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Power and control systems

Efficiency in energy conversion and power generation

Our economy is dependent of the effective conversion of different forms of primary energy into electrical energy.   With the onset of radical carbon reduction targets, there is an urgent need to develop energy efficient devices and control strategies for energy conversion, drives and management to reduce the demand for energy.  The University of Birmingham is home to cutting edge expertise and research facilities focused on achieving just this. The facility is part of the Birmingham Science City Interdisciplinary Research Alliance and funded by Advantage West Midlands (AWM) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).  

The newly refurbished state-of-the-art laboratory has three sets of test facilities available for use:  

1)    Multi-purpose energy efficient pneumatic drive test rig. The rig can be used to test dynamic performance, energy efficiency, and other mechatronic  characteristics of pneumatic actuators when they are used as drives for motion control or for an air-electricity transformer. It also hosts an on-going research project in recycling exhaust energy.    

2)    Hybrid renewable power generation test system. The system serves as a flexible test bed for research in renewable power generation in hybrid connection with energy storage systems. A research project in hybrid wind turbine systems is currently on-going. 

3)    Real-time control development system. The system can be used for prototyping new optimal control strategies through hardware-in-loop simulations.  

4)    Modelling and simulation of power plants. Models of large scale power plants will enable low carbon technologies to be evaluated and new control strategies developed for optimisation.

The Power and Control Systems Research Group (PCSR) of the University of Birmingham is led by Dr Jihong Wang. The research areas of the group include: modelling, condition monitoring and control of power systems; energy efficient systems and actuators; applications of power electronics and clean power generation; and nonlinear control theory and industrial applications. The test facilities will be used to develop energy efficient actuators for compressed air energy storage systems. These devices could be deployed for a variety of applications including combined heat and power plants, fuel cells and engines.     

The research group works closely with many industrial and academic partners, including E.ON Engineering, EDF Energy, Emerson Process Management, Energetix Group Plc, Jaguar Cars and Airtricity. The group is keen to develop new partnerships, particularly with local businesses from the West Midlands region.

For further information, including proposals for collaboration or access to the facilities:

Dr Jihong Wang, School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Birmingham, B15 2TT. Email: Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3518

or Mike Ahearne, Business Engagement Manager for the Birmingham Science City Energy Efficiency & Demand project. Email: Mobile tel: +44 (0)7824 541173



These facilties are based at the University of Warwick

Download further information about the facilities in brochure format here (PDF Document)

For more technical detail about the facility click here(PDF Document)