A team of four students from the Georgia Tech developing a new electrical power grid technology with an Internet-like control architecture won the third annual ACC Clean Energy Challenge and the Department of Energy's $100,000 grand prize.
The Georgia Tech team presented their technology to a panel of expert judges from the clean energy community on March 26 at the University of Maryland. The team, which includes graduate students Marcelo Sandoval (electrical and computer engineering), Jennifer Howard (electrical and computer engineering), Mitch Costley (electrical and computer engineering), and Eric Crane (business administration), now moves on to represent the southeast region in the DOE National Clean Energy Business Plan Finals, to be held in Washington, D.C., in June.
The students developed a new electric power grid approach and solution with a decentralized, autonomous, Internet-like control architecture and a learning control software system. The proposed architecture leverages smart grid investment in sensing and communications and is massively scalable and incrementally deployable, enabling grid flexibility and numerous desirable value propositions, according to the Georgia Tech team. The new architecture is based on the emerging concept of electricity "Prosumers," i.e., economically motivated parties (residential, commercial, industrial and institutional) that can produce, consume or store electricity as determined by their unique needs and capabilities.
The $100K ACC Clean Energy Challenge is a business plan competition encouraging students from throughout the southeast to develop plans for new companies focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency improvements, and advanced fuels or vehicles. Tech went up against teams from seven other institutions, including Clemson University, Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of Alabama, the University of Maryland, the University of Miami and Virginia Polytechnic and State University.