Smart Electrical Engineering - Electrical Power, Power Electronics and Systems Research
Smart Electrical Engineering focuses on the sophisticated electrical engineering and power electronics practices that can provide a reliable renewable electricity network. Power electronics involves applying known principles related to solid state electronics to help convert and control electrical power. From its earliest applications in the form of mercury arc valves, today power electronics has emerged as a major player in so far as semi-conductor switching devices go.
Electricity is the universal currency of energy – it can be converted to and from mechanical motion, heat, and light and transmitted over great distances to be distributed to billions of appliances. Unfortunately there is a shortage of electricity “banks” that don’t charge exorbitant fees. This is due in large to the difficulty of storing electricity for long periods of time. Subsequently, the challenge is to interconnect many forms of renewable energy so that, on average, electricity is available anytime and anywhere – as we have always expected it to be.
Our Green-EE group is internationally renowned for power conversion technology, the invertors that connect renewable energy to the grid. In 2009, they hosted the Future Energy Challenge, a worldwide competition to design renewable energy systems. They also have more than 15 industry partners funding research on next-generation power transformers that use eco-friendly vegetable oils.
We are one of the few groups in the world to have a high-voltage laboratory with 1.6 megavolt impulse testing and 300kV AC testing facilities. We are using these to develop new methods of detecting impending faults in electrical switchyards.
Related Centres/Groups: the Archived site of the Centre for Power Transformer Monitoring, Diagnostics and Life Management (CPTM)