In 2014, Dr. Said Ahmed-Zaid, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Boise State, was awarded $60,000 by the Avista Corporation to develop a new electrical grid voltage-regulating device. Ongoing funding by the Avista Corporation made it possible for Ahmed-Zaid and his research team to investigate a novel concept, using Residential Static VAR Compensators (RSVCs) to regulate residential voltages on distribution feeders.
After publishing several papers with his research team (including research scientist John Stubban and ECE PhD students Andrés Valdepeña Delgado and Muhammad Kamran Latif) Ahmed-Zaid applied for a patent along with his doctoral student M. Kamran Latif in 2017. Latif graduated with his PhD in electrical and computer engineering from Boise State in December 2019 without seeing the patent approved. Finally, after six years of hard work, a patent for their Residential Static Var Compensator Apparatus and Method has been granted by the US patent and trademark office.
“We’ve developed a smart controllable device with the potential for lowering energy consumption, particularly during peak hours,” says Ahmed-Zaid. “It is estimated that this type of device will result in substantial energy and cost savings for a typical electric utility company and its customers.”
The team developed a novel smart-grid device that can regulate a residential load voltage using a fixed capacitor in shunt with a reactor controlled by two bi-directional switches. The two switches are turned on and off in a complementary manner using a pulse-width modulation (PWM) technique that allows the reactor to function as a continuously-variable inductor.
We’re grateful to generous industry partners like the Avista Corporation who help advance technology and science as they support the research of our faculty and students. To learn more about how you can collaborate with researchers in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, visit our website.