Electric cars powered in the garage of the house, energy savings through intelligent systems and devices, online monitoring of energy consumption, residential electrical network integrated with alternative energy sources, automatic detection and correction of power shortages and cities transformed by automation and energy efficiency. These are some of the innovations that the market is gaining as a result of the research and development of projects aimed at Intelligent Electric Networks or Smart Grids.
Lactec is a pioneer in research on the subject in the country, having carried out its first studies even before the concept of smart grids took shape, still in the early 2000s. We have years of studies and developments with emphasis on electrical and electronic, focusing on five major areas:
- Smart Metering: Lactec has developed electronic power meters with advanced functions such as remote load cutting and reconnection, telemetering with demand mapping (for load curve composition of the consumer unit), and direct interaction with consumers, enabling the verification of consumption in real-time. Lactec has already used in its Smart Metering projects PLC (Power Line Communication) communication systems, Mesh network, including ZigBee technology, and cellular network. In addition to meters, Lactec develops complete AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) solutions, which include all communication up to the concessionaire, databases, and software for measurement management.
- Distributed Generation: Lactec has developed and is developing several projects in the area of Distributed Generation, which includes connection systems, supervision, and protection of generators for LV (low voltage) such as solar panels and mini wind turbines. They have also developed compact versions of protection relays for connection of Distributed Generation to the LV network and equipment for monitoring the quality of electrical energy for application in this area.
- Network automation: We develop system projects of remote units for automation of substations and network equipment, as well as algorithms for automatic reconfiguration (self-healing) and selective cutting of loads (load curtailment). These solutions aim at maintaining power to as many consumers as possible during an outage or overload. We also carry out work in the area of Demand Side Management (DSM) to act on the load curve of feeders in order to optimize its use and make it flatter. We also developed methodologies for better use of network automation equipment to maximize its potential against power shortages.
- Electric Vehicles: Lactec has a Battery Laboratory that is recognized by Brazilian metrological bodies. Researchers specialized in electric vehicles work there and perform consulting work for electric vehicle projects in Brazil. Lactec has also developed several versions of electro-stations for connection of LV’s to the electric network with a solution for billing energy by smart card. They also develop studies on the impact of the connection of electric vehicles on the electric grid.
- Telecommunications: One of the bases of intelligent networks depends on a robust communication system that allows the data to be sent from the network according to different requirements of speed and reliability. In this area, Lactec carries out projects using various technologies such as PLC (communication over the electrical network), Ethernet and Radio Frequency (wireless) such as Bluetooth, WI-FI, cellular network (GPRS, 3G) and ZigBee, with emphasis on the latter, in which Lactec dominates the use of the technology, both of the radios and its logical stack.
These are some of the R&D projects already developed by our researchers:
- L1) Development of an intelligent network platform, integrating energy measurement systems and automation of distribution networks, using digital certification and creating interoperability to support the Smart Grid program;
- L2) Development of real-time management system of underground distribution network, through monitoring, diagnostics, and reconfiguration, within the platform and concepts of the Smart Grid program;
- L3) Air Network Management System, Considering Fault and Recovery Management, Insertion of GDs and Operation in island Mode integrated to the platform and concepts of the Smart Grid Program (SG);
- L4) System for energy management on the demand side associated with other services promoting the socialization of efficient consumption through the use of interactive multimedia channels integrated with the Platform and Concepts of the Smart Grid Program;
- L5) Development of an intelligent system for managing renewable sources, distributed storage and rechargeable electric vehicles integrated with the Smart Grid concept and platform;
- Communication solution for smart grid using mesh networking technologies;
- PD141) Cycle 2 – Automatic System of Telemetry of Electric Energy with Control of Demand on the Consumer and Monitoring of Lack of Electric Energy in LV.