Modular Small Power Hybrid Systems Architecture - Energy Academic Group
Multipurpose, Scalable, Modular Small Power Hybrid Systems Architecture Analysis and Real-World Applications
By Josh Crosby
President/CTO, CatalystE, LLC
Director of Managed Power Products, Virideon
What is the ideal power system architecture? Large scale power systems are normally easy to define. There is the generation source (solar farm, generator farm, wind farm), distribution and metering, and optionally an energy storage component. The small power system (5W–500W) is a little different, mainly because size and weight are often the limiting factors in the design. This requires a more focused design intent to achieve the goal while maintaining the appropriate size, weight, and power. Typically, there are two models for small power systems.
The first model is normally defined as a single building block comprised of energy storage and built in bi-directional power conversion that can operate as an AC or DC source. This model allows for a single, multi-functional module that is scalable, allowing for the creation of configurations that meet multiple mission requirements.
The second model is defined as individual stand-alone modules comprised of power management, energy storage, and power conversion (i.e. 28VDC energy storage with solar charging for a DC load), or a modular stacked configuration to build a more capable system (i.e. 28VDC energy storage connected to a power manager and DC/AC inverter to provide silent capability for an AC load).
Either of these power architectures are valid and useful as long as the load and use period is taken into account first. To restate the initial question, “what is the ideal power system architecture?”, the answer is dependent on the user, mission, environment and use case. The real thought challenge is defining the 80% architecture solution.
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