ABB is to provide a control solution for a UK university microgrid integrating a combined heat and power (CHP) plant, diesel generation, a solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, an energy storage facility and a load bank.

The microgrid at the University of Chester will be part of a new Energy Centre, opened in March and designed as a demonstration environment for new energy technologies. It will serve the Thornton Science Park, a 90,000 square metre research and innovation hub for energy, engineering and advanced manufacturing.

ABB will provide the overall control system that will act as the ‘brain’ of the microgrid, enabling the integration and optimum deployment of multiple energy sources and storage units connected to the same local power network.  The company said it aims to demonstrate how distributed energy resources can work together to minimize fuel costs and emissions within a closed grid.

The control system will also manage the Energy Centre’s connection to the local grid, which ABB said will show the microgrid’s capability to connect or disconnect seamlessly from its main grid connection and operate in an islanded mode.

Professor Joe Howe, executive director and professor at the Thornton Energy Research Institute, said: “The Energy Centre has been created to demonstrate and promote the development of the latest technologies. The microgrid control and storage solution is a particularly exciting development that provides a platform for learning and is a great example of industry and academia working together to address real-world issues.”