Microgrids need to have enough computing power to operate even if a facility is experiencing connectivity issues, says Joseph Gottlieb, CTO of Rhombus Energy. His company builds software to meet this need. “It’s a booming business,” he says in an interview with Elisa Wood, editor-in-chief of Microgrid Knowledge at Microgrid 2019.
Rhombus Energy, based in San Diego, builds microgrid components, including power converters and software that’s critical for operating microgrids.
Microgrid Knowledge’s Wood started a recent conversation with the company’s CTO by touching on edge computing — the Rhombus executive had a lot to say on the topic, and how it relates to microgrid computing power.
According to Gottlieb, it’s key to make sure the microgrid unit has enough power, so that if it loses communication with it’s operator or larger grid, it can still function as a microgrid in island mode.
“Edge computing is having the ability to have enough computing processing resources, like memory, storage, and computing power to be able to process microgrid functionality,” he explained.
The Rhombus exec even went so far as to call central communications systems “invalid” because they inherently have a single point of failure.
“…Your Amazon Alexa doesn’t work without connection to the cloud; a microgrid still has to be able to operate, no matter what connectivity it has,” Gottlieb said. “So Rhomus Energy puts enough computing power inside the units, so no matter what the environment is for that communication component, the units will still operate and still be able to get power.”
So, who is this type of redundancy particularly important for?
Military complexes, for one. A base has to perform no matter what the conditions, and it can’t rely solely on communication links. He also named hospitals, emergency operating centers and data centers, as well as “regular buildings that are starting to put more and more resiliency and redundancy and back-up power into their systems,” according to Gottlieb.
Listen to the full interview above.
Track microgrid news and trends as they emerge. Subscribe to the free Microgrid Knowledge newsletter.