EC’s DCC+G (DC Components + Grid) Project at the Green Building Power Forum

September 18, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

Opening the Green Building Power Forum tracks of papers at last week’s Darnell’s Energy Summit in Richardson, Texas, Mark Murrill, Director of Marketing with Emerson Network Power (Systems) presented a paper on “Overview of DCC+G (DC Components + Grid) Project sponsored by the European Union – Objectives and Progress to Date.” This is a particularly interesting dc microgrid project that is using a ““two-phase” 380-Vdc power grid architecture to power the most significant loads in commercial buildings, lighting, air conditioning, and refrigerating systems.

The DCC+G project is being driven forward by the European Commission’s target of 2021 for ‘nearly net-zero energy buildings’ in new construction. According to the EC: The ac main utility grid does not completely match to today’s electronic (dc) loads and dc distribution offers simpler control of multiple sources, easier integration of renewable power, and higher efficiency end to end for dc loads. The initial test beds are aiming for at least a 5% overall efficiency improvement compared with today’s ac-based architectures.

With a total budget of 18M €, the DCC+G project is running on a 3-year timeline that started in April 2012. It includes 13 world-class partners from 5 countries (including 5 industry partners, 5 SME partners, and 3 research institutes). The major industry partners include Emerson Climate Technologies, Emerson Network Power, Infineon Technologies, Philips and Siemens.

Lower-power loads connected to a single 380Vdc bus while larger loads connect to the +/- 380Vdc bus. Grounding will be typical IEC TN-S system. Example of commercial buildings being targeted include; Supermarkets, large office buildings, and airports. The key objective of the project is to design and validate an energy-efficient building, with an integrated 380-Vdc energy distribution system including innovative and highly-efficient semiconductor power technologies.

Two primary goals of the project include; Infrastructure component design (sensors, switches, IGBTs, and so on) and Subsystem design for 380-Vdc grid in test bed installations. Many new technologies are expected to be developed to advance the application of 380-Vdc applied in commercial buildings. The DCC+G project expects to have two test beds operational starting August, 2014, with a final report publically available in 2015.