Control and Power Systems Lab

The Control and Power Systems Laboratory (CAPS) focuses on advanced control systems, optimisation, and cybersecurity with applications to power systems, smart grids, microgrids, and power electronics converters.

ACSE Control and and Power Systems Lab bench with academics
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The Control and Power Systems Laboratory (CAPS) brings academics, research associates, engineers, and PhD students together to find new ways to integrate renewable energies into power grids. We are a part of the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering at the University of Sheffield, located in the Sir Frederick Mappin Building on Mappin Street.


The ADEPT Project is an Innovate UK funded project that enables the knowledge exchange between academia and industry in order to develop the next generation of smart local energy systems.

Key Features

Meeting environmental targets towards reduction of national carbon dioxide emissions substantially promotes energy generation from renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power. However, the transition from conventional fossil-fuel based power plants to renewable generation raises new challenges for power system operability in terms of stability, reliability, and resilience. The research carried out in CAPS is a step towards the design, commissioning, and operation of resilient renewable-based power grids, which will pave the way towards sustainable, affordable, and resilient electrical energy and a low carbon energy future. 

Advanced Control of Power Electronics Converters

Power electronics converters are the key enabling technologies in a large number of applications, including electric/hybrid vehicles, more electric aircraft, zero-emission ferries, and renewable energy generation, which are changing society towards electrification and independence of fossil fuels. The efficient and reliable performance of these applications mainly rely on the effectiveness of control systems in power converters. At CAPS, we develop novel control strategies for different types of power converters, e.g., DC-DC converters, DC/AC grid-tied converters, and multi-level converters.

Autonomous Microgrids

Microgrids are small-scale electrical distribution networks composed of distributed generation units, local loads, and energy storage systems, operating in grid-connected or islanded modes. Microgrids are used in many mission-critical applications such as military bases, hospitals, data centres, and industrial plants and play a key role in providing resilience, low-cost, and sustainable electrical energy at community-level generation. At CAPS, we focus on DC, AC, and hybrid microgrids and develop control, optimisation, and cybersecurity algorithms for the reliable operation of islanded microgrids. Our proposed methods inspired from networked control systems, non-linear control, bounded integral control theory, plug-and-play control, and robust control ensure the robust and resilient operation of microgrids and are evaluated on the state-of-the-art microgrid testbeds available in CAPS.

Control and Optimisation in Smart Grids

Integration of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar into power grids impose significant challenges in terms of stability and control. Renewable energy sources are normally integrated into power grids through power electronics converters that do not intrinsically provide inertia. The low-inertia characteristic of the converter-interfaced renewable energy sources poses major technical challenges to current grid operations. At CAPS, we apply predictive control theory and efficient optimisation algorithms to address control and planning challenges in smart grids and power-electronics-based grids.

Reliability and Resilience of Power Electronics-based Power Systems

With an increasing paradigm shift towards a low carbon energy future, there have been changes in electrification in transportation, buildings, industrial sectors, and renewable-based energy generation. Power electronics converters play a vital part in these sectors; hence, their reliability and resilience are essential for the electrification revolution. At CAPS, we develop design-oriented analysis and control tools for improving reliability and enhancing resilience in power electronics-based power systems.


Facilities

We have a range of state-of-the-art facilities that enable us to have a laboratory testbed for microgrids and a demonstration platform for power electronics converters and advanced energy technologies. 

3x200k VA power converters with reconfigurable connections to form a microgrid system
Photo of 3x200kVA power converters with reconfigurable connections
Power converters with reconfigurable connections
Photo of a micro grid in the Control and Power Lab
Micro grid in the Control and Power Lab
Hardware-In-the-Loop/Real-time digital simulators (OPAL-RT and Typhoon HIL)
Photo of real-time digital simulators in the Control and Power lab
Real-time digital simulators
Photo of a Typhoon Hardware-In-the-Loop
Typhoon Hardware-In-the-Loop
30kVA Chroma Regenerative Grid Simulator
Photo of a 30kVA Chroma Regenerative Grid Simulator
30kVA Chroma Regenerative Grid Simulator
Photo of 30kVA Chroma Regenerative Grid Simulator
30kVA Chroma Regenerative Grid Simulator
Remote monitoring and control of the Translational Energy Research Centre (TERC)
Photo of someone control systems at the Translational Energy Research Centre

Precision Power Analyser and DC Electronic Load

Photo of a Yokogawa Precision Power Analyser
Yokogawa Precision Power Analyser
Photo of a DC Electronic Load Box
DC Electronic Load Box

Multiple power electronic converters (DC/AC and DC/DC)

Photo of power electronic converters
Power electronic converters
Photo of parallel inverters
Parallel inverters

 
Grants and Awards
  • EPSRC-UKRI, G. Konstantopoulos, Energy Revolution Research Consortium – Core – EnergyREV. Research Consortium with 29 Investigators across 22 UK universities on whole-system approach in smart local energy systems (https://www.energyrev.org.uk/) December 2018 - March 2022
  • EPSRC-UKRI, G. Konstantopoulos, Affordable and clean energy via resilient and autonomous micro-grids. EPSRC-UKRI Innovation Fellowship in cheap and clean energy technologies, Collaboration with Aalborg University, Crossflow Energy Ltd., Infinite Renewables Ltd. and OPAL-RT Technologies (International) June 2018 - June 2021
  • Innovate UK, G. Konstantopoulos, I. Esnaola, D. Bauso, ADvanced multi-Energy management and oPTimisation time shifting platform (ADEPT) Collaboration with Infinite Renewables Ltd., GS Yuasa Battery and Swanbarton on the development of intelligent industrial microgrid (http://www.infiniterenewables.com/adept-microgrid/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bT5hMxmS29Q&t=42s) August 2017 - January 2019
  • Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, G. Konstantopoulos, M Walker, M. Mayfield, Developing smart and resilient micro-grids in rural Africa. Enabling energy access in sub-Saharan Africa. January 2017 - December 2017
  • EPSRC (Summer vacation bursary programme), G. Konstantopoulos, Control design technologies for the power electronic system of electric vehicles. Research project experience for MEng student Andrew Holmes. June 2016 - August 2016

Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.