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Microgrid Laboratory

Microgrid Laboratory

The research project is funded and supported by the European Regional Development Fund within the framework of the Northrhine-Westphalian initiative 'Forschungsinfrastrukturen'

Project acronym: μG-Lab
Funding period: 04/2019 - 03/2022
Project budget: 3,741,687.50 €
Project funding: 3,367,518.75 €
Project manager: PTJ

[Translate to English:] Figure 1: Typical Structure of a microgrid


Today's energy supply system is characterized by networked, geographically distributed structures that must meet the highest safety and reliability standards. The transformation of this system to a sustainable structure characterized by renewable energies is a central social challenge of the 21st century. The inherent volatility of renewable energy sources requires a shift away from hierarchically structured top-down energy networks towards flexible, cross-sectoral and intelligent energy systems using a cellular approach. Therefore, in the course of the energy turnaround, so-called microgrids represent an important solution component to ensure a secure, clean, efficient and cost-effective energy supply in the future. The term microgrid is used to describe the concept of a local grid, which consists of energy sources, storage facilities and consumers in different sectors, and which operates with or without external grid connection. This structure creates a wide range of options for increasing flexibility in operation. The local integration of renewable energies by means of microgrids, for example within industrial companies or residential areas, relieves the distribution and transmission grids and reduces the need for cost- and resource-intensive grid expansion. The efficiency of the energy supply is also increased, as loss-intensive transport over long distances is avoided and energy is increasingly generated and consumed locally. Through local storage integration, microgrids can also provide grid services within the primary, secondary and tertiary control systems and even operate autonomously as so-called island grids in emergencies. These grid-stabilising measures can be strengthened if geographically neighbouring microgrids are coupled to form virtual power plants or large storage facilities. The potentials of microgrids have so far been investigated worldwide primarily academically. However, the industrial implementation is subject to high technical and financial risks. For successful transfer to industry, however, both extensive practical studies and the upgrading of microgrid components (e.g. power-to-x technologies) for field use are essential.

The Competence Center for Sustainable Energy Technology (KET) at the University of Paderborn, under the leadership of the Department of Power Electronics and Electrical Drive Technology (LEA), is developing the infrastructure with which the behavior of e.g. battery storage systems, wind turbines, photovoltaic systems or combined heat and power plants can be simulated in the laboratory. With the Microgrid laboratory in Paderborn, a platform for future research and development projects will be created to test and verify new innovative concepts under realistic conditions. This will also strengthen the competitive position of the domestic economy.

[Translate to English:] Figure 2: Abstract Structure of a Microgrid
[Translate to English:] Figure 3: Schematic of the microgrid emulator and the point of common coupling (NAP)


Microgrids are intended to guarantee renewable energy production in the future. Microgrids are local networks consisting of energy sources, storage facilities and consumers in various sectors. Their advantages: The energy consumption share of renewable energy can be increased and the peak power required at the grid connection point can be reduced. Transports over long distances, which otherwise involve losses, are reduced, thus increasing the efficiency of the energy supply. In addition, distribution and transmission networks are relieved due to the local structure, which reduces the need to expand cost- and resource-intensive networks. Possible areas of application for microgrids are industrial companies or residential areas.

This project includes the procurement of the necessary hardware to build a microgrid emulator. Core components are universal converters that act as network nodes and are controlled by a freely configurable and high-performance rapid control prototyping system from dSPACE.

For later research on the emulator, it is also necessary to purchase measuring equipment and modular circuitry. The latter allows any network configuration up to the megawatt range to be displayed via a busbar system. In addition, the premises intended for the emulator must be technically adapted and the connection to the public power grid must be extended.

The investment project is completed by the research and development project for modelling and implementing microgrid components for upgrading the emulator, which was submitted as part of the same application.

In combination with control and component modelling, the Microgrid laboratory offers a highly flexible and modular development and validation platform on which a wide range of questions on local grids can be investigated and solutions developed.


Dr.-Ing. Karl Stephan Stille

Dr.-Ing. Karl Stephan  Stille

Power Electronics and Electrical Drives

Research Assistant - Energy management in SmartGrids

+49 5251 60-3970
+49 5251 60-3443
Pohlweg 55
33098 Paderborn

The University for the Information Society