Stanford University

ERE Seminar: Anatoly Zlotnik, PhD, Los Alamos National Laboratory — Resilient Coordination of Electricity and Natural Gas Transmission Operations

Room 104, Green Earth Sciences Building, 367 Panama Street, Stanford
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ERE Seminar: Anatoly Zlotnik, PhD, Los Alamos National Laboratory — Resilient…
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Energy Resources Engineering

Resilient Coordination of Electricity and Natural Gas Transmission Operations

Anatoly Zlotnik, PhD
Staff Scientist, Theoretical Division | Los Alamos National Laboratory


The primary sources of electricity generation in the United States are shifting towards distributed renewables and natural gas-fired power plants. The latter are used in intra-day power system operations to provide base load as well as flexibility to balance the intermittency and fluctuation of renewable generation. Gas pipeline systems must now support quickly-changing deliveries and high volumes for which they were not designed, and the increase in overall load often causes these systems to reach their capacity. This status quo creates challenges to gas pipeline operation, high gas price volatility, and even curtailments of gas and/or electricity delivery to customers. Addressing these issues using control and optimization technology will improve the efficiency, security, and resilience of energy delivery networks.

Daily and real-time decisions about power grid operations are aided using optimization-based auction markets, in which Lagrange multipliers of optimal power flow solutions are used to compute locational marginal prices for wholesale electricity. Inspired by how engineering economics are applied to decision-making for the power grid, coordination between gas pipeline and power grid operations is envisioned as an exchange of limited economic and physical information between real-time market-based mechanisms. A proposed basis for generating locational trade values for natural gas is a constrained optimal control problem for gas flow scheduling that accounts for compressible flows through large-scale pipeline networks with time-varying injections, withdrawals, and control actions of compressors and regulators. The objective is to maximize economic welfare for pipeline system users by transporting gas from locations with low price to users bidding the highest price, while meeting all physical and engineering constraints under transient conditions, and thus guaranteeing secure operations and system integrity. Dual variables provide spatiotemporal marginal prices for gas throughout the network in a manner that is consistent with the physics of gas flow. The concept may lead to automated and reliable intra-day pipeline market and physical operations under transient and uncertain conditions and enable coordination to support power grids when both these systems are operating near their capacity.

Dr. Zlotnik is a staff scientist in the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he was previously a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Nonlinear Studies. He has led and contributed to energy systems modeling and analysis projects for the U.S. DOE, DOD, and DHS. He is author or co-author of 35 peer-reviewed journal and international conference publications on optimal control techniques and applications to energy systems, neural engineering, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Prior to joining LANL in 2014, he obtained a PhD in systems science and mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis, M.S. in applied mathematics from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and B.S. and M.S. degrees in systems and control engineering from Case Western Reserve University. His research interests are in dynamical systems, optimal control, nonlinear oscillations, network science, and scientific computing, with applications to energy systems and neural engineering.

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