Center for GRid-Connected Advanced Power Electronic Systems (GRAPES)
Last Reviewed: 3/20/2020
The goal of the Center for GRid-Connected Advanced Power Electronic Systems (GRAPES) is to accelerate the adoption and insertion of power electronics into the electric power grid to improve system stability, flexibility, controllability, robustness, and economy. GRAPES focuses on improving power electronics technology and integrating it with the needs of industry to enhance the reliability, efficiency, and security of the electric power grid.
The electric power industry is of critical importance to the economy and security of the United States, as well as people’s quality of life. Nearly everything that people depend on in modern society requires a highly reliable supply of electricity. Without electric power, the mechanics and infrastructure of society stop — literally — and these interruptions have severe economic and societal consequences. The strength of the national power infrastructure is threatened by aging equipment; century-old legacy designs; lack of integration of the generation, transmission, distribution, and utilization aspects of electrical power; and terrorism, both physical and cyber. The demand for electrical energy is increasing, while political and environmental pressures are forcing adoption of new distributed generation resources, such as wind, solar, and tidal, that do not fit well into the traditional architecture of the electric power grid. The country’s ability to predict the behavior of the system, and thus to control it, is becoming increasingly more challenged. The application of advanced control mechanisms embedded in power electronics is critical to improving the performance and operation of future power grid infrastructure, which is one focus area of GRAPES research.
GRAPES is performing cutting-edge research to:
- Develop new technologies for advanced power electronic systems in the areas supporting grid-connected distributed energy resources, power delivery networks, and intelligent end-use devices.
- Develop the software and tools for controlling embedded and interconnected power electronics to benefit the power grid, as well as controlled loads.
- Educate the next generation of engineers who understand the power electronic and control technologies important to the member companies.
- University of Arkansas
- University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
GRAPES research concentrates on the design, development, evaluation, control, and standardization of grid-connected power electronics equipment, on both the supply and demand sides of power systems. Relevant research areas include:
- Design tools for power electronics and packaging.
- Power electronics devices, characterization, and modeling.
- Power electronic packaging for medium-voltage applications.
- Power electronic circuits for low- and medium-voltage applications including driver and protection circuits.
- Simulation methods and environments for multidisciplinary dynamic systems.
GRAPES researchers approach their work through a “device-to-grid” methodology. Faculty and student researchers work in four general areas:
- Demand-side management.
- Distributed energy resource management.
- Power electronic modules.
- Power flow control.