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Monday, 30 January 2017

New simulator for power and electronics research

Research and innovation in the field of power and electronic systems is set to be accelerated with the establishment of a multi-million rand, high-tech facility at CPUT’s Bellville Campus.

Over the course of the next few months, the Center for Distributed Power and Electronics Systems (CDPES) headed by Prof Mohamed Kahn, will set up a renewable energy systems simulator facility, which will be the first of its kind in South Africa and the only one on the African continent.

The high-tech facility is funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) to the tune of R15 million, and is part of their coveted National Equipment Programme. This programme provides universities with substantial funding support to purchase new equipment with the aim of improving research, innovation, training and collaboration in a bid to address South Africa’s research priorities.

Dr Marco Adonis, Deputy Head of Operations at the centre, says the facility will enhance their current research activities, especially in the area of developing power conversions for renewable energy sources as well as their exploration of interconnectivity of distributed resources with microgrids and electric power systems.

Adonis says while some institutions have simulators, CPUT will be the first university in South Africa to install a simulation system, which will allow researchers to simulate a wide range of conditions related to power and electronics systems.

Over the past few years, simulators have gained popularity in the field of research, innovation and teaching. The primary advantage of such systems are that they allow users to design and test real world systems, without having to construct costly prototypes. They have also become valuable teaching tools in various disciplines.

The new facility will also create vast opportunities for regional and national collaboration, with the CDPES set to work on various projects with researchers from the Universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch.

Projects will be linked to national priorities as well as tie in with the CDPES research areas, which includes energy efficiency, renewable and alternative energy technology, distributed energy system technology, predictive control of power converters and electrical drives as well as MEMS energy sensor technology.

Adonis says the facility will be based at the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, which is housed on the Bellville Campus. The building is the largest research and teaching facility at CPUT and houses several other leading engineering research centers.

For more information on the CDPES see:

Written by Candes Keating

Tel: +27 21 959 6311

Provides coverage for the Engineering and Applied Sciences Faculties; the Bellville and Wellington Campuses, and research and innovation news.