New research project on grid-forming inverters
Post date: 30/03/2023 - 14:10
German inverter manufacturer Kaco New Energy, semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE are partners in the joint project »StABIL« (Sustainable PV Inverters – Design, Load Analysis and Innovations for Long Lifetime). The goal is to »to analyze the potential stress factors applied on a grid-forming PV inverter in the future power grid and to transfer the findings to an optimized, durable hardware design in the new grid-forming PV inverter to be developed,« according to a Fraunhofer ISE statement. An inverter is considered »grid-forming« if it supports grid operation by stabilizing voltage and frequency even in the event of major disturbances – an essential task in an electricity system based on renewable energies, because the rotating masses of power plant turbines still used today for this purpose are then no longer available to the extent required.
The project partners are investigating the expected load scenarios and simulating them in laboratory tests in order to draw conclusions on »the optimal and cost-efficient dimensioning, especially with regard to the power semiconductors.« A field measurement campaign at the 5-megawatt Dürbheim solar power plant used by Fraunhofer ISE for research purposes is to provide findings on operation under practical conditions. These are to result in »recommendations of an optimized design for durable devices and their components with long lifetimes« at the end of the project, which runs from January this year to December 2025.
The project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, is divided into three sub-projects: »Grid-forming power converters« (Kaco, funding amount around € 650,000 / $ 705,000), »Semiconductor modules« (Infineon, € 660,000) and »Load scenarios, mission profiles and lifetime-optimized design« (Fraunhofer ISE, € 1 million).