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:
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:
GRAPES researchers approach their work through a "device-to-grid" methodology. Faculty and student researchers work in four general areas: