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Optimal Power Flow Algorithm

Technology #20160317

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Distribution NetworksDistributed Energy Resources
Sairaj Vijaykumar Dhople, PhD
Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
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Kevin Nickels
Technology Licensing Officer 612-625-7289
Patent Protection

Provisional Patent Application Filed
Optimal Power Flow Pursuit
IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, Emiliano Dall Anese ; Andrea Simonetto (27 May 2016; Volume PP, Issue 99); 10.1109/TSG.2016.2571982

Real-Time Distribution Network Optimization

A new algorithm solves the ubiquitous optimal power flow problem for distribution networks—in real-time. This method develops distributed feedback controllers that continuously drive inverter output powers to solve AC optimal power flow (OPF) problems. The controllers update power set points based on voltage measurements as well as given (time-varying) OPF targets, and implement solutions onto low-cost microcontrollers that accompany power electronics gateway and inverter interfaces. The design of the control framework is based on linear approximations of the AC power-flow equations as well as Lagrangian regularization methods, and it can bypass traditional hierarchical setups where feedback control and optimization operate at distinct time scales, thus enabling real-time optimization of distribution systems.

Solves Optimal Power Flow Problems

Power-quality and reliability problems typically arise when distributed energy resources are integrated in power distribution networks. In particular, as endogenous generation is integrated in distribution networks, voltage regulation and power losses can occur. Current methods focus on autonomous volt/var and/or volt/watt techniques that do not offer system-level optimality, while other approaches may reduce operational efficiency. This algorithm solves optimal power flow problems and is backed with theoretical guarantees while enabling low-complexity implementation.


  • Real-time optimization of distribution systems
  • Solves optimal power flow problems
  • Based on linear approximations of AC power-flow equations
  • Lagrangian regularization methods


  • Electric utilities that operate distribution networks
  • Manufacturers of inverters (photovoltaic systems and other distributed energy resources)
  • Distribution networks featuring inverter-interfaced distributed energy resources

Phase of Development - Proof of Concept