Power systems are going through a paradigm change from centralized generation, to distributed generation, and further on to smart grids. In order to make power systems more secure, more efficient, more resilient to threats and friendlier to the environment, a huge number of heterogeneous players, including renewable energy sources, electric vehicles, and storage systems etc. on the supply side and different types of smart loads on the demand side, are being connected to power systems to form smart grids. Because of the heterogeneous nature and the huge number of players involved, it is a great challenge to find a system architecture so that all heterogeneous players could work together to maintain system stability and achieve desired performance. In this talk, an autonomous distributed control architecture will be presented from the systems perspective for the next-generation smart grid, after homogenizing the heterogeneous players with the synchronization mechanism of synchronous machines. Two technical routes will be presented to implement this architecture: one is based on the synchronverter technology that makes power converters behave like synchronous machines and the other is based on the robust droop control technology that mimics the external function of synchronous machines. All the distributed controllers require only the information available locally and communicate with each other through the dynamics of power systems, rather than through an additional communication network. They equally and actively take part in the system regulation via independent individual actions to achieve the same control objective, in the same way as conventional power plants do. This holistic solution could considerably enhance the stability, scalability, operability and reliability of the next-generation smart grid.
Dr. Qing-Chang Zhong holds the Max McGraw Endowed Chair Professor in Energy and Power Engineering at Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, USA. He was educated at Imperial College London (PhD, 2004, awarded the Best Doctoral Thesis Prize), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (PhD, 2000), Hunan University (MSc, 1997), and Hunan Institute of Engineering (Diploma, 1990). Having been recognized as a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Control Systems Society, the IEEE Power Electronics Society and the IEEE Power and Energy Society, he is a world-leading multidisciplinary expert in control, power electronics and power systems. Before joining Illinois Institute of Technology, he was the Chair Professor in Control and Systems Engineering at The University of Sheffield, UK, where he built up a $5M+ research lab dedicated to the control of energy and power systems and attracted the support of Rolls-Royce, National Instruments, Texas Instruments, Siemens, ALSTOM, Turbo Power Systems, Chroma, Yokagawa, OPAL RT and other organizations. He (co-) authored three research monographs, including Robust Control of Time-delay Systems (Springer, 2006) and Control of Power Inverters in Renewable Energy and Smart Grid Integration (Wiley-IEEE Press, 2013). His fourth book on the architecture and technical routes of next-generation smart grids based on the synchronization mechanism of synchronous machines will be published by Wiley-IEEE in 2017. He is an Associate Editor for leading journals in control and power engineering, including IEEE Trans. on Automatic Control, IEEE Trans. on Control Systems Technology, IEEE Trans. on Power Electronics, and IEEE Trans. on Industrial Electronics. His current research focuses on advanced control/systems theory, power electronics, and the seamless integration of both to address fundamental challenges in energy and power systems.