Revolutionizing Electric Grid Operation

BSISeveral months ago, I completed an interview with Gilburt Chiang from Bigwood Systems Inc. (BSI) on technology that his father, Professor Hsiao-Dong Chiang, developed through several grants from the DOE and ARPA-e at BSI. BSI has been developing and implementing on-line applications for electrical control centers since 1995 and is considered a world-leader in this industry.  Gilburt asked me not to publish the results of the interview until they had field testing completed at various utilities and system operators.  Recently, he shared with me the latest test results. Below are excerpts of our interview along with the testing results.

Susan Neylon – Can you give me a summary of your technology?

Gilburt Chiang – To operate an electrical grid at the highest efficiency, electrical utilities and power market operators have been working on the Alternating Current Optimal Power Flow (ACOPF) problem for a very long time. A good solution to the ACOPF problem could potentially save tens of billions of dollars annually by optimizing the operation and controls of the electrical network. However, most electrical utilities have been using linear computer models for computing optimal power flow on the power grid because of the numerical and modeling complexities of ACOPF.  Prof. Chiang at Cornell has developed a non-linear model called Global Optimal Power Flow (G-OPF).  G-OPF is a commercial-ready package that integrates a portfolio of analytical tools to revolutionize electrical grid management.

Susan Neylon – What have been the results so far?

Gilburt Chiang –  We worked with a large-scale power network operator with over 16,000 buses in their system and G-OPF was found to reduce system power losses by 47% while improving voltage security by 97%.  We recently benchmarked our performance at several other independent system operators (ISOs) and found the following results were:

  • System load conditions were increased from base case load to the nose-point load (furthest point before system collapse)—increased from 176,266 MW to 192,601 MW
  • The production costs (without optimization) went from $905,560 to $1,121,337 (23.6% increase)
  • The production costs (with optimization) were $593,423 to $593,250 (0.029% increase) respectively
  • G-OPF was able to reduce the production costs by 34.59% for the base case loading condition and 47.08% for the nose-point loading condition while maintaining voltage stability.

Susan Neylon – How will you go to market?

Gilburt Chiang – Bigwood Systems Inc. has 5 US patents in optimization on this optimization technology so we are well protected.  We have worked with Hitachi, a large electrical product conglomerate, in implementing the optimization technology in the product, Open V-Q for enhancing available transfer capability in the grid. We are also seeking further opportunities to partner and develop this revolutionary optimization technology.

Susan Neylon – What is next?

Gilburt Chiang – My role at BSI is leading business development.  There are many problems in the world outside of electric grid optimization that could be solved with this approach.  We are seeking and exploring opportunities both inside and outside of the electrical power industry.  

Susan Neylon – What keeps you up at night?