Colorado State University

Electric Power Systems Laboratory

The Electric Power Systems Laboratory at Colorado State University’s Powerhouse Energy Institute ranks among the largest and most complete power research facilities in the world. Without the EPSL, the Smart Village Microgrid Laboratory and InteGrid Lab could not be possible.

 

Research and development at the laboratory include SmartGrid controls, microgrids, renewable and distributed generation, electrified transportation systems and waste energy recovery. Professors, research scientists and students work in concert with industrial partners to solve today’s most pressing power research issues.

The Smart Village Microgrid laboratory is being created at the InteGrid research facility, housed at the Powerhouse Energy Campus in the Electric Power Systems Laboratory. This new Smart Village Microgrid laboratory is focused on village power mini-grids and breakthrough distribution systems (including DC and intelligent distribution systems). To learn about this laboratory go to: energy.colostate.edu/p/svm-lab

 

The steam cycle lab is also located within the Electric Power Systems Laboratory. The natural gas fired steam power plant generates 18 kilowatts of electricity which is sufficient enough to power four to five average American homes. The plant runs on the Rankine thermodynamic cycle and converts the heat released by burning natural gas into electricity. 

In power research, size matters.  Too small … system dynamics are lost.  Too large … testing expense becomes unmanageable.  EPSL strikes this balance by emulating distribution systems at roughly 40:1 scale or approximately 1 MW.  Most system components are sized to be 25-80KW.

These components enable CSU researchers to work with utilities and others to test and simulate smart grid controls, microgrids, renewable and distributed generation, electrified transportation systems and waste energy recovery under a variety of conditions.

Size matters, but so do complexity and completeness.  EPSL can implement four separate distribution busses, decoupled by transformers, to emulate complex power systems.  Intrinsic to the lab’s construction is the ability to dynamically island and resynchronize to the grid. EPSL emulates all major distributed generation resources – wind, photovoltaic, micro turbines, electric vehicles – using a combination of inverter and spinning machine technologies. 

Equipment isn’t everything. EPSL also packs in a full suite of software: A utility-style SCADA system, a wide range of control protocols, power system simulators and full data acquisition.

Integrid is a cooperation with Spirae and others for developed world microgrid systems premier research facility for simulation and experimental work in microgrids, distribution systems, and power devices. The InteGrid has many islanded applications and has a 1,000kW bus capacity. 

For more information about the Integrid lab go to integridlab.com or www.spirae.com/integrid-lab.