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The Experimental System »Wind-to-Grid Simulator« for the Project »Research-Based Learning in Focus« (German: »Forschungsbasiertes Lernen im Focus«; abbr. FLiF+)

The Experimental System »Wind-to-Grid Simulator« for the Project »Research-Based Learning in Focus«

In summer 2016, staff appropriations for the development, built-up and realisation of three new experimental seminars, summarised under the title »Wind Physics Students‘ Lab«, could be financed. The financing is provided by the German Ministry for Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) in the circumference of the third-party funded project »Research-Based Learning in Focus« (German: »Forschungsbasiertes Lernen im Focus«; abbr. FLiF+). This financing contains the employment of a research assistant as 50% part-time employee in the period Oct. 2016 until Dec. 2020 and additionally part-time employment for a graduate assistant, financing of material etc.. Each of the three new seminars has a circumference of 6 ECTS (credit points) and consists of a seminar part and an experimental part. Their contents refer to the work of the three research groups of ForWind Oldenburg:

  • Wind Energy Systems
  • Turbulence, Wind Energy and Stochastics
  • Energy Meteorology

The concepts of the three different »Wind Physics Students‘ Labs« are aiming to introduce the students to the current research of these three groups. According to the intentions of the project »FLiF+«, the competences are gained by the students by means of so called research-based learning. As well, the students should learn basics of scientific work, which is needed for their final paper. The first performance of the »Wind Physics Students‘ Lab« in winter semester 2016/2017 and its announcement for the next semesters have caused a very positive response among the students. Especially the extension of the study facilities referring to wind energy is appreciated, as well the scientific and practical character of the new seminars.

The first of the planned three seminars, named «Wind Physics Students‘ Lab: Dynamics and Control of Grid-Connected Wind Turbines«, started in November 2016. It is based on experiments with an experimental system which has been purchased in autumn of 2016 (Fig. 9). This so-called »Wind-to-Grid Simulator« is a model of the functional chain and the control features of a real wind turbine, comprising wind, rotor, drivetrain, generator, frequency converter and grid connection. The functional chain wind-rotor-drivetrain is simulated by a control module and a servo motor, whereas generator, frequency converter and 3-phase grid connection are realised as hardware.  The generator interacts in a realistic way with the changing wind on one side and the power grid on the other side. This provides many possibilities for experiments that enforce the understanding of effects that occur at generator, frequency converter and grid. When the students have gained basic understanding, they can start to ascertain the complex control processes of the grid-connected wind turbine by own experiments.

The »Wind-to-Grid Simulator« allows measurement, visualisation and monitoring of all relevant parameters at all needed metering points. Only a brief handling and safety instruction is necessary, before the students can start to perform their own experiments and measurements. They work in groups of two to four with the »Wind-to-Grid Simulator« and are supervised by a teaching person (Fig. 10). The seminars show, that the »Wind-to-Grid Simulator« is very attractive for the students and that research based learning is indeed an effective teaching method. The »Wind-to-Grid Simulator« will be used not only for the »Wind Physics Students‘ Lab«, but also e.g. for other lectures, seminars and advanced internships.

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