The Distributed Energy and Technologies Laboratory (DETL) is a multi-purpose research facility designed to integrate emerging energy technologies into new and existing electricity infrastructures with a goal to find new and better ways to accommodate the nation’s increasing demands for clean, secure, and reliable energy. You might say they’ve got the power(dun…dun da dun!) DETL performs advanced research, both internally and with external partners, on energy generation, storage, and load management technologies ranging from the component through the system levels. This facility provides researchers the tools to examine advanced materials, controls, and communications that enable safe and resilient distributed and renewable power systems infrastructures. Better yet, the laboratory is highly configurable, allowing researchers to customize how they conduct their research and to evaluate energy resources under a wide range of conditions, including:

  • irradiance (the intensity of the sun's energy hitting a surface)
  • wind variability (how a wind turbine adjusts to achieve max power)
  • ac/dc protection schemes (how to isolate the smallest possible section of a power system in the event of something like a tree falling on a power line and causing outages)
  • high/low temperature (exploring what happens when devices operate outside their nominal temperature range)
  • power levels (how devices operate under non-ideal power conditions)
  • voltage and frequency regulation (how to help adjust power output based off how it is used)
  • real-time distribution and transmission system models (a way of testing devices without requiring a physical set-up)
  • functionality in both grid-connected and microgrid (autonomously running) configurations

DETL applies this research to a variety of applications, including advanced R&D for clean and intelligent electric grids; advanced power electronics; cybersecurity solutions for distributed energy resource (DER) communications; solar, wind, and energy storage technologies; and microgrids. The laboratory can test on utility-scale equipment using simulators, high-power waveform analyzers, and a wide variety of other testing equipment, all of which you’ll get to see as a part of this tour. So, without further ado, welcome to DETL.