Florida State University’s Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS) has unveiled a 24,000-V DC power test system, which will enable CAPS to evaluate electrical equipment in real-world conditions. In addition, companies will be able to test their next-generation power equipment at the Tallahassee-based facility.
“It’s a very long and expensive process for companies to do this at the electrical grid,” said Ferenc Bogdan, senior engineer and associate in research at CAPS, via Newswise. “We can now do all of that cheaper and faster here.”
FSU founded CAPS 14 years ago as a collaborative research center where scientists could develop smart energy systems for the nation’s power and defense needs. CAPS pioneered the power hardware in the loop (PHIL) test-facility model, in which a simulated electrical environment virtually exchanges power with real hardware under test. PHIL is the power version of the hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) test technique that finds use in applications ranging from automotive to software-defined radio.
According to CAPS, the PHIL model has now been replicated at other institutions, including Clemson University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The system consists of four 6-kV 1.25-MW converters that can be connected in series or parallel configurations. ABB Inc. built the system to CAPS specs.
“This is the first time anyone has strung together four individual converters of this magnitude and operated them in a safe and controlled manner,” said Michael “Mischa” Steurer, senior research faculty and leader of the Power Systems Research Group at CAPS.
Government research institutions, including the Office of Naval Research (ONR), have committed to using the new facility at CAPS for testing and system investigation projects.
CAPS said it is a long-term contractor with the Navy, which is working to develop an all-electric ship.
CAPS said its researchers are also collaborating with Virginia Tech on a project for ONR to evaluate the performance of an electrical impedance measurement unit (IMU) developed by Virginia Tech and to be shipped to CAPS for testing.
The Navy has also committed funding to study design and performance of fault-current-limited medium-voltage direct-current (MVDC) systems and other operational aspects of MVDC systems.