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Dr. Wallace Kenyon and encoord receive award to help change the future of renewable energy integration

Brandon Sisson


NSF SBIR Article Image (1)


encoord, through the lead of Power Systems Simulation Lead Dr. Wallace Kenyon, was selected in August of 2023 to receive Phase I of the America’s Seed Fund award created through the National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The NSF SBIR Phase I award provides $200 million annually to startups and small businesses in various scientific and technological fields for research and development aimed at advancing technology to drive broader commercial and societal impacts. encoord was awarded in the “Energy Technology” category, which contains 26 other companies also undertaking the difficult task of changing the future of energy.

The Challenge

Electricity systems are incredibly complex, vast, interconnected networks that span continents, comprising generators, transmission networks, and consumers. They continuously undergo fluctuations in energy supply and demand, which necessitates accurate modeling to assess the system stability throughout these numerous operating conditions.

A major challenge today involves accurately and efficiently assessing the stability of power grids with increasingly renewable energy sources, especially those that use inverters as a system interface. Existing simulation tools tend to be inefficient or inaccurate, as their design basis is changing with these inverter-based resources. The traditional model simplifications that bolstered computational feasibility are not applicable during certain operating conditions that are growing in duration and frequency, while other highly detailed modeling approaches are simply too computationally intensive for application to larger power systems.

encoord’s Approach

encoord is working to address these challenges through its Scenario Analysis for Energy Systems (SAInt) software platform. SAInt allows for diverse simulations, from long-term planning to real-time stability assessments, eliminating data exchange issues.

This project focuses on improving the most detailed and challenging part of power system simulations: subsecond-by-subsecond dynamic stability assessments. At this level of detail, every device on the power grid matters, and the computational costs are very high.

encoord is aiming to add the capability to handle dynamic simulations in SAInt, while keeping in mind the deficits and computational intensity of existing tools. This would be a significant advancement, as it will improve the stability assessment of power systems and enable a more effective integration of renewable energy sources.

This SBIR award involves three main areas of research:

  1. Adjusting the level of detail applicable to temporal/spatial regions of a model being simulated

  2. Intra-simulation determination of the boundaries for model reduction

  3. Seamless computational switching between the simulation modes.

The success will lead to a hybrid simulation platform, the first of its kind.

The Impact

The SBIR Phase I award provides funding to encoord, which will be used to develop and commercialize this new hybrid simulation tool. The tool will be designed to help power system operators worldwide assess their systems' stability, better integrate renewable energy sources, and ensure a reliable and secure electricity supply.

encoord will work on this project until August 2024, and during that time are eligible to apply for Phase II of the SBIR award, which would provide more funding over the course of two years.

Want to learn more about how SAInt can help integrate renewable energy? Contact Us

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