On September 24, 2019 the Engineering Management class 18/20 had the opportunity to visit the Austrian Institute of Technologie (AIT) in Vienna. It is Austria´s largest research and technology organization (RTO) and international key player in many of the research areas they cover.
Ms. Mag.a Katrin Batko from the Center for Energy / Marketing and Communications welcomed us and showed us around through the huge area of the AIT. The first stop of our visit was the photovoltaic lab, where DI(FH) Thomas Krametz gave us a briefly overview about the aim of the lab. One of the main tasks of this lab is to make tests on photovoltaic cells and modules for manufacturers and investors to ensure the compliance with official guidelines and international standards.
Our second stop was the SmartEST lab, where Ing. Joachim Schulz pointed out that in this lab, accredited tests for local power generation with simulated networks and primary energy sources can be done up to 1000 kW. Furthermore, the interactions between equipment and the upper levels of the grid can be analyzed and products like inverters, storage systems and smart meters as well as control strategies can be tested.
Finally, we visited the new Power Electronics lab where DI Georg Lauss explained us the infrastructure of the lab divided in several areas:
The digital area, where the laboratory setup is capable of replicating the grid complexity and all relevant phenomena in real time by high-performance computers. The high-power area consisted of eight standard inverters connected to the photovoltaic panels on the facade of the building. Those eight inverters can be substituted by one smart grid converter which was developed by the AIT.
We had finally a very interesting discussion on smart grids and their future which is one of the main fields of the research in this lab.On this excursion, we got which challenges managers in the field of engineering get faced to in the future. Everything gets “SMART”, but the real meaning of “SMART” with all the advantages and disadvantages has to be developed.
Gregor Haindl (Austria)
Participant Engineering Management Class 2018-2020