Simulation software optimizes networks

Apr 05, 2012

By the year 2020, thousands of kilometers of new grids will be operating in Germany to permit even more extensive use of power from renewable sources. However, these new "smart grids" also come with increased complexity, costs and vulnerability. Fraunhofer researchers developed new software that can be used to analyze and optimize transport grids for electricity, gas and water even at the planning stage, based on numerical simulations.

Almost every winter, news about reduced gas deliveries from Siberia to Europe makes the headlines. Regardless of the political reasons for a shortage, operating pipelines in severe winters is very challenging. Because if the gas in the pipes cools off too sharply, it partly liquefies and can no longer flow as swiftly. To maintain the temperature of the gases within a certain range consistently, a complex system of compressors, pre-heaters, coolers and other elements is needed. Systems operators constantly monitor the condition of their pipelines and plan ahead for reactions to potential temperature and .

This new , called MYNTS (Multiphysical Network Simulation Framework), helps with the operation and planning of such complex networks, and was jointly developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing SCAI and the team under mathematics professor Dr. Caren Tischendorf of the University of Cologne. The program models the transport grids as systems of differential-algebraic equations. Thus through , the grids can be flexibly analyzed and better planned. Specifically, the simulation immediately demonstrates the effects of changes in various factors. Using MYNTS, for example, one can calculate how alter the flow measurements, or how the failure of subnetworks influences the other grid components.

Flexible planning of gas, power and water grids

"Regardless of dealing with transport systems for gas, power, water or , their simulation always traces back to the same numerical core," explains department head Dr. Tanja Clees. Nonetheless, because each field of application also has its unique features, specialized versions of the software are available for various utilities. With MYNTS for simulation of gas transport systems, for example, a user can set up and control his or her own subnetworks or add compressor stations and mixing chambers. In order to accelerate simulation computations, the software runs on computers with multiple processors.

This software is also of interest for smart grids, construction of which over the next few years is being promoted by the German government. Because intelligent networking and controlling of electricity producers, storage facilities, electricity consumers and network resources within supply networks are considered to be among the greatest economic and environmental technology challenges.

For example: if bulk consumers could be controlled more efficiently, and power supply adjusted to match demand at different times, then consumption peaks could be capped, and the consumption of electric energy equalized to supply. Such bulk consumers include water companies. One study shows that in industrialized nations, roughly three percent of the total electrical power consumed is used by water companies – specifically for pumps. Intelligent control of the network would have major economic potential: even minor incremental savings make a major contribution that benefits the environment.

Clees and her team have already been able to prove the successful utilization of MYNTS in several research projects; now the first commercial projects begin. Negotiations for licensing of the software are currently under way with companies in various industries.

Explore further: People stick with favorites in sea of mobile apps

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Smart software for self-regulating smart grid

May 24, 2011

Siemens and the utility company Allgauer Uberlandwerk (AUW) in the city of Kempten, Germany, are testing the smart grids of the future. The tests focus on optimized power distribution and the use of a self-organizing ...

Siemens makes US acquisition in smart grid sector

Dec 05, 2011

German engineering giant Siemens said Monday it has agreed to buy eMeter, a US-based data management specialist, in a bid to enhance its position in the field of so-called smart grids.

'Thinking machines' will run future power grids

Oct 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Plans to develop the "smart" grid - a system that uses intelligent computer networks to manage electric power - cannot succeed without the creation of new "thinking machines" that can learn ...

A power grid on a chip

Jun 09, 2011

Presented during the EPFL Middle East research days, a device only 4mm thick can manage an urban power grid a thousand times faster than currently possible.

Recommended for you

Does your computer know how you're feeling?

15 hours ago

Researchers in Bangladesh have designed a computer program that can accurately recognize users' emotional states as much as 87% of the time, depending on the emotion.

Microsoft to unveil new Windows software

Aug 21, 2014

A news report out Thursday indicated that Microsoft is poised to give the world a glimpse at a new-generation computer operating system that will succeed Windows 8.

Unlocking the potential of simulation software

Aug 21, 2014

With a method known as finite element analysis (FEA), engineers can generate 3-D digital models of large structures to simulate how they'll fare under stress, vibrations, heat, and other real-world conditions.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Maliseil
1 / 5 (1) Apr 05, 2012