News at the University of New Brunswick

UNB engineering students simulate plan for solar energy implementation using a Smart Grid Digital Twin

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Mar 1, 2021

Category: myUNB , UNB Fredericton

Four University of New Brunswick electrical engineering students are working on the viability of implementing more solar energy in Canada using a Smart Grid Digital Twin. This project will be a major step towards creating more large-scale renewable energy options in the province and reducing the country’s carbon footprint.

Students Josh Power, Liam Hogan, Braden Haley and Alex Everett, are working with mentors to collect data and design a digital twin, which is a software representation of an electrical infrastructure/distribution system where a solar farm could potentially be built.

By creating a digital replica of the solar farm, the team will be able to scan potential risks and mitigate them before the infrastructure is physically built.

“Digital twins are one of the most popular form of digital analysis right now,” says Liam. “This software gives us a window into the future of what potential risks might come up and allow us to avoid them without spending unnecessary money or time building the structure.”

“We are really proud of the work we did,” says Josh. “We designed our plan in a way that it can easily be reproduced and hopefully used in other places.”

Smart Grid is part of a research initiative developing new tools and technology to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The grid detects changes in local power usage to improve efficiency, reliability, quality and safety.

“At the beginning of the year, I didn’t know who was going to be in my group or what project I was going to have,” says Braden. “When Liam came to me with a project that was so impactful and of this magnitude, I was excited to be part of it”.

“The overall scope and raw impact of this project is what drew me to it the most,” says Alex. “At times it was not easy, but the highs are even higher when you finally get it working and can move forward.”

The students will be presenting their design at UNB’s annual Engineering Design Symposium on April 8, 2021, which will be held virtually through Zoom.

Media contact: Kathleen McLaughlin