A Universal Load Conditioner for Diesel Hybrid Microgrids

Steve Drouilhet, Davin Ojala
Sustainable Power Systems LLC, United States

Keywords: Diesel efficiency, micro-hybrids, renewable energy, load conditioning

There are thousands of diesel generators around the world providing power to small island microgrids, some supplemented by renewable generation and some not. Diesel generators are most efficient when operated at or near full rated load. However, there are a variety of load characteristics that require a larger generator (a lot of spinning reserve) to reliably meet the load: 1) unbalanced phase loading, 2) non-linear loads (loads with high harmonic content), 3) high reactive load, and 4) high transient loads. We are developing a Universal Load Conditioner to greatly reduce the generator size required to meet a given load, thereby decreasing fuel consumption. It does this by balancing the load and providing all of the required harmonic current and reactive power. In addition, when equipped with energy storage, the unit can provide needed reserve for peak loads and even double as an uninterrupted power supply in case of generator failure. The Universal Load Conditioner is appropriate for use in diesel power systems where power quality, reliability, and fuel efficiency and are critical. Systems with intermittent loads, high fuel or maintenance costs, poor power factors, high harmonics, and/or load imbalance will see the most benefit.

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