Seminar: Prabir Barooah

“A Statistical Characterization of Capacity of Virtual Batteries from Flexible Loads”
Thursday, April 9 @ 1:00 pm
Meeting ID: 387 651 881


As renewable energy sources—particularly solar and wind—are providing an increasing share of our electricity needs, their intermittent nature is making it challenging for power grids worldwide to maintain reliability. Relying on batteries alone will be expensive. An alternative is “virtual energy storage” from flexible loads. The power consumption of loads such as air conditioners and water heaters can be varied around their baseline consumption without affecting their quality of service. This variation is analogous to the charging and discharging of a battery. Loads equipped with such intelligence have the potential to provide the equivalent of a giant and inexpensive battery.

One of the key questions is: what is the capacity of a virtual battery made up of a collection of flexible loads? Prior work has sought to answer this question by characterizing the set of all demand deviation signals. In this talk we describe an alternate approach using power spectral densities. This framework has several advantages over the time domain approach of earlier work. First, it is less conservative and gives a more accurate characterization of capacity. Second, it can provide answers in kW/kWh. Third, it is useful for long term resource planning for power grids. Numerical results to illustrate the method will be provided.


Dr. Prabir Barooah is a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Florida, where he has been since 2007. He is currently a University of Florida Term Professor. He received the Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2007 from the University of California, Santa Barbara. From 1999 to 2002 he was a research engineer at United Technologies Research Center, East Hartford, CT. He received the M. S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 1999 and the B. Tech. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1996. Dr. Barooah is the winner of Endeavour Executive Fellowship (2016) from the Australian Government, ASEE-SE (American Society of Engineering Education, South East Section) outstanding researcher award (2012), NSF CAREER award (2010), General Chairs’ Recognition Award for Interactive papers at the 48th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (2009), best paper award at the 2nd Int. Conf. on Intelligent Sensing and Information Processing (2005), and NASA group achievement award (2003).