The RESCUE Lab energy laboratory at Aarhus University provides new knowledge about how to optimise a sustainable electricity supply in Denmark and the rest of Europe. Both researchers and students, as well as companies in Denmark and abroad have access to the state-of-the-art technical facilities.
There are solar cells and a wind turbine on the roof, and an electric car in the garage. The shiny new test stands inside the building are waiting to be put into service. The facilities include transformer stations, battery systems and generator units.
In 2016, Aarhus University invested in new equipment that makes it possible for researchers, students and companies to experiment with the electrical energy technology of the future.
The aim is to create new knowledge and gain practical experience with an energy system based on full integration of sustainable energy sources such as the sun, wind and biogas.
"As a society, we’re creating great changes in the way we produce, distribute and consume energy. As one of the first countries in the world, Denmark is aiming to have an energy supply that is 100% sustainable by as early as 2050. This is a unique vision, and the young engineers we’re educating at the university will be at the forefront of this transition. It requires them to have highly specialised theoretical knowledge in the field, as well as practical experience in converting this knowledge into productive solutions in the energy sector,” says Dean Niels Chr. Nielsen, Science and Technology, Aarhus University.
Assistant Professor Björn Andresen, Aarhus University School of Engineering, is head of the laboratory and he also believes that it will benefit both engineering students and their future workplaces.
“Our students have the best conditions to work on the design of electrical systems and to develop new products that produce and consume energy. This is very often in close collaboration with companies, which provide the students with insight into current technological challenges regarding energy supply while they’re still studying.”
With an area covering a total of 300 square metres, including classrooms and a control room, the new laboratory is the largest and most advanced of its type in Northern Europe. It is located with AU Engineering at Katrinebjerg in Aarhus.
A special feature of the new laboratory is that it can provide a total simulation of the energy grid, including all voltage and frequency levels in Europe and the USA. This means that researchers and students can use the control panels in Aarhus to subject the world’s electricity systems to every imaginable form of loads and weather conditions.
“If we want to test how the electricity grid responds to conditions such as a storm or very hot sunshine, we can do so here under geographically defined voltage conditions,” says Assistant Professor Andresen.
The laboratory is also self-sufficient with energy from the sun, wind and biogas, and also has the capacity to store energy.
RESCUE stands for Renewable, Energy, System Integration, Control Laboratory under Electrical Engineering.
The laboratory has test facilities for the full system integration of the sustainable energy sources of the future.