The Half-Way Point

With the first semester for the project now complete, it would be a good time to take a look at how far the project has progressed and demonstrate what we have achieved so far.

After the initial background research had been completed work began on the Control Room system using Siemens SCADA WinCC software. We began work constructing the fundamental schematic of the Microgrid as well as working on reading in historically archived data. In parallel to this practical work our interim report was completed as required by the University. A copy can be found here (Interim) if you want a more in depth view on what we have done and what we hope to achieve. However if you don’t want to read through our 60 page document (can’t understand why you wouldn’t!) then here is a brief review of our current results. Shown below is the fundamental schematic of the Universities Microgrid which is currently being configured to show when switches are on/off and lines are energised, amongst others.

Report Schematic

Since the interim report we have made substantial progress as we aim to have a fully functioning fundamental system by mid-January. The video below shows our current system with each coloured section to represent specific sections of the overall schematic once configurations have been finalised. Over the next couple of weeks we hope to complete the fundamental system before beginning our investigation into advanced visualisation techniques becomes our main focus.

To give an idea of the sort of visualisation techniques we hope to incorporate during the second semester one idea involving the visualisation of system frequency is shown below. We will discuss several ideas as we attempt to add innovative and interesting data visualisation on top of our fundamental control room design.

diagram

The level of project work being completed is expected to ramp up over the next few months as we look to complete our control room system in time for the project Tradeshow in April. We hope to produce the next blog some time before then as preparations for the completion of our Masters project begin to take place. Thanks again for reading and Happy New Year!

Connor

µCR Strath

engineeringtab

Image References

  1. University of Strathclyde Engineering Faculty Logo   http://www.strath.ac.uk/engineering/
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Hello World….

Have you ever watched Apollo 13 and wondered how all those fancy graphs and numbers are displayed within the NASA Control Room? What visualisation techniques are employed? This is just one of the questions that the µCR project team will answer over the next few months as we complete our masters project on the Realisation of a Smart Grid Control Room for a Microgrid.

1280px-Mission_control_center

As you might have guessed, our work will not involve any trips to the Moon or actors now promoting 4G (I’m talking about you, Kevin Bacon), it will however focus on the design of a control room for a Microgrid facility, housed in the Royal College building at the University of Strathclyde. Our project team consists of five 5th year Masters students from the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Strathclyde: Scott Clark, Connor Hughes, Jennifer Ingram, James McNiven and Gareth Mitchell.

Over the past few weeks we have worked hard to get the project off the ground with a large amount of background research and preparations. However, before discussing some of the aspects of our work, it would be a good idea to explain exactly what we plan to deliver.

The goal of our project is to create an easy-to-understand control room for the University’s Microgrid facility. The intended use for our product is to easily show industrial professional visitors, to the University’s Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department, research that is being completed involving the Microgrid. It is our aim to extract real-time data from the grid and display it an appropriate manner, as well as to display different sets of historical data which could simulate various scenarios.

As mentioned earlier, the bulk of our work so far has involved background research into the Microgrid, as well as SCADA systems, qualitative and quantitative data visualisation, and OPC servers. We have also completed analysis on historical data in order to increase our understanding of the measurements taken from the grid before we design our Graphical User Interface (GUI) for the control room, using Siemens WinCC software.

This week we were also fortunate enough to visit Scottish Power’s Strathkelvin House, in Kirkintilloch, where they house the control room for their central Scotland power grid. The visit proved incredibly useful, which will aid us as we begin to design the basic layout for our GUI. Seeing how such a large company displays the mass amount of data from their electrical grid provided us with a clearer illustration of what our reduced scale design should look like.

Over the next few weeks, we hope to move forward with our initial designs and have a working GUI for historical data by Christmas. On the more official side of things, we will have to submit our Interim Report to the University, to give an overview of our work over the first half of the year. It is around this time that our next update will appear, so look out for it then! Thanks for reading!

Connor

µCR Strath

engineeringtab

Image References:

  1. Control Room http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_C._Kraft_Jr._Mission_Control_Center
  2. University of Strathclyde Engineering Faculty Logo http://www.strath.ac.uk/engineering/