A current of research and learning runs through Mason’s Smart Grid Lab

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After being open for one year, George Mason University’s Smart Grid Lab is showing what it can do at full power, so to speak.

The lab continues to expand, with a Real-Time Digital Simulator (RTDS) in place and staff trained on its use. By the end of July, the lab expects to be equipped with a heat exchange module; a digital fault recorder; two server racks; and six workstations, allowing users to drill down on data related to wind, solar, microgrids, high-voltage direct currents, and pump storage. The lab is generously supported by Dominion Energy and Amazon Web Services.

A faculty member speaks in front of charts
Liling Huang discusses the lab's research potential. 

The lab is being used for teaching and research and hosts events and demonstrations, including one for the university’s President's Innovative Advisory Committee.  In April, the Schar School of Policy and Government cohosted the National Capital Area Chapter of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics Annual Conference. The daylong seminar’s theme was, “Ensuring Reliability: The Right Energy in the Right Places at the Right Times.” Liling Huang, who directs the lab and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Dominion Energy Faculty Fellow, presented on the lab’s ability to enable students and researchers to conduct various hands-on experiments, work with hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) simulations, and analyze simulation data related to power and energy systems.

In summer 2024, the lab will host a week-long summer camp titled, "Exploring Renewable Energy Engineering." Rising high school sophomores and juniors will learn about renewable energy technologies, ideally sparking an interest in environmental stewardship and engineering excellence. Amazon Web Services is funding the camp.