control room of the future technolution

A secure energy transition with the Control Room of the Future

TU Delft recently opened the Electrical Sustainable Power Lab, or ESP Lab. This brand-new laboratory focuses entirely on the transition to sustainable energy. Scientists, students and enterprises work in the ESP Lab to research all aspects of the energy transition, including the improvement of the technology of solar power, the development of power electronics, and the digitalization of the power grid.

Dr. Alex Stefanov is Assistant Professor in Intelligent Electrical Power Grids (IEPG) and technical director of Control Room of the Future (CRoF) at TU Delft. He designed and developed the CRoF Technology Centre.

This ultramodern control room can simulate any disruption to the power grid in a controlled research environment, from lightning strikes to cyber attacks. It is a unique, future-ready and multi-domain experimental setup aimed as a hub for future power grid technologies. IEPG, Technolution Spark and Phase to Phase are joining forces on a research collaboration and further development of the Control Room of the Future.

Thousands of sustainable energy sources

The energy transition will change the world of energy entirely. Centralized generation in large power plants will yield to a great extent to decentralized generation by thousands of sustainable energy sources. Control and management of so many sources require new methods and systems. CRoF will therefore play a crucial role in ensuring the continuity and security of power supply after the transition. Products and software from multiple suppliers and market players will have to work together in the CRoF in a secure and effective ecosystem.

Monitoring and controlling power grids

Society demands resilient power grids to safeguard the energy supply. This is one of the important contributions that the CRoF can make: how can the energy system stay resilient as the cyber-physical system complexity increases? In addition to the modernization and digitalization of existing systems, new operational technologies will have to be developed to monitor and control the grids. Current energy management systems will be replaced and the CRoF will be equipped with novel algorithms supported by advanced visualization techniques and new human-machine interfaces to cope with the strongly increased complexity of power grid operation. These priorities closely match the core competencies of our subsidiary Phase to Phase, which has been a market leader for years now with visualization software for grid operators and power suppliers. Phase to Phase is looking to play an active role in shaping the ecosystem of the CRoF.

“The Control Room of the Future is a great opportunity to contribute, through innovative solutions, to state-of-the-art research of the sustainable energy supply of the future.”

Transparency and good workflows for the operators

The next generation of grid operation will consist of a large number of diverging applications. It will therefore be essential to have an accessible user interface and effective workflows for system operators in CRoF. Our experience with the automation of complex control rooms, including traffic control centers and tunnel operation, means that we have functional building blocks in our portfolio that are suitable for integration into the CRoF. These components, for instance, effect the management and operation of various HD video signals and the smooth integration of disparate processes and flows into a single, transparent user interface.

High assurance for digital power grids

The digitalization of the power grids carries new cyber security risks. The great importance of the energy supply to society means that there is no margin for errors in this field. Therefore, the research, development and implementation of high-assurance cyber security solutions is a top priority for CRoF. High-assurance solutions are cyber security solutions that meet the exacting standards set by the national government and the military. Technolution supports the cyber security of CRoF with high-assurance building blocks, including PrimeDiode data diodes, PrimeLink line encryptors and other Prime products and solutions.

“At TU Delft, we envision that the future power grid is autonomous, intelligent, resilient and cyber secure.”

Working together to realize a sustainable energy supply

Wilbert Prinssen, Business Unit Director at Technolution, is excited about the partnership with IEPG. “The Control Room of the Future is a great opportunity to contribute, through innovative solutions, to state-of-the-art research of the sustainable energy supply of the future. This is precisely our mission: improving the world through technology.”

Dr. Alex Stefanov, Assistant Professor and technical director of CRoF at TU Delft, is enthusiastic about the fruitful collaboration with Technolution Spark and Phase to Phase. “At TU Delft, we envision that the future power grid is autonomous, intelligent, resilient and cyber secure. The Control Room of the Future will help achieve this vision by researching and developing the future power grid technologies together with our industry partners.”

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