Salat, S., Bourdic, L., Larsson, N. & Hovorka, F.

From Smart Grids to Synergy Grids

Proceedings of the World Sustainable Building Conference SB11 Helsinki, Finland.

The tree pattern is the model of classical energy (or flows in general) distribution: remote production in a big central unit and then hierarchical distribution down to the single house. The efficiency and resilience problem of this pattern is that lower (and even intermediary levels) in the hierarchy are entirely disconnected, which not only creates losses in the flows (and a peak approach because there is no possibility of local transfers) but it makes them entirely vulnerable to any damage and break in the upper levels of the hierarchy. The paper is intended to provide an overview of an opposite concept we call Synergy Grids. Synergy Grids concentrate on a neighbourhood scale and multiple systems, including supply, demand and optimization of thermal energy, potable and grey-water systems, local renewable and DC power systems within buildings. All of these systems will require optimization algorithms and systems and a new form of zone management to be successful. By using thermodynamics of systems far away from the equilibrium, the paper demonstrates that the optimal structure of a synergy grid is a scale free fractal structure, which maximises the efficiency and resilience of the grid.