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DURIP Grant will Enhance Microgrid Laboratory

John Herbst, Program Manager at the University of Texas Center for Electromechanics (UT-CEM), has been awarded a $271,394 grant from the Office of Naval Research under the 2013 Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP). 

This Flexible Power Conversion System grant to will fund the procurement of one PowerModule PM3000 Developer Kit, six PM3000 Converters, three circuit breakers and a water cooling system.  The power conversion equipment is manufactured by American Superconductor and will be installed in the UT-CEM Microgrid Laboratory at The University of Texas’ J.J. Pickle Research Campus in Austin, Texas.

The PM3000 power conversion modules can be quickly configured to perform multiple power conversion functions including dc-dc, ac-dc, ac-ac, and dc-ac and will enable the emulation of rectifiers, inverters, energy storage devices and renewable energy resources.  The new power conversion equipment represents a significant enhancement of the Microgrid Laboratory’s capabilities and will enable the UT-CEM megawatt-level microgrid to more effectively emulate shipboard and forward operating base power systems. This procurement will support ongoing ONR-funded electric power system architecture and microgrid research projects


MP4 version of the Microgrid video can be viewed here.

WMV version of the Microgrid video can be viewed here.

DURIP Grant will Enhance Trapped Field Magnet (TFM) Laboratory

Jon Hahne, a member of the senior engineering staff at the University of Texas Center for Electromechanics (UT-CEM), has been awarded a $66,809 grant from the Office of Naval Research under the 2013 Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP).  The grant for the cryogenic cooler and vacuum system for UT-CEM TFM Laboratory will fund the procurement of a cryocooler refrigeration unit and cold head assembly as well as a high vacuum turbo pumping station along with a vacuum leak detection system. The cryocooler and cold head assembly is manufactured by Cryomech Inc. which a recognized leader in providing cryogenic equipment for research and manufacturing processes.  The vacuum hardware, turbo pumping station and leak detection system, are manufactured by Pfieffer Vacuum Inc. The refrigeration unit, model # CP950, and cold head, model # AL200, will provide cryogenic cooling down to 50K with up to 104 watts of heat removal at that temperature.  The turbo pumping station, model HiCube 300, will provide vacuum capabilities down to 10E-6 Torr range.  The HLT 560 Smart Test Helium Leak detector works with several leak detection gases both in the vacuum mode as well as the sniffer mode.

The cryocooler refrigeration unit provides a much more versatile and reliable cryogenic cooling method for studying trapped field magnets and their activation performance.  Previous TFM testing at UT-CEM was limited to research at LN2 temperatures of 77K.  This new hardware will allow TFM testing over a range of cryogenic temperatures to study TFM performance as a function of temperature.  The level of trapped field in a TFM device is very sensitive to the cryogenic temperature at activation and the method of activation utilized for energizing the TFM.  The vast majority of TFM research in the past has focused on single TFM activation and trapped field performance; however, for TFM technology to impact emerging machine designs, their performance in large groups or arrays must be evaluated and understood.  The potential promise of TFM technology is to effectively and reliably achieve higher magnetic fields in many of today’s applications that utilize wound field coils or permanent magnets.  Operating at the higher field strengths of TFM devices potentially allows for significant improvements in performance and power density.  Reaching and maintaining cryogenic temperatures in the 50 to 80 Kelvin range and below for a either single TFMs or TFM arrays requires vacuum isolation to minimize heat transfer to the test hardware.  The vacuum pump and leak detection hardware will be crucial in achieving these high vacuum levels required to provide proper thermal isolation during the TFM research studies.

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