Electrical power systems

This research group is concerned with the development of digital control of power electronics for distributed energy sources, hybrid vehicles and machines and drives. Research lead Dr Abusara has designed and prototyped a number of commercial products that include grid and parallel connected inverters, Microgrid, DC/DC convertors for hybrid vehicles and sensor-less dries for high speed magnet machines.

Group members

Facilities

This research group uses the Power Systems Laboratory.

Current projects

A microgrid is an aggregation of Distributed Generators (DG) and loads. It can work in island standalone mode or in parallel with the main grid. The overall system of a microgrid is shown in the figure below.

Microgrid systems are one of the main building blocks of future Smart Grid technology. Microgrid technology has been a subject for research during the last 10 years; however, there are still many technical challenges to be addressed in order to bring microgrid into full commercial use.

This work involves fundamental research into the controller of microgrid and its communication system in order to enhance robustness, reliability, and performance.

Conventional power electronic topologies used in DC/AC inverters have serious shortcomings when used to interface large (MW) solar PV farms to the grid. These shortcomings include using low frequency power switches, large and expensive filter components, and poor output power quality.

This project is concerned with investigating the use of alternative power electronic topologies and control systems to interface a sub 5MW solar PV farm to the grid. The aim of our research is to increase the power capability of the DC/AC grid connected inverter, improve efficiency, enhance reliability and reduce cost. Research is focused on two main areas: Converter Topology and Converter Control.

Research into the converter control system focuses on:

  1. improving power quality fed into the grid;
  2. improving the system robustness of the PV system to grid disturbance such as voltage sags;
  3. enhancing the system immunity to grid impedance variation and associated coupling between paralleled units;
  4. maximizing power extraction from the PV modules.