PowerSecure, a microgrid company, and Endeavour, a sustainable infrastructure company, have partnered on a plug-and-play energy router, GridBlock, that can manage power supplies, energy storage and loads across microgrids.
An Endeavour product, the router can create and operate a self-contained microgrid.
The GridBlock platform combines hardware, software and financing into an “infrastructure-as-a-service” model that eliminates cost barriers and allows customers to see immediate cost savings, according to the companies.
The energy router can integrate solar photovoltaics (PV), battery storage, electric vehicle (EV) chargers, fuel cells and backup generators, without additional inverters. GridBlock technology enables bidirectional power flow on multiple ports or channels at the same time, bringing the flexibility and control of internet routers and switches to the electrical grid.
The routers can reduce infrastructure cost and space requirements by more than 65% compared with traditional hardware, according to the companies.
A single 500-kW GridBlock unit, for example, can be used in a system with EV chargers, solar and batteries, according to Endeavour. Without the energy router, the same system would typically need a medium voltage transformer, a distribution unit with an alternating current/direct current (AC/DC) inverter, DC chargers, a storage inverter and a PV inverter.
The modular GridBlock units control and blend power flows between sources and loads 18,000 times a second from 120 volts to 1,000 volts, according to Endeavour. A unit can support up to 16 DC or AC EV chargers, instantly switching to the voltage and output needed by each charger across multiple platforms at once. Multiple GridBlock units can “swarm” together to service multimegawatt EV truck loads and can interact with the truck’s charging system.
The routers are made in the US in partnership with Jabil, a manufacturing services company, and PowerSecure, a subsidiary of Southern Company. The technology was developed at the Georgia Tech Center for Distributed Energy (CDE) in coordination with utilities and licensed by Endeavour.
The technology was invented by CDE Director Deepak Divan, who said the aim in developing the energy inverter was to build a “flexible, robust and massively scalable” energy management solution for a grid that is becoming more diverse and dynamic.
Several team members involved in the project at the CDE now work with Endeavour’s GridBlock group to bring the technology to market, according to Divan. PowerSecure and Endeavour plan to market the GridBlock technology worldwide.
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