Xiongfei Wang is one the world’s most promising young energy scientists. He does research on how sustainable energy can be harnessed and distributed in a stabile energy distribution system.
Future energy provision will come increasingly from alternative energy sources like sun, wind, waves etc. Unlike energy from power plants that today are driven by fossile fuels, alternative energy sources come with a variety of challenges.
The sun only shines during the daytime and the wind varies all the time. This means that there will be a lot of fluctuations in the energy that enters the system. The infrastructure needs to be ready to cope with this – if not, we risk losing energy as well as falling short when we need a lot of it.
- It is all about securing a stabile electricity supply in the future, when energy production becomes increasingly sustainable, says Xiongfei Wang. Our electricity consumption is constantly rising, and it is extremely important that we are able to integrate the energy from alternative sources into our system.
- As an example, shortly there will be many more electric vehicles on the roads. This means that we will be needing more charging stations along the highways, but it is equally important that there is enough power available when the cars need charging, he says.
Goodbye to black energy
One of the main differences in the future electric grid infra structure according to Xiongfei Wang is that we are going to use power electronics converters in many more places to be able to control the electricity more efficiently.
Most of us are familiar with converters as a small box at the end of the cord that enables us to charge our cell phones by plugging them into the wall outlet, or to run other types of electronic gear. But the technology can be used in many other places than at the mouth of an electric socket.
We are spending a lot of time looking at how we can apply converters to secure a stable electricity supply throughout the electric power system, he explains. Instead of using generators to produce electricity like we have done for more than a hundred years, we can use converters to make usable electricity from the alternative energy that comes in instead.
34-year old Xiongfei Wang came to Aalborg University in 2009 from Harbin Institute of Technology, China, to do his Ph.D. Originally he was drawn by Denmark’s and Aalborg University’s international reputation on wind turbine technology, but he quickly became aware that more challenges are faced by the integration of large-scale wind power generations.
- The development in windmill technology is not sky rocketing anymore. It is maturing now, he says. Instead he chose to devote his time to future electric power systems based on renewable resources - focusing on how to reliably control and convert electric energy. Aalborg University is also among the world leaders in this field.
Xiongfei Wang was selected into the AAU Talent Management Program and recently received the prestigious IEEE PELS Richard M. Bass Outstanding Young Power Engineer Award for his research in stabilizing power systems based on power electronics technology.
Image text: Xiongfei Wang from the Department of Energy Technology at Aalborg University is among the world’s most promising researchers in integrating alternative energy sources into the power system. Photo by Jakob Brodersen.