Smart Grid Lab Up & Running At K-State

By: Kansas State University Press Release
By: Kansas State University Press Release

MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- The newest laboratory at Kansas State University's department of electrical and computer engineering will not only amp up already strong academic and research programs in electrical power and communications, but it also will help provide a surge in the university's -- and state of Kansas' -- goal of providing more engineers.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication for the new Burns & McDonnell Smart Grid Lab was held on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the lab in 2095 Rathbone Hall.

Along with John English, dean of the College of Engineering; Don Gruenbacher, head of the department of electrical and computer engineering; and department faculty and staff, a group from Burns & McDonnell, the international, engineering, architecture and consulting company based in Kansas City, Mo., were on hand. The group was led by Randy Pope, vice president of the company. Pope is a Kansas State University engineering alumnus and a member of the College of Engineering Advisory Council.

Pope says the lab at K-State is a mirror image of the lab at Burns & McDonnell's headquarters where workers are using smart grid knowledge to design secure energy systems for government installations around the U.S. He says the ability to train in the lab will better prepare students and make them ready to enter the industry immediately upon graduation.

"The benefit of the Smart Grid Lab is that you can test and learn a lot about smart grid applications on the utilities systems in order to more efficiently use electricity and match electrical power supply with electrical demand," Pop told WIBW.

Noel Schulz, the College of Engineering's associate dean for research and director of the Engineering Experiment Station, also will participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Schulz will be the lab's director and it will be home to her research in smart grid technologies, power systems, energy conversion, application of computer programs to power engineering, application of intelligent systems to engineering problems and more.

The lab was made possible through a donation from Burns & McDonnell and from the company's many employees who are Kansas State University alumni. In addition, several companies in the power industry have or are in the process of making vital equipment and furnishing donations to the lab.

The lab won't be used just for research. Different class levels -- from freshmen to graduate students -- will be exposed to it. Junior and senior classes will use it for lab work.

Another important use of the Burns & McDonnell Smart Grid Lab will be in student recruitment, officials said.


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