Engineering sustainable energy systems: how reactive and predictive homeostatic control can prepare electric power systems for environmental challenges
Cordova, Felisa M.
Kumar Sahoo, Sarat
Sustainable Hybrid Energy Systems
Nowadays electric power generation and distribution systems are being faced with a number of challenges and concerns which emanate not so much from a shortage of energy supply but from environmental and operational issues. They are required to respond to such challenges very rapidly and effectively so as to preserve stability and continuity of operations at any time, regardless of what may occur in the surroundings. This in fact is the true measure of what sustainable energy systems (SES) are all about, and homeostatic control (HC) of energy systems seeks just that: to enable energy systems to become highly efficient and effective very rapidly, by attaining a state of equilibrium between energy supply and energy expenditure in electric power systems (EPS) operation. To accomplish so they ought to imitate homeostasis mechanisms present in all living organisms. Ever since Cannon (1929, 1935) first introduced the concept, attention on homeostasis and its applications have been the sole patrimony of medicine and biology to find cures for diseases like diabetes and obesity. Nevertheless, homeostasis is rather an engineering concept in its very essence - even more so than in the natural sciences - and its application in the design and engineering of sustainable hybrid energy systems (SHES) is a reality. In this paper we present the groundwork that supports the theoretical model underlining the engineering of homeostasis in SHES. Homeostasis mechanisms are present in all living organisms, and thus are also applicable to EPS in order to enable and maintain a sustainable performance when EPS are linked to energy efficiency (EE) and thriftiness. In doing so, both reactive and predictive homeostasis play a substantive role in the engineering of such mechanisms. Reactive homeostasis (RH) is an immediate response of the SES to a homeostatic challenge such as energy deprivation, energy shortage or imbalance. RH entails feedback mechanisms that allow for reactive compensation, reestablishing homeostasis or efficient equilibrium in the system. Predictive homeostasis (PH), on the other hand, is a proactive mechanism which anticipates the events that are likely to occur, sending the right signals to the central controller, enabling SES to respond early and proactively to environmental challenges and concerns. The paper explores both concepts based on previous work in order to advance the research in the field of HC applied to electric power systems.