FREEDM’s research extends from simulation to prototype development to lab testing to field deployment. Extensive power systems modeling capabilities include multiple RTDS, Opal RT, and Typhoon hardware in the loop simulators. The Center’s high bay lab offers a unique configuration for testing medium voltage equipment up to 15 kilovolts and 1 megawatt. The 40 kilowatt, rooftop PV array, outdoor equipment test pad, and vehicle charging stations are tied into the lab power system for easy addition as loads or sources. The high bay space is highly configurable and available to industry partners for confidentially evaluating their own equipment.
All research starts with simulation. Our faculty and students are adept at using multiphysics software to evaluate electrical, thermal and magnetic design impacts. In addition to traditional power system models of standard problems, we’re integrating results from multiple platforms to show the complete picture for real feeders on real grids. OpenDSS linked to CYME, RTDS linked to OPAL-RT and multiple connected FREEDM System grids? Done.
Power Electronics Packaging
Wide Band Gap semiconductors are opening new options for circuit design with higher voltages and higher switching frequencies. But these devices still require proper thermal management and electromagnetic isolation for optimal performance. We’re using 3D printing, UV curable resins, proprietary encapsulants and novel material combinations to design better packages for power electronics.
All this and more happens in our Lab for Packaging Research in Electronic Energy Systems (PREES) where we use a Hesse Mechatronics High Precision Programmable Wire Bonder and a Torch Pick-and-Place Machine.
Green Energy Hub
Housed in the Keystone Science Center on NCSU’s Centennial Campus, this 12 kV loop rated for 1 MW has five connection nodes for demonstrating the full FREEDM system. This high bay lab space currently houses multiple projects and research areas but can also accommodate commercial products for testing and evaluation with the FREEDM plug and play design. Our hub also connects 40 kW of rooftop photovoltaics with four electric vehicle charging stations and an outdoor pad for evaluating the full range of renewable energy technologies.
Real Time Digital Simulation
FREEDM has multiple real time simulators including OPAL RT, RTDS and Typhoon HIL and various switches and relays. Sample projects include microgrid controller development, resolving reactive power flow situations for the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, and simulating multi-terminal High Voltage DC systems using Modular Multilevel Converters.