National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) engineers Bethany Sparns and Dheepak Krishnamurthy, and SULI intern Paul Vaynshenk work on a Smart-Home-in-the-Loop experiment in the Systems Performance Lab at the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF). Their study connects electric vehicles and smart appliances to a grid in the lab to study the dynamics of how they interact to degrees of "smartness" that allow the devices to potentially communicate with the user, the utility, and even with one another.
The Systems Performance Laboratory helps scientists develop and integrate technologies like distributed and renewable energy resources and smart energy management for building applications. The 5,300-square-foot laboratory is designed to be highly flexible and configurable—essential for smart power applications that range from advanced inverters and power converters to commercial-scale meters and control technologies. Three residential-scale test areas in the lab each represent the load of a house and have connections for 120/240-V electric service, water, and natural gas.