Mobile Hybrid Power System Theory of Operation

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Virginia Tech

Efficiency is a driving constraint for electrical power systems as global energy demands are ever increasing. Followed by the introduction of diesel generators, electricity has become available in more locations than ever. However, operating a diesel generator on its own is not the most energy efficient. This is because the high crest factor loads, of many applications, decrease the fuel efficiency of a hydrocarbon generator. To understand this, we need to understand how an electrical load affects a generator.

Starting with a load profile, a system designer must choose a generator to meet peak demand, marking the first instance where a load profile has influence over a generator. This decision will insure that brownouts do not occur, but, this will lead to poor energy efficiency. We say this because a generator is most energy efficient under heavier loads, meaning, during lighter loads, more fuel will be consumed to produce the same amount of energy.

While this may be fine if the peak load was close to the average load, however, the actual crest factor for a typical residential load profile is much higher. This gap between peak and average load means that a generator will spend most of its time operating at its most inefficient point. To compensate for this, and reduce fuel consumption, the Mechatronics Lab at Virginia Tech has developed a mobile hybrid power system (MHPS) to address this problem. The solution was to augment a diesel generator with a battery pack. This allowed us to constrain the generator so that it only operates with fixed efficiency. It is the theory behind this system that will be covered in this thesis.

power factor correction, load profile, energy storage, mobile hybrid power system, fuel consumption