GEEP is an innovative laboratory that features futuristic power-system concepts based on environmentally friendly, renewable energy technologies.
Based on the types of renewable energy sources and how they are integrated and displayed, GEEP is unmatched in Western Australia or Australia, and will serve as a model for future renewable energy laboratories. It has been hailed as one of the “new initiatives in power engineering education” by the industry professional body The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Power and Energy Society at its annual general meeting in the US in 2011.
The GEEP laboratory enables students to conduct advanced experiments and research projects on various types of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydro; distributed generation using hydrogen fuel cells; battery energy storage-based micro-grids; hybrid power systems; power converters; and energy storages.
It has been designed so that the performance of each renewable energy source is automatically measured and subsequently displayed and analysed on workstation computers. Moreover, a weather station provides real-time data for students to correlate the system performance with weather conditions. The laboratory can be remotely monitored via local area network so that it can be readily integrated in lectures and workshops conducted at other venues on the Bentley Campus.
The GEEP laboratory affords students the opportunity to engage in classes on renewable energy and micro-grids at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, with seven teaching stations dedicated for seven different types of renewable energy sources or storages.
The networks and power flow at each station, as well as weather conditions and historical data of the system, can be presented on an LCD screen at the centre of the laboratory as well as on teaching-station computers. The measured data can then be analysed in time-domain and frequency-domain before deciding to store it in digital form to include in laboratory reports. The software has been designed so that system performance can be demonstrated digitally at lecture theatres via the local area network.
The GEEP laboratory has been designed to include four research stations, which can be used to switch on field power sources when they are not already in use at the teaching stations. Facilities have been provided to connect field power sources to three-phase main grid or micro-grids, isolated load banks or battery banks, and motors and energy storages, by developing novel power converters and advanced control algorithms.
A presentation area comprising an LCD display, and workstation computers at each teaching station equip GEEP for hands-on training to professionals in power engineering and renewable energy industries through short courses and workshops. Such courses can cater for various modern-day industry problems related to renewable energy, energy storage, power electronics and smart grid technologies.
Curtin experts in renewable energy and power engineering at GEEP are capable of providing consultations on building similar renewable energy parks in industry, at educational institutes such as universities, TAFE colleges and schools, and for social organisations and remote villages, as examples. Additionally, these experts can provide consultations on other renewable energy-related topics.
With a laboratory displaying the latest renewable energy technologies, GEEP’s uniqueness serves as a demonstration facility for the general public. Groups of students from high school, technical college and summer school, as well as representatives from social organisations, industry groups and visiting academics from Australia and overseas, have already visited or plan to visit GEEP, which is also expected to be one of the key attractions for future students of Curtin.