The University of St. Thomas (UST) will install a 0.25 MW peak, multipurpose microgrid at their St. Paul campus and establish an Engineering Senior Design Clinic to provide a platform for power systems engineering education for undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Engineering. The microgrid will integrate 50 kW of photovoltaic capacity, 10 kW of wind emulation capacity, 100 to 200 kW of biodiesel capacity, and 50 kW to 100 kWh of battery storage capacity. The facility will also provide a platform that would allow installation and testing of other Distributed Renewable Resources (DERs) such as fuel cell and flow batteries or other technologies under development. A K-12 educational curriculum will be developed in conjunction with Minnesota State educational standards for renewable energy, which will integrate live remote access to the facility across Minnesota.
Program Implementation - Inception Stage
UST has to engage companies that will provide the various microgrid components. Primary components include the storage subsystem, switch gears, electrical installation, Energy Management System (EMS), inverters for the photovoltaic system, gensets, and SiC wide band-gap inverter switches. Preliminary modeling shows that it is possible to control an inverter so that it operates in a manner that emulates the performance of a synchronous generator. This has significant implications pertaining to the design and operation of the system. Prototype control and switch-gear for the intelligent switching function of the research microgrid has been defined and the selection is under review.
Construction and installation of the microgrid components will proceed on the Facilities and Design Center and gymnasium on the UST campus.
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