In the summer of 2013, I asked my supervisor, what SOPRA is. He told me it is a power station for rural area electrification. I said to myself via this project I can assist my local community in the future. After spending several months working with the HAN SOPRA system as a trainee, I realized that I am not going to assist the rural area’s people of my country only, but it would help me also to understand a lot of phenomena in the area of electrical engineering and control.
Luckily I have been guided by experts in the field of electrical power and energy from HAN and DNV GL (former KEMA).
There is a real SOPRA power plant in the Engineering building of HAN that produces PV and wind turbine power to feed a load demand. Also there are dedicated batteries for the storage of extra power, to be use later if is required.
Smart master controllers keep track of the power in the system E.g. if the load demand is more than the sustainable energy supply this master controller knows instantaneously how much power is needed from the demand and call the inverter to take it from the battery bank.
If the energy in the battery bank is less than the minimum limit, the controller will turn on the diesel generator automatically to match the load demand and avoid a black out.
Students not only learn how Solar and Wind are used to produce the electricity, but will also learn how to make a model that describes the behaviour of the PV-panels and wind turbines and estimate in which month there will be a maximum and minimum power from these renewable energy sources (RES).
It is interesting that all these tests and experiments can be done by students!