DC power systems bring in a possibility of easier and more efficient integration to any local renewable DC generation & energy storage when compared to alternating current (AC) systems. Moreover, there are neither phase unbalances nor harmonic and synchronization problems, leading to higher availability. These facts have induced a fast increase in the use of DC systems in residential, commercial and industrial systems. It has practically become a standard in data centers and telecom central offices. ICT equipment, lighting, consumer electronics, white goods, hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) all utilize DC voltage.
Today, DC appliances and equipment/devices are available only for 5 V (USP), 12 V (HEV), 24 V (automation) and 48 V (telecommunication), but industry shows a trend in moving to higher DC voltages. Fig. 1 shows some demo demonstrations of 300-400V DC MicroGrids in the world.
The DC MicroGrid Laboratory is a world class research lab, with the following advantages:
- There is a strong trend in telecommunication and date center power supply industry in moving to higher DC voltages (300-400V) due to possibility of significant energy savings as well as technical applicability.
- Pioneer academic research laboratories in the world focusing on Low Voltage and Medium Voltage DC MGs.
- Inherited interconnection with areas such as power systems within the hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).
- PhD courses in DC power system.
- Focusing in new research topics for PhD students, such as LVDC power line communications, wireless communications, and stability analysis for systems burdened with constant power loads etc.
The DC MicroGrid Laboratory consists of several setups where each one of them will have following components:
- dSPACE systems
- DC/DC converters.
- Constant power electronic loads
- Multiterminal medium voltage connection
In every setup with several converters is going to be controlled through real-time platform dSPACE control desk. It is possible to develop various configurations to emulate the analyzed real system behavior:
- Parallel connection of converters to form a common low voltage and medium voltage DC bus.
- Cascaded operation to form several different voltage buses.
Collaboration with industrial companies through directed research of specific problems occurring in real facilities (PhD guests partially sponsored by company specialized in developing DC power supplies for remote telecommunication stations. Solution are developed for leading telecom service providers, and installed on several remote locations.