HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
switch to:
Sector Coupling

Smart transformer brings relief to tomorrow’s power grid

Researchers from Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel presented a prototype for a smart transformer at the 2018 Hannover Messe. It should help distribute electricity in line with demand, better control the power grid, and counteract overloads.

18 May. 2018
HMI-ID04-079ds_Mikes Photos_Pexels
Smart transformer brings relief to tomorrow’s power grid (Photo: Mikes Photos/Pexels)

To date, the power grid isn’t designed for electromobility or the energy transformation. Take electric cars as an example: If charged quickly, this peak load can temporarily cause bottlenecks in the grid. In August 2017, Wirtschaftswoche magazine issued a warning that power grids were not prepared for electric cars. Things could get tight in the "car states" of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in particular. The German Electromobility Association and the German Wind Energy Association defended their position on heise.de . According to them, batteries are becoming more powerful, and many cars aren’t even driven for the majority of their service life.

What’s needed are solutions that compensate for fluctuations in generation and consumption. And this is exactly what the smart transformer, based on power semiconductors made of silicon carbide, delivers. It can transform medium voltage into low voltage without major losses, while enabling DC connections at the same time, reports the CAU. This makes the solution attractive for other industries, for example in operating data centers or aircraft electronics, where it could reduce energy consumption and increase reliability. The smart transformer features a modular structure and can be easily and efficiently scaled for different applications according to the developers.