IGCS is interested in the sustainable use and management ofEnergy. Energy is a field that is diverse and interdisciplinary in technology. The conversion and use of energy has vast impacts on environment and social development. IGCS also investigates the nexus between energy and the other focus areas in IGCS of water, waste and land use. In the past, projects have been undertaken to investigate use of biofuels in engines, solar thermal systems for sewage treatment. Not only fundamental scientific investigations, but the development of technologies and field trials are also of interest in this domain.

Current research projects

Research Program Sustainable Power Engineering

The declared objective of the Graduate Program for Sustainable Power Engineering is to conduct scientific research projects within the field of electrical engineering in order to develop solutions, especially addressing sustainability and environmental concerns. The particular focus shall be on research in the field of equipment and systems for the efficient regulation and control of transmission and distribution grids, dynamic behavior of transmission and distribution grids e.g. in context with an increasing share of power from decentralized renewable energy sources as well as strategies for sustainable optimization of existing grid structures.

Towards these goals, a first research project was initiated on the development of techniques to enable solar photovoltaic inverters to operate in grid-connected and islanded-modes of operation. The work resulted in development of technology that enables islanded operation without communication links between the solar inverters. The techniques were demonstrated on low power prototypes in the laboratory. Currently, with the involvement of another company, Cygni Energy, the techniques are proposed to be refined further and prototyped at higher power levels of about 12 kW. The technology is aimed at rooftop solar systems being integrated into the distribution grid.

A second project was initiated on the development of power electronics for Solid State Transformers. This is a promising technology that could potentially revolutionize the way the distribution grid is operated and controlled, especially with renewable integration. Development and testing of modular multilevel inverters for this application are nearing completion, and is expected to be taken to further levels of power scaling.

Another project envisages the investigation of power flow control strategies for the grid. The project would involve investigation into technologies that could result in power flow control, from sophisticated to the simple ones, with a view to establish the operational advantages and disadvantages. The effects of renewable power integration would also be investigated in this work.

The IGCS Research Program on Sustainable Power Engineering was instituted by Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen at IIT Madras on 1st of January 2014, within the ambit of the IGCS Energy domain (current funding period from 2018 until 2023).

Contact: Prof. Dr. Krishna Vasudevan