Communication systems for smart grid applications

The creation of a smart grid is an essential goal of European energy policy. The energy distribution network is becoming increasingly decentralized through the integration of numerous energy producers and novel energy storage systems. The result is a dense network consisting of small and large energy suppliers. However, the high proportion of variable energy supply in terms of time and place requires a distribution network that can react very dynamically to fluctuations in electricity demand.

The use of robust communication technology is a basic requirement of the Smart Grid. The simultaneous use of the energy supply network for information transmission is particularly attractive due to its extensive penetration.

The aim of the project is to further develop powerline communication on the low-voltage grid. Complex interference, a strong and selective signal attenuation as well as high temporal and local dependency make the power supply network a challenging transmission medium. Based on realistic modelling and precise analyses of the transmission channel, interference-resistant communication methods are developed. For the design, novel, intelligent signal processing methods are used, which enable information transmission while continuously considering the channel properties. A flexible Software Defined Radio Framework is used for the development of prototypes. Additionally, specialized algorithms are integrated on a system-on-chip FPGA/ARM platform. The validation of the implemented methods is done by measurements on emulated channels and in real networks.