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Leading edge power electronics systems and instrumentation design and manufacturer, Bear Instruments on 25 September, announced that it is part of a consortium to deliver an affordable, reliable and clean energy microgrid for Vietnamese agriculture farms

BIThis project is sustainable in not only producing low carbon energy, but also using pollutants from other industries. (Image source: Bear Instruments)

Bear Instruments is delivering the prototype microgrid to include the gas turbine, solar array, second life EV battery for storage and a grid tied connection. This includes modelling of batteries, evaluating state of health and state of charge along with development of the micro grid hardware itself.

The company is developing power electronic energy conversion (DC/DC converters, AC/DC rectifiers, and DC/AC inverters) for optimum microgrid performance. Many existing AC-networked microgrids, in this application space, with solar PV and battery storage are high cost with low efficiency.

The payback period in the Vietnam PV power plant industry is 10-14 years and secondary life batteries for energy storage which are quite new in Vietnam, are still not mature in more developed countries. Combining these factors with very expensive biogas treatment in Vietnam means development of a clean, affordable microgrid. This is would be of great importance to rural families, who are generally low income and lack the resources to pay the upfront costs.

Moreover, developing a cost effective treatment process for the raw biogas, based on bentonite, a waste material which is readily available from local mines is another key technical challenge. This is expected to reduce this cost by 20%. The innovations work for both islanded mode and on-grid application, particularly for communities with off-grid/unreliable power systems. They also work for second life batteries as energy storage solutions.

This project is sustainable in not only producing low carbon energy, but also using pollutants from other industries. Methane from farming is also a much more reliable energy source than other solutions and has potential for wider application in other developing countries.

Along with Bear Instruments, the consortium led by Khoa Dang Hoang at the University of Huddersfield, includes Allgreen Energy, who have strong expertise in project management and building business models within the renewable energy sector; and Hochiminh City University, with its chemical process engineering lab focusing on biogas treatment.

“The project will provide a cost-effective and reliable microgrid system for local agriculture farms as well as solving the environmental issue causing farm waste. The solution can scale up for any farm sizing,” said Hoang. 

George Huang of Allgreenergy added, “Building quality power converters and inverters for a clean microgrid is a significant milestone to achieve environmentally friendly power generation. This innovative project has huge potential globally and the key is electronics. We want current and future generations to have equal access to renewable energy while living on a thriving and sustainable planet, and this will help achieve that.”

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