Today’s aspiring electrical engineers are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to learn power electronics, and power systems, hands on, using some of the most advanced “flight simulators” for power. These ultra-high fidelity real-time simulators, with nanosecond resolution and microsecond integration time steps, emulate smart inverters, distributed energy resources (DERs), microgrids, and power systems with unparalleled accuracy.
This enables new generations of engineers, defined by pervasive gaming experiences, satisfy their need for an interactive and fully immersive environment. This enables them to effortlessly learn intricate ins and outs of power electronics and microgrids.
If you consider that 57% of 18-34 year olds play video games at least three times a week, and 67% believe games are important in helping them learn how to create winning strategies, it is clear why the “flight simulator” approach to teaching power electronics and power systems is attracting torrents of new students.
Indeed, a “flight simulator” approach to learning through playing is fundamentally transforming the perception of power electronics traditionally considered “old school” and “conservative”.
Digital control and communication are playing an ever more important role in the field of power electronics and power system. C-HIL (Controller Hardware In the Loop) technology can strongly support this technological evolution when applied in the learning process at undergraduate and graduate level.
Moreover it makes power engineering more hands on and interactive as well as accessible to undergraduate students because there are no dangers, costs and tight supervision requirements of the power laboratory.
For example, a well-designed C-HIL system can directly interface with a number of Smart Grid control systems at all levels, and at the same time the control functionality at all time scales and levels of interest can be easily programmed inside the C-HIL system. Additionally, a well-designed C-HIL system can “speak” the Smart Grid languages of Modbus, IEC61850, CAN, as well as their dialects.
With the real time models built into the core of a well-designed C-HIL system generators power systems components become blocks students can play with and develop solid engineering intuition, often years of engineering intuition can be gathered in a matter of weeks.
Let us now look into how the advantages of C-HIL technology convert into digital enhanced learning experience in the field of Smart Grid education.