The focus of electric power research is in the area of resilient power systems, especially research related to power system protection and control. The Electric Power System Innovation and Demonstration Lab performs research, development and demonstration of innovative, practical technology to improve electric power system resiliency. The research supports a broad base of power system courses designed to prepare students for work in the electric power industry, as well as providing advanced education for graduate students and power system professionals.


Open Phase Fault Detection System

power landing pageOpen phase fault detection (OPFD) has been at the forefront of protection concerns since the January 30, 2012 open phase event at Exelon’s Byron Unit 2. The cause of this open phase event was the failure of the C-phase insulator stack for the Unit 2 System Auxiliary Transformer (SAT) revenue metering transformer.

On February 28, 2012 another event occurred at the Byron Plant. A mechanical failure of 345 kV under-hung porcelain insulator on Unit 1 SAT A-frame structure failed due to a manufacturing defect. The 345kV line fell to the ground causing a phase-to-ground fault which tripped the SAT lockout scheme causing the 6.9 kV busses to fast transfer to the UAT, and the ESF busses to be de-energized and subsequently reenergized by the diesel generators. These failures have highlighted the need for detecting open-phase conditions that can occur in the power delivery system.

Working with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the UAB ECE Electric Power System Innovation and Demonstration Lab successfully developed and field tested a method for detecting open phase fault conditions that can be used by the nuclear power industry. The prototype system developed was successfully field tested at a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) plant in North Alabama in May 2014.