Date of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

William J. Hutzel

Committee Member 1

Aaron Adams

Committee Member 2

Christopher Foreman


Thirty-one percent of annual energy consumption in the United States occurs within the industrial sector, where manufacturing processes account for the largest amount of energy consumption and carbon emissions. For this reason, energy efficiency in manufacturing facilities is increasingly important for reducing operating costs and improving profits. Using microgrids to generate local sustainable power should reduce energy consumption from the main utility grid along with energy costs and carbon emissions. Also, microgrids have the potential to serve as reliable energy generators in international locations where the utility grid is often unstable.

For this research, a manufacturing process that had approximately 20 kW of peak demand was matched with a solar photovoltaic array that had a peak output of approximately 3 KW. An innovative Demand-Side Management (DSM) strategy was developed to manage the process loads as part of this smart microgrid system. The DSM algorithm managed the intermittent nature of the microgrid and the instantaneous demand of the manufacturing process. The control algorithm required three input signals; one from the microgrid indicating the availability of renewable energy, another from the manufacturing process indicating energy use as a percent of peak production, and historical data for renewable sources and facility demand. Based on these inputs the algorithm had three modes of operation: normal (business as usual), curtailment (shutting off non-critical loads), and energy storage.

The results show that a real-time management of a manufacturing process with a microgrid will reduce electrical consumption and peak demand. The renewable energy system for this research was rated to provide up to 13% of the total manufacturing capacity. With actively managing the process loads with the DSM program alone, electrical consumption from the utility grid was reduced by 17% on average. An additional 24% reduction was accomplished when the microgrid and DSM program was enabled together, resulting in a total reduction of 37%. On average, peak demand was reduced by 6%, but due to the intermittency of the renewable source and the billing structure for peak demand, only a 1% reduction was obtained. During a billing period, it only takes one day when solar irradiance is poor to affect the demand reduction capabilities. To achieve further demand reduction, energy storage should be introduced and integrated.