power consumption within households to be smoothened out, thereby resulting in a flatter demand curve and more efficient production.
The WINSmartGrid Technology brings together ReWINS technology within a three-layered Serviceware architecture that is composed of the EdgeWare, Middleware and Centralware.
The Edgeware is a combination of software and firmware that connects to and controls devices such as the temperature monitors, humidity RFID tags, motion detectors or X10 controllers on refrigerators. A variety of monitors/sensors are supported within WINSmartGrid including temperature, humidity, current, voltage, power, shock, motion, and, chemical sensors. The Edgeware controls and utilizes the wireless networks that connect to the WINSmartGrid hub. The WINSmartGrid hub supports wireless protocols such as Zigbee, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPRS and RFID, and it is increasingly clear that the 802.15.4-based low-power protocol (that includes Zigbee) appear to hold strong promise. Other protocols such as WiMax and Rubee are being added. The Edgeware allows the creation, setup, management, control and utilization of a two-way hierarchical and low-power network.
The Middleware sits between the Edgeware and the decision-making web service or Centralware. The Middleware provides functionality such as data filtration, aggregation and messaging on the raw data from the Edgeware, extract meaningful information, and route it appropriately to the correct destination / web service.
The Centralware receives real-time price feeds and other data from the utilities, has a basic set of knowledge-based rules on control decisions, and makes the control decisions that need to be executed. The WINSmartGrid Centralware also has the capability to connect to other Intelligent Web services to collaborate on decision making about the control decisions - currently it is a structural interface, with a basic set of rules only. This structural web service will eventually be connected to the external intelligent services as they come on-line.
Once the Centralware makes the decisions, the Middleware is informed about the control decisions via actions, which then maps and routes these control decisions to the Edgeware, which in turn converts those decisions to low-level control signals for the appropriate controller (e.g. X10 controller connected to a Plug-In car).
Characteristics of UCLA Wireless Smart Grid (WINSmartGrid) include:
- Low Power technology
- Standards-based hardware adapted to fit the problem resulting in lower overall cost
- Wireless infrastructure for monitoring
- Wireless infrastructure for control
- Service architecture with three layers - Edgeware, Middleware and Centralware
- Open architecture for easy integration
- Plug-and-Play approach to network installation
- Reconfigurability - The capability of the technology to be reconfigurable allows OTA (over the air) upgrade of the firmware to be able to handle different devices, applications, sensors, controllers, thermostats, etc.
Benefits of WINSmartGrid to the Utilities
- Integration of home-based Wireless network to their smart meter architecture
- Low cost connectivity to achieve the vision of the National Smart Grid
- Low power technology that provides connectivity.
- Two way connectivity for monitoring and control of the last mile of the Global SmartGrid (homes, offices, factories).
Other Research Projects using WINSmartGrid and related technology that is relevant to Utility Industry
- Monitoring of infrastructure to report to control center for rapid decision making
- Minimal delay wireless networks for the field
- Quick reporting of Use of RFID to track smart meters for asset management
- Use of Wireless-integrated temperature monitors for field applications
- Remote / wireless reporting of distance between cables and trees in the field.
- Bring intelligence to condition of equipment by wirelessly monitoring temperature.
- Monitoring sparking wirelessly and bring this information to the Central station
- Wirelessly monitor condition of remote underground power lines where oil line is in close proximity of the power line to prevent explosions
- Remote monitoring of conductor temperature
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