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College of Engineering and Computing


Power and Energy Systems

Research Laboratories

Design Tools Lab - Dr. Roger Dougal

 Our research focuses on creating collaborative multi-disciplinary design and simulation tools for complex systems. The early-stage concept design tool for naval systems, S3D, is based on our Virtual Test Bed software infrastructure. Our computing facilities include a wide variety of desktop systems suitable for code authoring, compilation, and software execution. Our group leases commercial cloud computing facilities when needed, and we have access to several computer clusters each 100’s of cores in size for computationally intensive research.

Power Electronics Lab - Dr. Enrico Santi

Our research addresses the design, control, and performance of switching power converters and their constituent components. We use the power electronics lab for fabrication and testing of switching power converters and for testing multi-converter control techniques. We also perform power semiconductor device characterization and physics-based modeling to better understand power converter performance and to facilitate improved converter design, with particular emphasis on wide bandgap devices using silicon carbide and gallium nitride semiconductor materials.

Energy Routing Lab - Dr. Herb Ginn

Our research is concerned with the design, development, evaluation, and control of energy routing methods and electronic devices to improve power system quality and reliability. The lab is equipped with multiple Power Electronics Building Blocks (PEBBs) which are configured as multipurpose bi-directional power converters. These converters are used to build larger systems, including configurations that recycle the power within the laboratory, permitting operation at higher powers than would otherwise be possible with the installed capacity.

Integrated Grids Lab - Dr. Andrea Benigni

Our research looks at future power systems as integrations of energy and information infrastructures. Our lab provides a holistic real time simulation infrastructure that supports multi-physics simulation and communication network simulation, allowing testing of innovative solutions for grid control under quite realistic conditions. While our activity focuses mainly on distribution grids, the developed infrastructure can also support study of transmission grids and micro-grids, home energy systems or naval applications.

 

Associated Consortia

ESRDC - Electric Ship Research and Development Consortium - Dr. Roger Dougal - Site Director

Our research is developing new multidisciplinary tools and methods for designing revolutionary naval and marine systems that manage impulsive power and energy demands by applying dc power technologies at tens of kilovolts and tens-to-hundreds of megawatts. Our Smart Ship System Design software builds on the solid foundation of our Virtual Test Bed simulator for multidisciplinary dynamic systems. In power systems, our research addresses methods and technologies for measuring and controlling power system stability, for reducing the size, weight, and cost of electronically-mediated power systems, for designing survivable power architectures, and for developing design criteria for integrated electrical, mechanical, and thermal ship systems.  Finally, our research is developing novel methods and technologies for control of autonomous electric power systems, for real time system-wide management of energy and stability, for intelligent controllers that can function with incomplete and uncertain information, for real-time estimation of system state, and for control of ~100MJ/second transients.

GRAPES - Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Grid-Connected Power Electronic Systems - Dr. Roger Dougal - Site Director

Our research looks for new ways to integrate power electronics into the electric grid so as to support realization of a Smarter Grid. Our research team includes faculty, staff, and students at both the University of South Carolina and at the University of Arkansas, and our research projects are supported by paid memberships of interested industrial organizations. Our Center’s industrial members help us to identify the most challenging, timely, and crucial technical advances that are needed to move the industry forward.

FEEDER – Foundations of Engineering Education for Distributed Energy Resources – Dr. Roger Dougal – Site Director

FEEDER is a Dept of Energy-funded initiative to produce more electric power engineers who are qualified to lead the coming revolution in electric grids. This revolution will be driven by increasingly cheaper and widely-distributed renewable energy resources such as photovoltaic solar cells and battery energy storage systems. Together with smart or controllable loads, these form a group called “distributed energy resources”. Smoothly integrating these resources into our existing electric grid presents many challenges. But together with our partner schools, we are developing new courses and programs that will produce the engineers ready to take on these challenges.