Research facilities

The Eskom Centre of Excellence (CoE) in HVDC Engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal also serves as the EEPEI Specialization Centre (SC) and focusses on research in technology relating to HVDC, power systems (including lines) and power electronics relating to AC systems. This CoE at UKZN has four operational research laboratories, namely:
  • HVDC Laboratory – which focuses on High Voltage Direct Current (DC) 

  • HVAC Laboratory – which focuses on High Voltage Alternating Current (AC)

  • SMART Grid Research Laboratory – A state-of-the-art modern facility, the first of its kind in Africa for training and research development (modelling, simulation and real-time analysis) of Smart Technologies and the integration of various RE technologies into the Grid.

  • Vibration Research and Testing Centre (VRTC) – which focusses on overhead transmission lines, mechanics of conductors, insulators, line supports and vibration analysis.

The combination of the High Voltage laboratories at sea level, along with a powerful Real Time Digital Simulator (RTDS), state-of-the-art software simulation tools such as DIgSILENT Powerfactory, PowerWorld Simulator, amongst others, are well equipped and situated to support South Africa’s electricity industry with its expanding grid infrastructure at generation, transmission, distribution and reticulation levels.

The impact of grid integration of RE resources at distribution/reticulation levels is important and will naturally result not only in growth, but also in a more complex grid in this Smart utility era. This will put increased pressure on South Africa to develop and consider different technologies in order to deliver more electrical power in a safe, reliable, efficient and economic manner to industrial, commercial, public and domestic customers. 
SMART Grid Research Laboratory

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