69 Dispatchability

The dispatch and control of fuel cell systems (as well as other distributed generation technologies) in the future may be accomplished through a virtual power exchange. The virtual power exchange could be comprised of a collection of computer programs running in real time to monitor and control (to some degree) the output of many distributed systems so that they appear to the independent system operator (ISO) and power exchange (PX) as a single dispatchable entity. This may become necessary because the present capabilities of the ISO and PX do not accommodate dispatch of many thousands of small generators.

The virtual power exchange concept includes the capability to (1) predict individual and aggregated building loads and coincident distributed generation asset availability; (2) make financial decisions in real time regarding which distributed generation units should be operated and when; (3) communicate with individual distributed generation units over the Internet, wireless fiber, and radio frequency links; and (4) diagnose individual distributed generation unit performance for reliability assessments in real time.

A key feature of aggregating many distributed generation devices is that overall efficiency can be optimized by allowing the distributed generation devices to run at optimal power levels for the particular unit. The integrated software package that could accomplish these tasks does not exist today, but each component has been used in other applications and could be integrated into a stand-alone package.

Solar Stirling Engine Basics Explained

Solar Stirling Engine Basics Explained

The solar Stirling engine is progressively becoming a viable alternative to solar panels for its higher efficiency. Stirling engines might be the best way to harvest the power provided by the sun. This is an easy-to-understand explanation of how Stirling engines work, the different types, and why they are more efficient than steam engines.

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