The Electric Power Systems Lab at the University of Pittsburgh, sponsored in-kind by Eaton, is a multi-use facility for both research and educational activities. Located on the Swanson School of Engineering’s new Energy Floor in Benedum Hall, the lab provides opportunities for faculty and graduate students to perform advanced work in the areas of AC and DC micro-grids, smart grid technologies, power electronic devices and converters, renewable energy systems and integration, controls and communications, automation and relaying, distribution engineering, and other emerging electric power technology areas. The laboratory also enables education and the highest level, integrating new course developments in electric power engineering, focused on these same emerging technologies. 

The objectives of the EPSL are to:

  1. Educate: Power system issues, especially power quality problems, are difficult to understand – provide hands-on learning to supplement classroom theory
  2. Demonstrate: Full scale equipment and metering to allow students and researchers to thoroughly evaluate results of experimentation
  3. Demystify: Allows complex power systems, power quality and transient problems to be explored in detail
  4. R&D: Provides an environment for cutting edge electric power systems and technology research, prototyping, development, and demonstration
  5. Test: Evaluate and test equipment produced by the manufacturing community

These objectives are enabled through the use of industry and research level technology. Supplied by a 75 kVA feeder at 480V, the EPSL incorporates a diverse mix of generation, including photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, localized gas generation, and the traditional grid tie. Through variable system strength, these generation sources feed a variety of loads, centered on innovative laboratory workbenches combining passive and motor loads in a system with advanced metering and control. Capabilities for testing equipment in cases of voltage surges and sags are also incorporated.