Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Oregon Tech to build smart grid laboratory

Steve Rogerson
August 7, 2018
The WM Keck Foundation has awarded $225,000 to Oregon Institute of Technology to help build a smart grid laboratory at the Klamath Falls campus. The lab will provide undergraduate engineering students a chance to acquire expertise in the fast-evolving power sector.
The next-generation power system incorporates communications and control systems with the core generation, transmission and distributing mechanisms for enhanced reliability and flexibility. Termed the smart grid, this is expected to be at the core of future power systems and, among other advances, will enable easier integration of renewable energy sources.
The smart grid lab will let students conduct projects and research, enhance their capability for critical thinking and understanding, and advance multi-disciplinary knowledge.
“We are thankful for this significant investment that the WM Keck Foundation is making in Oregon Tech students,” said Oregon Tech president Nagi Naganathan. “The smart grid lab will further advance Oregon Tech’s career-ready graduates to become distinctive professionals in energy related fields and to meet growing workforce needs in clean energy.”
This lab will provide an independent hardware and software platform for exploring operation, control and integration of renewable energy resources such as wind, solar and geothermal with an existing power grid. The smart grid system will include real-time data acquisition and small-scale power production models, and will provide teaching and learning opportunities for approximately 150 students and faculty each year across several departments.
Preliminary project work has already begun, with completion estimated in spring 2021. Assistant professor of electrical engineering and renewable energy, Eklas Hossain, is the principal investigator of the project.
“Our sincere thanks to the WM Keck Foundation for funding this project which will offer a unique experience to our students and faculty,” said Hossain. “This smart grid platform will help us in significant ways to upgrade our curriculum with student access to world-class lab facilities on par with the industry standard, and the ability to conduct cutting-edge research on energy systems.”
Based in Los Angeles, the WM Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late WM Keck, founder of Superior Oil. The foundation’s grant making is focused on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical research, science and engineering, and undergraduate education. The foundation also maintains a southern California grant programme that provides support for the Los Angeles community, with an emphasis on children and youth.