Whether DC, V2G or V2P – alternative energy is the currency of the future

The use of alternative energy systems is growing at an unprecedented rate, no longer focused only on energy derived from renewable and/or sustainable sources, but also a growing number of sophisticated technologies for harnessing, storing, distributing, managing and using energy – from various sources. These include deploying information technology in order to manage electricity in new ways, as well as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-premises (V2P) systems for use with electric vehicle batteries.

Low-voltage direct-current (DC) distribution into micro- or nanogrids is another field of expansion. For example, solar PV systems generate DC, which may be stored locally with appropriate batteries or other systems. Distributing this DC directly to electrical appliances and electronics without the conversion to AC reduces the number of components that can fail and increases efficiency.

New technologies naturally also require new equipment, standards, code requirements and work practices to support the development of a safe and effective infrastructure. UL Energy & Industrial Systems has anticipated the needs of the industry, regulators and consumers with proactive development of dozens of new safety standards for the power generation, power distribution and components industries – standards vital to the successful development and deployment of new energy products, systems and solutions.

Read the full article “Alternative Energy: Opportunities and Challenges” published by NECplus

Ken Boyce, Principal Engineer Manager, UL Energy

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First UL certificate for Chinese wind turbine gearbox

As a further sign that wind power safety has come of age, the first certificate for a wind turbine gearbox was recently issued by UL to SANY Electric Co., Ltd. of China. While enhancing the competitive edge of SANY’s wind turbine components, the certificate also functions as a product safety “pass” to growing North American markets.

UL and SANY collaborated over a year to achieve full conformity of the SANY wind turbine gearbox to UL 6140 (Outline of Investigation for Wind Turbine Generating Systems) and UL 508 (Standard for Industrial Control Equipment). During that time, UL provided SANY with safety specifications consultation, technical support, conformity assessment, testing and auditing, as well as follow-up inspection services for its business processes, ranging from product design to component prototype selection. “We chose UL as our partner because of its mission for safety and its credibility,” says SANY General Manager Wu Jialiang.

Representing the world’s largest wind manufacturing base, Chinese OEMs are particularly interested in North American markets, where dramatic expansion is projected. By 2030, for instance, the U.S. Department of Energy aims for 20% of the nation’s electricity to be supplied through wind energy.

In the future, “expertise in U.S. safety standards for wind turbine and parts/components will be critical for companies,” says Weifang Zhou, Vice President of UL and President of UL Greater China. “SANY’s successful UL certification means that Chinese wind turbine manufacturers provide world-leading products. That is a key differentiator in world market competition.”

In addition to the SANY collaboration, UL China is nearing completion of a number of further wind power projects, including XEMC phase one consulting and the Golden Wind University Training program.

Johnson Zhang, Global Wind Strategy Lead, UL Energy & Industrial Systems

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UL expands services in swiftly expanding wind energy sector

Anticipating exceptional growth in the wind energy sector, UL has agreed to acquire DEWI, a leading global consultant and pioneer in wind energy measurement and testing services. The acquisition includes DEWI's 50.8% stake in DEWI-OCC, an accredited certifier of onshore and offshore wind facilities.

Headquartered at Wilhelmshaven, Germany, DEWI GmbH (Deutsches Windenergie Institut) was founded in 1990 by the State of Lower Saxony to support Germany's emerging wind energy industry. Since then, DEWI has expanded rapidly from a local research and development resource to become an international leader in measurement services, micro-siting, research and education, as well as technical and economic advisory services.

DEWI is accredited to EN ISO/IEC 17025 and MEASNET, and currently serves over 1,300 customers in 47 countries worldwide. "Lower Saxony had the vision to plant a seed and nurture an excellent, economically viable business in DEWI, and we're excited to be giving this extraordinary company a bigger pot in which to grow," says Gitte Schjotz, President of UL Europe and Latin America. "We are thrilled to be adding DEWI's high caliber people and industry-leading capabilities, and will dedicate our global reach, resources and trusted brand to building continued and lasting success."

Integrated into UL's Product Safety business unit, DEWI will continue to operate from its facilities in Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Brazil, China and Canada. Meanwhile, DEWI's performance and efficacy testing will join UL's Wind Energy Safety Certification Services to better address the evaluation needs of a global wind energy market that is expected to grow 67% by 2015.

Heike Thomas, Business Development Manager, Energy & Fueling Systems, UL Energy

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Listed inverters ensure a safe installation in PV or other power generation systems

Inverters are devices that change DC to AC power. Power sources such as solar and fuel cells which output DC power, or AC sources with DC power links such as wind and micro-turbines that output DC and feed into an AC grid, require an inverter specifically identified for each use.

The overall safety of a power generation system will hinge greatly on the correct installation of its inverter. Safety certification not only ensures the inverter will perform according to required specifications, but also that all essential information needed for installation is up to standard.

Inverters intended to be operated as an independent power source (stand-alone), or in parallel with a system to supply power to common loads (utility interactive), must generally meet the requirements of UL 1741. For both modes of operation, inverters need to be installed in accordance with national regulations, e.g. in the U.S., with the National Electrical Code (NEC).

All listed inverters are marked with information important for installation, such as output types (utility interactive, stand-alone, etc.), utility protective functions (anti-islanding, over/under voltage or frequency fluctuations), isolation present (transformer or transformerless), input and output power configuration (single-phase, three-phase, etc.), maximum over-current protection requirements, enclosure environmental rating, and maximum ambient operation temperature. All listed inverters are also required to be provided with comprehensive installation instructions.

UL provides testing and certification of inverters at dedicated laboratories throughout the world. Successfully listed inverters may be found in the UL Online Certifications Directory, under the product category Static Inverters, Converters and Accessories for use in Independent Power Systems (QIKH).

Heike Thomas, Business Development, UL Energy and Fueling Systems 

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Updated manual (IPRM) more clearly identifies recommended best practices for interoperability

As new standards are under development to support the seamless operation of devices and systems interacting in tomorrow’s grid, it is vital to ensure high quality assurance testing and test result consistency. The Interoperability Process Reference Manual (IPRM) fulfills this role by providing guidance to certification program scheme owners on best practices to promote product conformance and interoperability.

Version 2 of the IPRM has now been issued by the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), a body, including UL representation, that works to coordinate the identification of standards and specifications to support interoperability and security of products that may interact in a smart grid. IPRM version 2 is primarily a clarification of version 1. By separating explanatory material and specific recommendations, scheme owners will more readily be able to find and implement best practices.

For instance, the IPRM recommends that scheme owners provide feedback to standards setting (development) organizations on areas in which conformity and interoperability validation can be improved. Other recommendations include parameters to define specific use cases and test plans, coordination between testing laboratories to promote consistency, and that testing laboratories and certification bodies participating in a scheme be suitably accredited.

In response to growing concerns about cybersecurity, the IPRM also includes recommendations for coordinating cybersecurity and interoperability testing, e.g. in the exposure of design flaws or in the assessment of consistency between requirements and their implementation.

Download IPRM Version 2.0 here

Kent Donohue, Principal Engineer, Power Supplies & Battery Chargers, UL

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UL offers unique opportunity to Indian engineering students

A recent agreement between UL and IIT Gandhinagar (Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar) will bring eight student interns this May and June to UL’s headquarters in Northbrook, USA. The interns were selected via a campus-wide competition for innovative solar energy applications. The winning ideas include a small-scale solar water purifier, a PV-equipped bicycle, and a study lamp that Sunil Patidar, a 3rd year mechanical engineering student, says “could be used through the night.”

At UL, the students will further develop their ideas into workable models while testing performance, reliability, durability and safety. After returning from the internship, the students will continue their research using IIT’s own systems: a 10 kWp polycrystalline silicon system and a 10 kWp roof-top plant based on thin-film CIS technology – the only such system installed in the entire Asia-Pacific region.

R. A. Venkitachalam, Vice President & Managing Director, UL Emerging Markets

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Tradition of learning continues under UL Knowledge Services

UL has long provided specialized training and advisory services to customers in the energy industry – in the form of workshops, eLearning, personnel certifications and audits and assessments. These offerings, formerly from UL University, will continue under a new name: UL Knowledge Services.

With the aim of turning knowledge into tangible solutions for customers around the globe, UL Knowledge Services recently expanded the range of its offerings to include training and software in occupational health, wellness, and safety.

For more information on these offerings, including training dates, locations and pricing, or to request a quote for an advisory service, please visit www.ulknowledgeservices.com

Patrick Boyle, President, UL Knowledge Services

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UL Verification

UL is not only a global leader in product safety testing and certification but UL‘s involvement in commercial testing, inspection, and audit work is recognized and respected around the world as well.

Today, it is a constant challenge to find cost effective ways to test and inspect products without compromising quality. UL‘s Research & Development (R&D) Testing, Verification Testing, Inspection & Audit Services and our Retailer Services support manufacturing business operations from initial design through prototyping and into final production, while also enhancing retail supply chain quality management operations.

Read More at: UL Verification services

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UL Environment

UL Environment is a new source for independent green claims validation, product certification, advisory services and standards development. We‘re here to help manufacturers, their business customers and consumers alike get clarity on what may or may not be a sustainable product.

Read More at: www.ulenvironment.com

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