Fukushima, Mexico and Slovenia: Free Electric Power Recordings for Researchers

May 20, 2011 - 12:00pm
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You can learn a lot of really interesting stuff by studying time-series recordings of electric power parameters, especially frequency, power, and power factor. Depending on the time scale of the recordings, you can detect everything from design flaws in electronic inverters to battery back-up time at remote nuclear power plants. This informal lunch-time discussion will use public data available from worldwide PQube power monitoring instruments, freely available at http://map.PQube.com , a resource for researchers who want minute-by-minute power quantity and power quality data in Excel format, recorded continuously at locations around the globe (including LBL Building 90). To see what kind of data is available, we’ll start by watching the Fukushima nuclear problem through a PQube that watches an outlet in an office building in Tokyo, and see how much we can learn about politics and human behavior and aftershocks, just by looking at recordings of the grid frequency over the last few weeks. Then we’ll check out the power consumption and disturbances at LBL Building 90 recorded by a PQube installed at the main electrical service. We’ll see everything from precursors of a transformer failure, to a surprising large base load that changes from week to week, to people holding the elevator door open. And we’ll watch the weather in Slovenia as it affects a 1 megawatt solar array, and see a design flaw in the array’s inverter – one that gets triggered by voltage sags. Researchers can also retrieve real-time second-by-second data from these worldwide PQubes; as an example, we’ll observe the precise second-by-second frequency match between LBL Building 90 and a PQube in Alberta, Canada, both of which are connected to the Western Grid. This seminar is available as a QuickTime recording, for viewing in-browser or downloading (74MB).

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