ECEN 3170 - Energy Conversion 1
ECEN 4167 - Energy Conversion 2
ECEN 4517 - Power Electronics Laboratory
ECEN 1000 - Special Topics, Energy 101
Renewable energy was established as a new field about 20 years ago with the design of wind and photovoltaic power plants. Although in some areas great progress has been made, it is still insufficient to cover the electric energy needs of our nation which require a total installed power capacity of about 800GW with a spinning reserve of about 80GW. The latter is required because the electricity consumed by residential, commercial and industrial loads must be generated at the very moment when consummation occurs. This requirement cannot be met by renewable energies alone because they are intermittent in their energy production and even meteorological forecasts cannot alleviate this problem. In addition, the change of the wind, for example, may result in the loss of 60MW per minute. This loss of generation capacity can only be covered either by conventional plants (e.g., natural gas or coal-fired plants) or by energy storage facilities, and to a lesser extent by nuclear plants which serve mostly as base load plants due to the long thermal time constants of the nuclear reactor.
Applications range from the development of new algorithms for the control of distributed systems (DG), load flow analyses for fundamental and harmonics as required by power system control centers, the development of emergency operational procedures in case of brown- or blackouts, the interaction of renewable plants with energy storage plants. From the Dutch experiences one can conclude that renewable energy of 30% of the entire required power, that is, in our nation's case 240GW, poses tremendous control problems. Needless to say, the range of application is enormous.
To study renewable energy systems, it is necessary to have a good grounding in basic laws and theorems of electrical engineering. The prerequisites for the sophomore, senior, and cross-listed graduate courses are Circuits and Electronics 1 and 3 (ECEN 2250, ECEN 2260, and ECEN 3250). In addition, real-time applications require some experience in computer languages such as Quick Basic, C++, D/D, D/A and A/D converters, and other soft- and hardware. Off-line processing requires the use of high-level application languages like MATLAB, MATHEMATICA and SPICE. The renewable energy field is a good area for those who want to contribute to solving the problems of society and who enjoy the design and development of power system and power electronic components, applied mathematics, and applications.
Representative Technical Applications
- Renewable energy sources such as wind- photovoltaic and co-generation
- Large-scale energy storage to mitigate intermittent nature of renewable sources: design of pumped-storage hydro plants, compressed air storage plants, emergency and standby power supplies, and uninterruptible power supplies for data processing equipment
- The design of large-scale machines, rectifiers and inverters
- AC and DC transmission of electrical energy, voltage- and frequency control of systems with distributed generation
- Energy conservation
- Replacement of internal combustion engine (IC) by electric drives based on either fuel cells or batteries/supercapacitors
- Reduction of particulates, sulfur and carbon dioxide emissions
- Providing fuel (electricity from renewable sources) for public and individual transportation