A load management system for fixed appliances in a safe DC RDP house
This dissertation represents the design and development of a load management system for fixed appliances in a safe direct current (DC) Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) house. A combination of valley filling, load shifting and peak clipping load management techniques were employed to assist in reducing the peaks observed in the RDP house load profile during peak hours. A DC RDP house laboratory model was developed. The study is based on the assumption that the normally 220 V alternative current (AC) grid is replaced by a 350 V DC grid. The assumption is thus that 350 V DC is available at the distribution box in the RDP house laboratory model. All theoretical work was based on a 350 V DC system, but due to the lack of a laboratory 350 V DC supply, all physical tests were conducted by making use of a 300 V DC supply which was available. Consequently all calculations were thus based on 300 V DC as well. The geyser was the main fixed appliance focused on since it contributes to a significant portion of the power used. An AC geyser was successfully modified in order to be used in the DC network. Safety of the system was considered in order to interrupt the power in case of overcurrent or to isolate the power. Electronic switches were also developed and implemented to ensure that the DC power could be safely switched on and off and that the low power DC was isolated from the high power DC. LabVIEW allowed all other appliances in the DC RDP house to be virtually represented so that a holistic view of the power use of the house could be represented. This also allowed the system to be successfully simulated before any physical work was conducted. The load management system was successfully implemented by making use of power line communication. This proved to be a cost effective means to apply the load management algorithm. The algorithm consisted mainly of power on / off instructions that were executed during peak and off-peak times. It follows the normal use of timers used in the AC system to help reduce demand. It was found that the load management system successfully reduced the demand during peak hours without compromising the basic needs of the user. The power line communication modem proved to be very reliable in implementing the load management algorithm.