Florida State University guys get to play with 24,000-vdc power test system

Posted in: Report on January 24th, 2015

fsuCAPS Power Systems Research Group. Photo credit: Bill Lax/Florida State University.

Florida State University’s Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS) has unveiled a new 24,000-volt direct current power test system, claiming it is the most powerful of its kind available at a university research centre in the world.

With a capacity of 5MW, the new system will give CAPS the ability to test electrical equipment in real-world conditions, says FSU, and companies looking to build next-generation power equipment will be able to test those in the Tallahassee-based facility.

“It’s a very long and expensive process for companies to do this at the electrical grid,” said Ferenc Bogdan, senior engineer and associate in research at CAPS. “We can now do all of that cheaper and faster here.”

To create the system, CAPS put together four individual 6kV, 1.25MW converters that can be arranged in any combination—in series or parallel—to form a flexible test bed for medium-voltage direct current (MVDC) system investigations. The MVDC system was built by ABB Inc. based on CAPS’ specs.

“This is the first time anyone has strung together four individual converters of this magnitude and operated them in a safe and controlled manner,” said Michael Steurer, senior research faculty and leader of the Power Systems Research Group at CAPS.