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03 August 2023

Interview with Marian Gallego and Sergio Saludes Rodil, CARTIF

Marian Gallego holds an MEng degree in Industrial Engineering from Valladolid University She joined CARTIF in 2000 where she works as a researcher and project manager. She’s currently involved in the Smart Grid Area inside CARTIF’s Energy Division She is currently coordinating the TALENT project, while she is involved in other initiatives at the national and international levels, dealing with the integration of renewable generation and the management of energy demand flexibility in smart grids She is author of several research papers and has contributed to national and international conferences and patents.

Dr. Sergio Saludes Rodil, MsC Physics 1998, PhD 2007 University of Valladolid. He joined Cartif in 1998. Since 2018, he has been in charge of the Smart Grid Area inside Cartif’s Energy Division. His research activity focuses on applications of machine learning to energy demand flexibility management. He has led several regional and national applied research projects and coordinated two projects funded by the European Commission. He has authored several research papers, contributions to national and international conferences and patents.

1. What is the role of your organisation in the TALENT project? What about your role?

CARTIF is the coordinator of the TALENT project, so in this sense, our main role is to follow the progress of the different Work Packages and tasks and to clarify doubts and help to solve problems whenever they arise, besides acting as an intermediate part between the consortium and the European Commission. But further to this, we are also involved in a number of technical tasks. We have collaborated in the development of management software for decentralised and hybridised energy systems, mainly with Siemens Gamesa and CyberGrid. Additionally, we have developed a digital twin for stationary batteries with the aim of maximising the battery useful life and performance. This digital twin has been integrated in CyberNoc, which is CyberGrid’s Virtual Power Plant, that has been used and integrated as part of the management software for decentralised and hybridised energy systems (DHEMS).

Sergio Saludes has been the technical coordinator and main contact point with the European Commission from the very beginning until the end of year 2022. From January 2023, Marian Gallego has taken over this role. But in CARTIF there’s a whole team providing support in the coordination of TALENT project, from the technical and administrative sides.

2. How do you see the cooperation between the project partners?

Cooperation among partners is critical in EU funded projects. Most tasks require contributions from several entities providing different expertise. In the case of TALENT this collaboration was crucial at the beginning of the project, to define the physical architecture for the three use cases (multi-homes, district and utility). The next step was to design and develop the power electronics for the three use cases, and this has been done by specific partners (University of Oviedo, Gamesa Electric and CEA), so quite in parallel during the central phase of the project. The batteries implementation by CEGASA required as well close collaboration with the partners in charge of the electronics design and implementation. Finally, cooperation was crucial again during the validation phase.  All in all, we have met very ambitious objectives thanks to the joint participation of the whole consortium.

3. What challenges have you met during the work with the TALENT project and how did you overcome them?

Actually, we have met very hard challenges, mostly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in the same way as with many other projects, unfortunately. In our case, we have suffered the consequences of disruptions in logistics networks, leading to big increases in delivery times and purchase prices of power electronics components. In the end, we needed to ask for a project extension of ten months to be able to properly finalise the project. Normally, time extensions due to the Covid-19 pandemic have been quite common, but ten months was a bit higher than commonly accepted by the EC. Fortunately, once it was properly justified, we got the EC approval and could continue with the work.

4. What do you like more about TALENT?

What we appreciate most about this project is the strong interest of the partners to achieve the committed objectives. Despite the difficulties, the whole consortium has been working hard, looking for alternatives when they were facing difficulties. In some cases, new designs have been required when specific components were not available in the market. This means lots of additional working hours and resources, not initially foreseen, but needed if the work is to be completed.

5. What applications and benefits are expected to be achieved at the end of the project?

The overall benefit that TALENT will bring is the increase of batteries penetration in the grid, thanks to a cost reduction in the power electronics of the batteries and to the developed management software for decentralised and hybridised energy systems (DHEMS).

The batteries are based on the iBatt concept, which allows modularity for different voltage levels. The multi-port converter, for multi-home applications at 800V, developed by the University of Oviedo, combines PV and storage. Then, the three-port power converter for hybrid PV and storage at 1.500 V is based on new generation of IGBT+FWD at 2.2 kV. This has been developed by Gamesa Electric and Mitsubishi Electric. The third development on the power electronics side is the high voltage DC/AC converter (3000 V) developed by CEA.

From the software side, our main development has been the management software for decentralised and hybridised energy systems (DHEMS), which can be offered as SaaS and could lead to cost decrement.

6. What is going to happen in the following months in your work?

We are in the very final stage of the project, finalising the last tasks and writing the last reports. After the finalisation of the project, by July 31st, we will have two months to prepare ourselves for the final review, where we will present all these results to the EC.

7. What positive impact did the project activities have in your organisation?

It was a great experience from the coordination point of view. Additionally, from the technical side, we could increase our knowledge on sustainable solutions for smart grids, especially in what concerns to energy management systems and electric storage. This will allow us to collaborate with and help nearby local companies to adopt efficient solutions, which is one of our roles as a research center.

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