The R&D 100 Awards recognize new commercial products, technologies, and materials for their technological significance available for sale or license. They honor R&D pioneers and their revolutionary ideas and come together at an annual gala event to network and exchange their experiences. The awards are made through a competitive review process by considering technical significance, uniqueness, and usefulness relative to competing technologies.  

We are proud to share that one of this year’s R&D 100 Award winners was the Resilient Operation of Networked Microgrids (RONM) from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for the PowerModelsONM: Optimizing Operations of Networked Microgrids for Resilience software. Supported by the Office of Electricity’s Microgrid Program, this is an exciting innovation that is deserving of recognition on the national stage. 

The initiation of this project was motivated by the widespread recognition that modern society is critically dependent on large, integrated, engineered, and complex energy systems such as the electric power grid. Adverse events like extreme weather, fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes, are becoming more frequent and more intense which has led to an uptick in power grid disruptions and societal impacts. 

Under RONM, the PowerModelsONM software was developed to uniquely leverage how microgrid technologies, particularly microgrid networking, can improve resilience to extreme events on power grids. The software allows users to define resilience goals and predicted threats to distribution networks, evaluates candidate microgrid designs integrated with power system infrastructure, and tests simulation recovery scenarios supported by networked coordination of proposed and existing microgrids.  

Users receive a solution describing a plan for operating their microgrids to achieve maximal restoration of service under an extreme event. As part of the project, solutions of PowerModelsONM were validated using software simulation and Hardware-in-the-Loop evaluation platforms to demonstrate correct operation of these control schemes on data sets provided by utility partners. The PowerModelsONM is available as an open-source software package on GitHub and is deployed on www.omf.coop with a graphical user interface.  

RONM is a joint project that began in 2019 between LANL, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Associate (NRECA). Learn more about the PowerModelsONM in the video below:

There were many individuals that contributed to the creation of this exciting software. Specific innovators that deserve credit include: 

  • From LANL: Russell Bent, David Fobes, Arthur Barnes, Jose Tabarez, Harsha Nagarajan, Hassan Hijazi, Smitha Gopinath, Kshitij Girigoudar, Haoxiang Yang, Thabiso Mabote, Matthew Job, Zhen Fan 
  • From NREL: Annabelle Pratt, Rishabh Jain, Jay Sawant, Francisco Flores-Espino, Jiyu Wang, Kumaraguru Prabakar, Subhankar Ganguly, Soumya Tiwari, Tarek Elgindy 
  • From SNL: Matthew Reno, Trupal Patel, Daniel Kelly, Ronald Matthews, Adam Summers 
  • From NRECA: David Pinney. Ryan Mahoney, George Walker, Daniel Granberg 

Russell Bent of the Los Alamos National Laboratory contributed this blog post. He can be reached at rbent@lanl.gov.