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Startup spotlight: Switched Source Transformerless UPFC

There is a critical need to modernize the way electricity is generated and delivered from suppliers to customers. The current system is highly vulnerable to disruptions from equipment failure, natural disasters, and attacks; it is susceptible to costly power outages and brownouts; and it does not efficiently integrate renewable energy into the grid.
Switched Source LLC, a MSU startup and recent $1.5M ARPA-E grant recipent has launched the technology to change the current system.
Developed by MSU Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering Professor Dr. Fang Peng, Switched Source’s unified power flow controller (UPFC) technology cost-effectively integrates more renewable electricity into the existing power grid. It enhances the grid’s efficiency and reliability, improving its resiliency to possible disruptions, generating potential cost savings of up to 40 percent.
The UPFC eliminates the need for separate and expensive transformers and transition lines. The innovative controller manages power flows from renewable energy systems more effectively, assimilating more renewable energy into the grid than current transformer-based controllers.
Supported in part by multiple awards from the U.S. Department of Emergy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), this technology was licensed from MSU by Switched Source in 2017 and is currently promoting the technology around the United States.
This company is one of the suite of six startups lauched at MSU in the 2016-2017 year.