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Development of a Power Electronics Lab Course with Renewable Energy Applications

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Laboratory Exercises for Energy, Power, and Industrial Applications

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.456.1 - 25.456.14



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Paper Authors


David S. Ochs Kansas State University

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David S. Ochs received his bachelor's of science in electrical engineering from Kansas State University in 2010. He is currently pursuing a master's of science at Kansas State University. His research interests include power electronics and maximum power capture in wind energy systems.

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Ruth Douglas Miller Kansas State University

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Ruth Douglas Miller earned a B.S.E.E. from Lafayette College and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, both in electrical engineering, from the University of Rochester. She has taught at Kanssa State University for 21 years and is presently Associate Professor. She directs the Kansas Wind Applications Center and teaches wind and solar energy system design, as well as undergraduate classes in electronics, electromagnetics, and engineering ethics.

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DEVELOPMENT OF A POWER ELECTRONICS LAB COURSE WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY APPLICATIONSAbstract - The field of power electronics is experiencing rapid growth, due in large part togreater use of renewable energy in power systems. Educators have been paying attention to thistrend as evidenced by a number of publications on new power electronics courses at universitiesthroughout the world. This paper presents a unique laboratory class that will help to preparestudents to work with and design power electronics, specifically those applied to renewableenergy. This lab course is unique because students work directly with renewable energy systemsor models of them in every lab. A complete lab manual and solutions manual have been preparedfor a junior or senior level or graduate level lab course in power electronics; highlights of whichwill be presented. The manuals will be made available upon request. The labs are designed toteach the basics of power electronics while showcasing some of their applications to renewableenergy systems.The labs make use of power electronics equipment specifically designed for classroom settings,as well as small wind turbines and solar panels set up for bench testing. The equipment is wellprotected and allows students to focus most of their time on the overall design and performanceof power electronic circuits. As part of the course, students build and test circuits such aschoppers, single-phase and three-phase inverters and rectifiers, and filters. They also designelementary control systems to see how power electronics are used for control. Students completethree multi-week projects: a maximum power point tracker (MPPT) for a solar array, a sinusoidalpulse-width modulation controller, and a final project. The final project consists of a designchallenge to match a set of general requirements; the students must interpret the requirementsthemselves and complete their own design.The final project is developed along the same lines asthose in “project-based” lab classes that have been the subject of many recent publications. Thelabs have been integrated into an existing course on wind and solar engineering, with the goalthat they will eventually be the basis for a standalone undergraduate or graduate lab course onpower electronics. Feedback gathered from end-of-semester evaluations will be included in ourpaper and taken into account for future semesters.Lab OutlineSolar Labs1) Classifying solar panels2) Choppers and introduction to maximum power point trackers (MPPTs)3) Solar array MPPT design4) Single-phase voltage source inverters5) Single-phase current source invertersWind Labs6) Permanent magnet synchronous generators and induction generators7) Rectifiers8) Uniform pulse-width modulation (UPWM) & sinusoidal pulse-width modulation (SPWM)9) Three-phase voltage source inverters and snubbers10) Final project: direct drive wind turbine voltage controller and inverter

Ochs, D. S., & Miller, R. D. (2012, June), Development of a Power Electronics Lab Course with Renewable Energy Applications Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21214

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