The Center for Electromechanics has a major research program to improve electric ship technology. Ship power systems are isolated microgrids with power levels ranging from less than 1 MW to approaching 100 MW. Reliability is crucial. The need for reliability means research needs in controls, particularly for protection and reconfiguration. It also places increasing emphasis on modeling to understand system dynamics so they can be controlled prior to major failures occurring. The modeling and controls must be combined with emerging technology to improve efficiency while reducing size and weight.
To carry out this research, the researchers take advantage of a megawatt-level microgrid incorporating controlled fault simulation equipment. This facility provides a test bed to validate power system models, test control strategies, evaluate approaches to fault management, and assess incipient stability problems due to close coupling of the loads to the power system.
This research is also being carried out with a team that is actively involved with assessing the use of renewable energy resources in terrestrial microgrids. This permits the cross fertilization of research into ship and land-based systems
The research efforts at UT focus on the following key areas:
• Computational efficiency for power system simulation
• Microgrid stability and efficiency
• Fault protection and isolation in microgrids
• Advanced motors and generators, including those using superconducting, advanced composite and/or nanotechnology-based components.
Design of complex systems using emerging collaborative cloud technology
Testing of system dynamics
Improved power electronic systems
System level thermal management
Dr. Robert Hebner