Advances on CHP District Energy and Microgrids Development

Severe weather events challenge microgrids

July 27, 2021 /

Julia Chamon

 power grid

As communities continue to witness an increasing number of power outages due to extreme weather events adversely impacting our power grid, it has become apparent how important it is that critical infrastructure assets such as universities and hospital campuses have the tools available to identify options to improve power resilience. 

Driss Benhaddou, Ph.D., professor in the College of Technology at the University of Houston, gave a presentation illustrating how District Energy Systems (DES), with Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and CHP-based microgrids are found to be highly resilient to a variety of extreme weather events.  A project he is working on will simplify this complex and time-consuming process by developing an innovative and simple geographical information system (GIS)-based scenario tool for developing a quick feasibility analysis of a CHP-based DES or microgrid.

“There is a serious need for tools to identify options for improving power resilience,” stated Benhaddou. “DES with CHP can be used to design highly resilient microgrids.”

Benhaddou’s insightful seminar delved into how this project is different from previous experiments, discussed the components of the tool and its feasibility, as well as the system’s architecture. The results of the initial project were also shown and analyzed. Fundamental challenges that were faced during this experiment were also presented, giving viewers insight from the beginning of this project to where it stands now.

Benhaddou’s research includes the development of network-centric smart building, smart grids and smart cities. He has extensive experience developing event-driven modeling tools for network performance evaluation for scalable networks, and is currently spearheading the development of smart buildings as smart microgrids that integrate renewable energy at the University of Houston.

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