Building the energy systems of tomorrow

Professor Louis Dessaint’s team shortlisted for the Power Forward Challenge

Monday, March 11, 2019
nicolas mary et louis dessaint
Founder of WizGrid Nicolas Mary and Professor Louis Dessaint.

ÉTS is proud to announce that a Canadian and British consortium established by Louis Dessaint, Research Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at ÉTS, ranked among the recipients of a $100,000 grant awarded under the recently launched Canada-UK Power Forward Challenge.

Participating teams were on a tight deadline and had only two months to submit their request for funding under the Power Forward Challenge. They now have until March 15, 2019 to present a proposal. The grant money won by Louis Dessaint and his team will be used to develop this proposal. If they rank among the six winning teams, they will secure a $3 million (£1.8 million) grant, which will be awarded in August 2019. The grant will be used to start building the pilot project presented their proposal by December 2020.

This initiative is led by Natural Resources Canada and the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Its goal is to shape the power grids of tomorrow. According to the Power Forward Challenge website: "Millions of new devices such as electric vehicles (EVs), renewables like solar and wind power, batteries and smart devices will challenge the way we think about our energy grid." It goes without saying that our power grids are no longer used in the same way as when they were originally built. "We have to think differently," Professor Dessaint explains.

An international consortium

The consortium is composed of three main partners – WizGrid, ÉTS and the University of Manchester in the UK – and will be backed by Canadian industrial firms, including Ossiaco and Corinex Communications.

WizGrid is a young Montréal-based firm launched at the ÉTS incubator by Nicolas Mary, Professor Dessaint’s research assistant. The firm specializes in innovative, modular and predictive energy management systems for smart micro grids. These "smart" power distribution networks are run by computers in order to optimize the production, distribution and consumption of electricity.

ÉTS, the ideal testing ground

The goal of the project led by Professor Dessaint is to test, onsite at the ÉTS campus, a smart microgrid controller built by WizGrid. "With its vast campus and large variety of buildings (commercial, institutional, residential), ÉTS is the ideal place to test and demonstrate the proficiency, use and reliability of a smart electric microgrid that includes decentralized electricity production and energy storage systems, and to evaluate its impact on the electrical distribution grid" he explains.

From consumers to prosumers!

Microgrids are gaining more and more attention these days. Even Hydro-Québec, aware of citizen interest in producing their own energy, plans on installing a microgrid in Lac-Mégantic. "Every consumer, company and institution could install solar panels on their rooftops and generate power," he adds.

Louis Dessaint is convinced that a smart network made up of a series of microgrids would be a great way to generate affordable electricity. He estimates that his pilot project will save ÉTS approximately $50,000 per year in electricity costs. The microgrids could also be used to produce renewable energy on a large scale.

About the Power Forward Challenge

Emmanuelle Berthou
Service des communications, ÉTS
514 396-8427

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