Explore the labs and facilities of the Power, Energy and Control Engineering discipline.

Grid Robustness and Energy Efficient Networks (GREEN) and Power Quality Laboratory

Due to the global demand for energy saving and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, utilisation of renewable energy sources and efficient loads based on power electronics technology is increased in electricity networks. The negative aspects of this technology are very complex and not well known which affects the reliability and robustness of the grids.

Our research team have access to advanced tools and lab facilities for a better understanding of power quality issues of the residential, commercial and industrial distribution networks.

We have been investigating and developing novel techniques to improve power quality and reliability of the grids, harmonics emission and immunity levels. In our advanced lab, we are able to perform power quality and grid robustness modelling, analysis and tests covering harmonics and supra harmonics (0-170 kHz) for distribution systems and microgrids with high penetration of power electronics converters.

We also investigate the energy efficiency of grids and grid-connected equipment with respect to international and national regulations and standardisations.

Our research group have access to state of the art power quality equipment, power electronics design platforms with Wide Band Gap converters, Multi-physics simulation platform and a micro-grid simulator.

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Grid Connected Solar Inverters – solar facilities at St Lucia, Gatton and Warwick campuses

Supported by a $1.5 million Queensland Government grant in 2010, UQ initially installed a 1.2 MW solar photovoltaic system on four of its St Lucia buildings.

The Gatton Solar Research Facility (GSRF) was commissioned in March 2015 as part of the Education Investment Fund (EIF) Research Infrastructure Project attached to the AGL Solar PV Plant Project (159 MW at Nyngan and Broken Hill in NSW).

The University of Queensland is set to become the first major university in the world to offset 100 per cent of its electricity usage through its own renewable energy asset. UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the University would become energy neutral by 2020 with the establishment of a $125 million solar farm to offset its annual electricity needs. “The 64 megawatt (MW) solar farm located just outside of Warwick, on Queensland’s Southern Downs, will provide research, teaching and engagement opportunities in addition to its environmental and financial benefits,” Professor Høj said.

The proposed solar farm will generate about 154,000 megawatt hours of clean energy each year – enough to power 27,000 average homes – more than offsetting UQ’s current and projected future annual electricity usage.

Professor Høj said the Warwick solar farm would offer a range of further research and teaching opportunities. It will leverage UQ’s existing clean energy strengths and provide the potential to venture into emerging research and industry partnerships. UQ has more than seven years of experience managing large-scale solar PV assets of almost 50,000 solar panels at campuses in Brisbane and Gatton.

Visit the UQ Solar website to learn more.

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Industry 4.0 Energy Test Lab at UQ

Following the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce adoption of the ‘Industry 4.0 Testlabs strategic initiative’, in cooperation with the German Platform Industry 4.0, six Universities around Australia have been selected for the National Industry 4.0 Testlab pilot program.

UQ's Industry 4.0 Energy TestLab focuses on Green and Smart Energy – an IoT enabled digital manifestation of the entire electricity network portfolio for energy management, power system analysis, and sector specific cyber security.

The Testlab serves as a point of engagement between SMEs and researchers to enable knowledge transfer and collaboration to facilitate in-depth power and energy system research, research cyber resilience, and create engaging and deeply realistic teaching and learning experience for students.

The Testlab integrates key technologies and expertise of electrical and mechanical engineering, big data, cyber security, design innovation, human-computer interaction, software programming, economics and policy design to UQ’s current strong focus in multi-disciplinary energy research.

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Intelligent Plant Diagnostics and High Voltage Laboratory

A well-equipped insulation diagnostics laboratory, which is very actively used for insulation degradation and over-stress measurements. This lab includes a lightning impulse voltage generator, single and multiple impulse current generators, 300kV AC transformer system, Recovery Voltage and Polarisation / Depolarisation current measurement system, frequency domain dielectric spectroscopy equipment with HV variable frequency power supply, Partial Discharge Measurement System, thermal imaging camera and Frequency Response Analyser.

Intelligent Plant Diagnostic laboratory has a special accelerated ageing experimental facility at Long Pocket. This laboratory is suitable for long term ageing experiments under controlled moisture and temperature for transformers and other insulation materials.

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Machines Laboratory

machines laboratoryUQ has developed the Machines Laboratory as an online laboratory – in which real laboratory experiments can be accessed through the Internet using the MIT’s iLab environment.

This laboratory has a number of conventional laboratory experiments (Transformer & AC circuits) and a number of online machines experiments (AC, DC and Synchronous machines) using iLabs, which can be shared across university or across the world. The iLabs vision is to share expensive equipment and educational materials associated with lab experiments as broadly as possible within higher education and beyond. This is the only online machines laboratory in the country and is jointly funded by the Australian Power Institute and The University of Queensland.

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Power Electronics and Pulsed Power Laboratory

Power electronics refers to control and conversion of electrical power - from milliwatts to hundreds of megawatts - using semiconductor power devices operating based on Pulse Width Modulation strategy. It is a great advantage to develop ultra-fast power converters based on Wide Band Gap (WBG) switching devices but it is also challenging to develop, design and optimise a compact high power converter due to reliability, Electromagnetic Interferences and packaging issues of the whole system.

The decreasing price of WBG semiconductor devices offers an opportunity to revolutionise the next generation of energy conversion systems such as in motor drives and solar inverters. WBG switching devices can be utilised in Pulsed Power converters to generate high frequency, high voltage and nanosecond pulsed power.

Our research team have access to high-end pulsed power technology with adjustable high voltage nanosecond pulsed power generators with different energy capacities, WBG Power Converters for grid-connected inverters including dSPACE controller and high-frequency pulsed generators for ultrasound systems.

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Power Systems Simulation Laboratory

The power system simulation laboratory (PSS-L) has analytical software tools to simulate, plan, design and control complex interconnected power systems with state of the art solutions.

The analytical tools available at PSS-L can solve power system problems in wide range of time frames, from micro seconds to steady state and study impact of renewable energy integration, Custom Power devices, etc. Some of the software tools available at the PSS-L are listed below. 

  1. PSS/E
  2. DSAT tools
  3. PowerWorld
  4. DigSILENT Power Factory

Apart from the above tools, the powerful sever located at the PSS-L carries a number of test power systems, both at transmission and distribution level typically used for research in Power, Energy and Control Engineering Systems.

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Renewable Energy Laboratory

renewable energy laboratoryThe renewable energy laboratory was developed with funding from AGL Solar Flagship Education Infrastructure Fund.

The lab is equipped with modern renewable energy research facilities including:

  1. Two real-time digital simulator racks
  2. Power amplifiers
  3. Solar emulator
  5. Battery storage
  6. Battery simulator
  7. Wind turbine control setup (With dSPACE)
  8. Most commercial power systems analytical tools
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The Australasian Transformer Innovation Centre

Transformer innovation centreAustralia’s Leading Transformer Research Centre: Filling Australia’s critical need for Transformer Innovation and Education. Collaborative initiative by Australia’s Transformer experts from research and industry. Over $1 million jointly committed and being invested to establish the centre including:

  • Wilson Transformer Company donated natural ester oil filled research transformer
  • Dynamic Ratings state-of-the-art on-line condition monitoring system
  • Reinhausen’s latest generation tap changers and education
  • University of Queensland new Long Pocket Transformer Laboratory
  • Collaborative effort by UQ, QUT, UNSW and Griffith researchers

The research programme is designed to create innovations that meet the evolving needs of industry including:

  • Decreasing the risk of transformer failure during normal and contingency events
  • Reducing maintenance costs and extending life with improved condition monitoring
  • Investigating improved operation, performance and risks with natural esters oil
  • Increasing transformer utilisation and working transformers smarter
  • Investigating effects of renewable generation on transformer life and cyclic rating

The new centre offers innovation and CPD programmes purpose built for the industry’s future needs and delivered by acclaimed transformer experts.

The programmes bring a total focus on best practice asset management and high performance. Member organisations will reap the benefits of this focus through reduced costs, increased asset performance, reliability and asset management breakthroughs.

Basic transformer courses will include transformer theory and applications, procurement, design, operation, maintenance and condition monitoring techniques. Advanced courses will include transformer ageing, failure analysis, specifying for requirements, dynamic loading, and condition based maintenance. Courses will be delivered by transformer experts from universities, transformer manufacturers and transmission and distribution companies.

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The Centre for Energy Data Innovation (CEDI)

The Centre for Energy Data Innovation (CEDI) is a research enterprise created in partnership between The University of Queensland and Luceo (a Redback Technologies Company) and launched with funding from Advance Queensland. The centre is industry driven, addressing energy sector challenges using network big data to conduct analytics in the field of power and energy systems.

Key areas of focus include network management and network intelligence using big data and visualisation of large energy data sets for network operators and consumers.

The Centre research demonstrates the Schools commitment to multi-disciplinary research collaboration, incorporating researchers in data science, electrical engineering and interaction design. This work will contribute to the creation of data led solutions that enable an effective transition to the grid of the future.

The Centre is working closely with Luceo, Energy Queensland and Springfield City Group.

More than 20,000 data sensors, installed on the Energy Queensland Low Voltage network provide near-real time feedback from a wide range of network feeder architectures, feeder demand profiles and consumer types.

Almost 30 million data sets are received into the Luceo cloud-based data platform daily, providing our researchers with abundant information to drive our research.

Postdocs and HDR students from data science, electrical engineering and interaction design work with the software engineers at Luceo and network engineers at Energy Queensland to unlock new insights from neighbourhood grids.

Network management

Utilising data to improve the efficiency of asset management will speed up response times to outages and unsafe network conditions as well as improve power quality and reliability.

Network intelligence

Improving understanding of low voltage networks will assist in optimising network planning, maintenance and replacement programs.

Network visualisation

Assist network professionals to utilise big data as they transition to the future grid and work with consumers to provide them with better representations of their energy environment.

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