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ARIES: Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems

Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) is a new research platform that can match the complexity of the modern energy system and conduct integrated research to support the development of groundbreaking new energy technologies.

ARIES represents a substantial scale-up in experimentation capability from existing research platforms, allowing for research at the 20-MW level. The scale of the platform is amplified by a virtual emulation environment powered by NREL’s 8-petaflop supercomputer.

ARIES will make it possible to understand the impact and get the most value from the millions of new devices — such as electric vehicles, renewable generation, hydrogen, energy storage, and grid-interactive efficient buildings — that are being connected to the grid daily.

The scale of the platform will also make it possible to consider opportunities and risks with the growing interdependencies between the power system and other infrastructure like natural gas, transportation, water, and telecommunications.

Research Areas

ARIES unites research capabilities at multiple scales and across sectors to create a platform for understanding the full impact of energy systems integration. ARIES addresses the risks and opportunities of widescale integration across five research areas.

Energy Storage

ARIES connects multiple individual energy storage applications with a system-level perspective. The coupling of at-scale storage technologies — such as batteries + thermal, or batteries + hydrogen — will support essential steps toward validating energy system models and controls. As storage technologies graduate from the laboratory to the multimegawatt level, ARIES will help systems stay ahead of performance and interfacing challenges associated with scaling.

Power Electronics

The continued growth in power electronics is creating a new paradigm in power system operation. ARIES helps address the fundamental differences between power electronic-based equipment and traditional devices and the limits that must be overcome to enable higher levels of renewable generation. By integrating new power electronic technologies and system architectures, ARIES will support a future grid with resilient and flexible operation.

Hybrid Energy Systems

With future energy systems expected to incorporate millions of distributed energy assets, the ARIES research platform is uniquely able to reproduce the diverse time scales, physical scales, and technologies of these hybrid energy systems. ARIES introduces a near-real-world environment with high-fidelity, physics-based, real-time models that facilitate the connection between hundreds of real hardware devices and tens of millions of simulated devices. This research area will advance the foundational science for real-time optimization and control of large-scale energy systems.

Future Energy Infrastructure

ARIES supports the innovation necessary for next-generation energy infrastructure solutions. The future energy infrastructure research area concerns transmission and delivery networks for a variety of advanced fuel types and infrastructures, which undergird the power, transportation, buildings, and industrial sectors. ARIES will enable testing on grid designs that span microgrids up to high-voltage direct current transmission grids and on management and control systems that optimally integrate power delivery for diverse fuel and technology types.

Cybersecurity

ARIES helps close the system-level security gaps that emerge from distinct hardware and software becoming integrated. The ARIES platform involves visualization, monitoring, and data processing for ARIES research assets and the connections between them. By creating a digital twin of clusters of research hardware, ARIES has the ability to simulate and detect attacks on communications and control systems that are still evolving, with an effect of reducing overall vulnerabilities in energy systems.

Article courtesy of National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).


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