On September 22, 2014, Illinois Institute of Technology in partnership with ComEd, Silver Spring Networks and West Monroe Partners, initiated the CSMART (Center for Smart Grid Application, Research and Technology). CSMART is a lab dedicated to researching, testing and analyzing the latest Smart Grid technology innovations in a real-world environment.

CSMART will address some of the most challenging issues facing the utility industry over the next decade in an open and collaborative manner. CSMART will leverage the unique capabilities of academia, utilities, and private enterprise to determine the best ways to deploy and support advanced Smart Grid technologies in an effort to manage the growing amounts of renewables, energy storage, and microgrids in a secure and reliable environment. CSMART will support and publish research on the impacts of these cutting edge technologies on new and existing business models. The open business environment at CSMART will help advance the development in these key areas not just in Chicago and Illinois but across the United States.



IoT at IIT Microgrid

The Internet of Things (IoT) studies at the Galvin Center carries out the research on big data analytics pertaining to energy information systems and electricity data mining. The IOT studies which are sponsored by Silver Spring networks are based on the Silver Spring Networks Starfish which can address the growing needs of distributed systems in a more open architecture. One motivation of this research is to encourage the international research community to work on energy Internet of things and big data problems with a potential positive social impact for the mankind.



Smart Streetlights at IIT Microgrid

The streetlight project at the IIT Microgrid has two characteristics that make the lights ideal candidates for inclusion in a smart city deployment. First, they are ubiquitous: every road and highway is lighted by lamps for nighttime usage, as well as for safety. Second, they are very favorably positioned: streetlights are typically mounted atop tall, regularly spaced poles with unimpeded line-of-sight between fixtures. This means that networking streetlights generally does not necessitate the deployment of any additional networking equipment, and in fact the streetlights can be expected to improve the operational resilience and reliability of the network itself.

Upgrading the IIT Microgrid lights to LED fixtures ameliorates some of the traditional problems concerning the smart city security, economics, and reliability. The benefits of networked LED streetlights include:

  • A 60% reduction in energy and operating costs associated with streetlights
  • A 15-20 year lifespan of the LED unit
  • Remote dimming during low traffic hours, (12AM-6AM)
  • Scheduling on/off and dimming with sunrise, sunset, and special events
  • Remote detection of malfunctioning fixtures
  • Detection of day burners
  • Light and pole failures
  • The ability to measure energy usage in each fixture with an embedded meter


Wind Energy Research at IIT

The wind energy research consortium consists of a diverse pool of public and private members working together to improve wind power reliability and performance, lower the price of wind energy, encourage greater integration into the utility grid, and build an educated workforce to drive the industry. Through the consortium, the Galvin Center is leading a number of groundbreaking research initiatives in all areas of wind energy.



CVR at IIT Microgrid

Little has changed in the last 50 years in the management and control of a utility's distribution grid. However, the customer side of the distribution grid has changed substantially with the installation of distributed generation (solar, wind, fuel cells, batteries, gas turbines), nonlinear switching power supplies (LED streetlights, computers, electric vehicles), PHEV charging stations, battery storage and the ability to island Microgrids for reliability reasons. These trends are causing flows to become less predictable and increasingly rendering existing methods of distribution grid management and control incapable of regulating power to within prescribed service assurance standards. The Gridco System installed at the IIT Microgrid is a device that is designed to fit this paradigm. It implements a solid state buck/boost inline power regulator (IPR) that can locally control voltage, power factor and harmonic suppression for a standard 50KVA distribution transformer. This device installed at IIT aims to actively and dynamically control the microgrid distribution system. The goal of this project is to demonstrate the capability of the Gridco Systems IPR working in conjunction with SSN Smart Meters and Bridges to optimally control the local grid in spite of the variation imposed by the increasing customer load complexities.


SCADA at IIT Microgrid

The CSMART project team has combined existing talents and developed new skills around power engineering, networking, and database management to create a SCADA system for the IIT Microgrid. The IIT SCADA system, which is developed at IIT based on the OSIsoft software, is an excellent tool for advanced monitoring, reporting, and diagnoses of microgrid events. OSIsoft provides a platform for integration of various proprietary data sources of the microgrid into one historical database, opening the door to advanced analytics, faster searching, and easier reporting for students, faculty, or facility managers using the OSIsoft's seamless integration of the SCADA system with the Microsoft software suite.


PMUs at IIT Microgrid

IIT has initially installed 12 Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs) on its Microgrid. The PMU project has been gathering synchrophasor data from the 4 kV campus distribution network since summer 2012. IIT has recently installed SEL relays at its substations for PMU application which collect data at the rate of 60 frames per second. IIT PMUs are configured for angle unwrapping, event detection, and differencing. In particular, they are used for grid failure detection and microgrid islanding using the process book waterfall display.




©2016 Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation.