The EECS department’s growing capability in renewable energies and smart grid is significantly boosted by acquiring a smart grid emulator test bench system from Lucas-Nülle, complete with solar and wind generation emulation capabilities. The shift from fossil fuel power generation to renewable energy continues to gain momentum. Today, technology has evolved to a point where solar energy, wind power, hydrogen fuel and biomass can be exploited as environmentally friendly energy sources. Well-qualified engineers are being sought after in Kansas and nationally to keep this trend moving forward. Nonetheless, renewable energy technologies are undergoing rapid change. This trend is being compounded by rising expectations in training and education. The acquired test bench from Lucas-Nülle provides the appropriate training needed to cope with the growing complexity of power systems research and education.
The EECS department has created a new laboratory with five new workstations using this test bench to support hands-on projects such as maximum power point tracking for wind and solar generators, grid integration, fault ride through, manually-operated and automatic synchronization circuits as well as automatic power factor control and power control. This provides EECS and the KU School of Engineering with the opportunity to deliver a unique educational experience for students interested in careers in electric energy production, transmission, distribution and utilization. Experiments with this test bench have already been integrated into the EECS department’s power and energy course offerings taught by Reza Ahmadi, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, who has expertise in power systems engineering.