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Power Standards Lab
Power Standards Lab Inc. Grid Thumper

Test Stability of Grids, Back-Up Power Systems

Jan. 29, 2018
Technology offers a new way to evaluate connected systems to determine how their control loops will interact

POWER STANDARDS LAB INC. (PSL) is offering the Grid Thumper™ system designed to test the stability of microgrids, distribution grids, and back-up power systems. Grid Thumper rigorously tests complete, connected systems, including active distribution grids, detecting harmful instabilities that would otherwise be invisible. It uses patent-pending technology to briefly connect large, time-synchronized resistive and reactive loads – up to one megawatt, often for a fraction of a second – then ultra-precise PSL PQube 3 and microPMU sensors record the grid’s system response. 

Grid operators, data centers, and other operations can gain more confidence that their critical power systems will perform as expected when most needed. 

“Our company designs and integrates fail-safe power solutions for the defense and broadcast industries,” said Bill Wenzlau, CEO of Wenzlau Engineering. “With Grid Thumper, we are able to test sophisticated power scenarios to validate system reliability and availability.”

Researchers at U.S. National Labs have already shown interest in using Grid Thumper to examine PV system stability and detect sophisticated grid cyberattacks. Military suppliers, hospitals and data centers will rely on the non-disruptive Grid Thumper stability tests on mission-critical live grids. Utilities are discussing how to use Grid Thumper to map out distribution grids, and even to increase the amount of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), such as solar PV, that is permitted on a given distribution line. Operators of island grids have plans to use Grid Thumper to measure actual control-loop response and damping in a large population of installed inverters.

“It’s difficult to characterize in steady-state, so let’s perturb and observe. For the semiconductor industry, PSL has a long history of precisely disturbing power, then using it to test high-value sensitive loads,” said Mario Barbaresso, president and CEO of Power Survey, parent company of Power Standards Lab. “Information from non-disruptive intentional disturbances, measured with our ultra-precise instruments, will improve grid stability.”
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