Wednesday, 8 October 2008

NCSU chosen to lead smart-grid project

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has chosen N. C. State University (NCSU) to lead a $28.5 million research initiative to transform the nation’s century-old power transmission system into a smart grid network.

The center will be known as the NSF Engineering Research Center for Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management Systems (FREEDM Systems). It will work to develop “smart grid” technology that can store and distribute alternative energy. The technology developed at this center will distribute renewable energy on a large scale, helping to build a society based on green energy.

The Center will partner with universities, industry and national laboratories in 28 states and nine countries. It will be supported by a five-year, $18.5 million grant from NSF, with another $10 million in institutional support and industry membership fees. More than 65 utilities, electrical equipment manufacturers, alternative energy companies and “other established and emerging firms” have agreed to join the partnership, NCSU says.

“The unique vision of this (center) to enable the smooth inclusion of renewable energy sources into the power grid in a ‘plug-and-play’ mode will provide the knowledge and technology platforms the country needs to help reduce our dependency on fossil fuels,” NSF Deputy Division Director Lynn Preston said in a statement.

Alex Huang, N.C. State’s Progress Energy professor of electrical and computer engineering, will be the center’s director.

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