Distributed, Intelligent Edge-Sensing for a Smarter Grid
Kulkarni, Shreyas Bhalchandra
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The electric grid is undergoing major transformations and developments resulting in unprecedented levels of volatility, uncertainty, and stress on grid infrastructure. Smart sensors and methods aiding in advanced visibility and situational awareness are key for tackling these issues. In this work, a decentralized architecture is proposed, where sensing, local computation and control capability are embedded in the edge devices, communicating with a set of trusted 'data mules' in a 'delay-tolerant' manner, while functioning autonomously. This system has been designed and implemented as an overall platform – called Global Asset Monitoring, Management and Analytics (GAMMA) Platform intended to provide the backbone for a global array of sensors and actuators. Further, as a building block for advanced current sensing solutions, a smart, low-cost ‘clip-on’ current sensor based on PCB-embedded Rogowski coil has been developed. The sensor hosts a novel signal conditioning stage allowing an 'auto-tuning' feature, resulting in a universal current sensor design for measuring a wide range of currents, including faults for smart grid applications. Finally, the research proposes a method to instrument and monitor key parameters for the most common electric utility asset – the pole-top distribution transformer. The work done in this research enables scalable, edge-intelligent sensing solutions for monitoring grid infrastructure, allowing utility operators to gain advanced visibility in an economical way.