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April 26, 2012   
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LINTEˆ2, Poland’s ultra-modern Laboratory of Innovative Power Engineering Technology and Renewable Energy Sources, is under construction at the Gdańsk University of Technology, which has obtained a zl.44 million grant for the project.

When completed, the lab will allow scientists to optimize processes that govern the production, transmission, distribution and storage of electrical energy. The lab will be a research and training facility in one, providing research, consulting and design services in the areas of renewable energy and distributed generation.

The LINTEˆ2 project is one of the most expensive of over 200 grant applications submitted during the second stage of a competition through which the Ministry of Science and Higher Education has awarded grants as part of the European Regional Development Fund and public funds earmarked for science. The LINTEˆ2 grant application was compiled by a group of researchers from the Faculty of Electrical and Control Engineering at Gdańsk University of Technology, headed by Prof. Janusz Nieznański.

According to Hanna Trojanowska, the government commissioner for Polish nuclear energy, the lab addresses the challenges and priorities of Poland’s energy policy. “LINTEˆ2 has a unique opportunity to become a modern knowledge center for science and research capable of pursuing technology deployment projects as well,” Trojanowska said during the cornerstone-laying ceremony for LINTEˆ2 March 14. “It is about the safety of an interconnected system designed to take on the ambitious challenge to build a single European market for electricity where services are provided to over 500 million users.”

The theoretical foundations for the LINTEˆ2 lab were laid by a simulation project that concerned the energy security of Poland. Spanning three years, the project was valued at over zl.10 million and was carried out by a large consortium with Prof. Ryszard Zajczyk at the helm. The project involved Poland’s entire power engineering community and the Silesian, Warsaw, Wrocław and Gdańsk universities of technology. The Gdańsk University of Technology was the project manager and several other universities took part as subcontractors.

The rapid increase in the demand for research and practical applications of the research is also due to an EU program focused on energy efficiency, lower carbon-dioxide emissions, and support for new branches of the energy sector, renewable energy in particular. The present huge demand for electrical power is obviously satisfied with conventional methods such as thermal power plants, nuclear power plants, and all kinds of renewable energy sources, but the different sources turn out to be hard to combine. This is a serious obstacle, because major problems occur when, for example, a power system comprises such unpredictable facilities as wind farms whose output depends on the weather. Windless weather can cause the entire system to be short of hundreds if not thousands of megawatts of energy and that necessitates readily available power sources that can be activated at any time. Meanwhile, different power sources have different requirements.

The LINTEˆ2 lab will work to develop control algorithms, complete with models of devices to support the algorithms, to ensure that as far as the IT aspect is concerned, different power sources can work in harmony and, consequently, that electricity can be fed into the power grid without interruption. The lab will be fitted with its own experimental power supply appliances, including solar devices, wind turbines, a gas turbine and generators, along with energy storage devices such as sealed batteries, super capacitors and flywheels. There might even be a small pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant. The plans also include the lab’s own power lines, power transmission devices, power electronics converters and adjustable energy receivers. One of the lab’s most significant features will be a modern communications network enabling the lab to easily and flexibly configure its research systems.

The LINTEˆ2 lab will have a test station for research on wireless charging of electric cars. The station will hinge on a Contactless Electrical Energy Transfer System (CEETS) using magnetically coupled inductors. The electric car used in the station will be an integral part of the lab’s research installations.

LINTEˆ2 marks huge progress over what the Gdańsk University of Technology has had so far. It will bring on a new quality by being adjusted to the smart grid concept, which in this case stands for a combination of conventional systems with information technology. The lab will present new opportunities to research teams from different universities in Poland and abroad (including Grenoble, France) as well as research institutes.

The nature of the project is even reflected in the appearance of the building that will house the lab. Designed by the K&L Art Design studio of Gdańsk, the building features a modern, inventive shape with unusual colors on the facade, making it look like a mysterious device pulsating with green energy. The impression will be further strengthened by the building’s state-of-the-art interiors.

Adam Grzybowski
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