SmartGridComm 2014
Conference paper

DC Picogrids as power backups for office buildings

View publication


Office buildings in developing countries employ battery backups with inverters and/or diesel generators to power essential loads such as lighting, air conditioning and computing loads during power cuts. Since these backup solutions are expensive and inefficient, they form a significant proportion of the operating expenses. To address this problem, we propose using a personal comfort system (an illustrative configuration can comprise a LED light and a DC desk fan) that is powered by batteries in computing devices. With this approach, cost savings are realized through two mechanisms, (i) by reducing the dependence on high-power lighting and air conditioning during times of power outage, and (ii) by charging the batteries at optimal times, taking advantage of the variable cost of power supply. Simulations show that the expected energy savings from this methodology are in the region of 26%, compared with the current system. In this paper, we present various architectures for the load-battery combination, a dynamic programming based framework that generates optimal charging/discharging schedules, and an experimental evaluation of the proposed approach.