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First international research cooperation / researchers optimise power line communication systems

Application-oriented research and development projects are a strong focus of Hochschule Ruhr West, University of Applied Sciences. Great importance is attached to cooperation with companies from the region and the surrounding area of Mülheim an der Ruhr and Bottrop.
Now, for the first time, a research agreement has been concluded with a Chinese partner, China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI). As part of this research project, visiting scientist Hongjian Gao will be joining the Institute of Computer Science at HRW (Bottrop) in October for two years.

To meet the growing demand on a reliable and cost effective communications network over the MV/LV distribution network for smart grid application, based on new concept, CEPRI has launched a R&D project to research key technologies of a new generation smart grid PLC System concept. that can offer reliable communications and meet soft real-time requirements of various smart grid services. In this project CEPRI has chosen HRW as a cooperation partner to jointly work on several topics.

At the HRW Institute of Computer Science, Prof. Gerd Bumiller and his team are currently working on developing a new generation of power line communication systems (PLC) for smart grid applications. In other words, making the transmission of data necessary for intelligent power grids possible via the power grid itself. Up until now, the fast transmission of data via power line has primarily taken place within buildings. Neither the reliability nor the range achieved with this technology are good enough for automation of the grid. With smart metering, other PLC systems are also used. Take, for example, the project Mülheim zählt (“Mülheim counts”) from RWE. The required ranges are achieved here, however the data rates and reaction times of the system fall short of the requirements for high-quality automation tasks in the power grid. HRW is currently carrying out research at its base in Bottrop, exploring exactly what technology is required to close this gap.
Collaboration with the Chinese will ensure the results are quickly incorporated into the definition and standardisation of the technology for the Chinese market. Based on this, the results are also to be incorporated into an international standardisation of the technology. The cooperation between Hochschule Ruhr West, under the management of Prof. Gerd Bumiller, and CEPRI, initially planned for a two-year period, is focussing on developing a new generation of power line communication (PLC) systems. The scientists are primarily concerned with the research and development of key technologies for increasing reliability, accessibility and real-time capability. The new system is intended for a broad range of smart grid applications, including real-time and security-relevant applications, on the power distribution network at medium- and low-voltage levels.

“China is one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world. And Germany is China’s biggest European trade partner, which presents enormous potential for my research fields of power line communication and smart grids. I am delighted that we have been given this opportunity to work together with our Chinese partner on new solutions for a better utilisation of smart grids. Through this direct partnership, we can maintain the necessary level of expertise for continued successful access to the Chinese market, with the potential to develop an international standard,” explains Dr.-Ing. Gerd Bumiller, Professor of Energy and Information Technology at Hochschule Ruhr West.

“Smart grids represent one of the most important industrial sectors in China this century and reliable PLC technology will significantly contribute to their quick design and distribution. We are looking forward to collaborating with Hochschule Ruhr West in this field. The expertise of both partners will set an important foundation for the success of our joint research endeavours,” says Dr Weilin Liu, Project Manager at CEPRI.

Hongjian Gao, visting scientist from Beijing, explains: “I see my participation in this research project as a superb opportunity. On the one hand, I am able to contribute towards developing key technologies for the Chinese market in the area of power line communication and, on the other, everything that I am learning at Hochschule Ruhr West, as well as the overall international experience, is of great personal and professional value.”

“I am very pleased that Hochschule Ruhr West has been able to continually increase its research activities over the past three years since its foundation and to have now reached the stage that we are receiving research assignments from international partners,” concludes Prof. Jörg Himmel, Vice President for Research and Transfer at Hochschule Ruhr West.
About CEPRI:
CEPRI, established in 1951, is a comprehensive, multi-discipline research institute, and is active in R&D and standardisation in bulk power grid analysis & control, high voltage, power grid automation, power electronics, power grid construction, electrical measurement, renewable energy, power distribution & utilization, information and communication technology, etc. By Sept. 2012, CEPRI had 2093 permanent employees, over 84% of whom have professional degrees. CEPRI is directly affiliated to the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC).
About Hochschule Ruhr West
Hochschule Ruhr West (HRW) is a state university with sites in the Ruhr cities of Mülheim an der Ruhr and Bottrop. Our main focus is on the areas of Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Science and Commerce. We currently offer Bachelor degree programmes for the following subjects: Applied Informatics, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Business Administration – Industrial Service Management, Business Administration – International Trade Management & Logistics, Energy and Water Management, Energy Informatics, International Business – Emerging Markets, Mechatronics, Man-Machine Interaction, Industrial Engineering – Energy Systems, Industrial Engineering – Mechanical Engineering, as well as Business Information Technology. Most of the Bachelor degree courses can also be taken as part of a dual study programme. We also offer Master degree programmes in Technical System Modelling and Business Economics.

Heike Lücking | idw
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