RPowerLabs: Electric power system virtual laboratories online

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by Ben Ubah
Founder, RPowerLabs

No disregard to R's colleagues, R is pioneering the creation of online virtual electric power system laboratories via RPowerLABS. RPowerLABS is a project, with the vision of deploying online, a vast array of highly demanded power system simulations for teaching and research using R. It started as an attempt to apply R to electric power system simulations as seen here. This is one important application of R that hopes to assist electrical power engineering academics in developing nations who are restricted by costly commercial tools and give the developed nations a new tool with many interactive, online learning and collaborative potentials.

From what I know about academic laboratory activities, they comprise of uniform apparatus for all participants, lab manuals, lab exercises, and interaction among participants and with the lab coordinator.

At RPowerLABS, we have and are continuously experimenting better techniques of achieving this vision using the various options from R and its extension packages. We have been able to setup several virtual labs preloaded with IEEE power systems (uniform apparatus), lab manuals, lab quizzes (plugged in from Moodle), interaction among participants (via real-time chat) on one web page.
See sample video at Youtube here:

One can even get a customized lab integrating several related simulations on one web page e.g (power flow, contingency analysis, faults, transient stability, etc). Not just that, interactive visualization of electric circuits (see Fig.1) and line diagrams (see Fig.2) are possible.

Fig. 1


Fig. 2

Fig2LFC - edited

Access the Transformers circuit lab and the AGC/LFC lab respectively. It is also possible with RPowerLABS to write and execute your own code within the LAB. The idea is to allow students write and execute small simulation programs in R and also to write R codes that modify the preloaded lab parameters. Figures 2, 3, and 4, show how the system's nominal frequency of the visual automatic generation control lab can be changed from 60Hz to 50Hz via the code editor. 



Fig. 4

Fig4LFC - edited

Access the N-1 Contingency Analysis code lab to see how functions can be executed online via a code editor (see Fig.5) This code editing functionality was made possible by the shinyAce package.




If as a College, University or Polytechnic you need the current offerings of RPowerLABS at your lab or online, it's simple just send a mail to [email protected] with your request. You may still like to refer this to the electrical engineering department at your school – you are free. RPowerLABS is free, but we will be happy to receive donations. It is also possible to get a free deployment of Moodle integrated with RPowerLABS, if youmlike. The donations help us provide more advanced features to users – we hope to cut across every major topic in the field of electrical power systems.

If you are a student or individual and you want a private study lab, it's possible with RPowerLABS. RPowerLABS takes away the effort of learning how to operate simulation tools by preloading the software with test power system data and keeping the interface simple.

I forsee a possibility where RPowerLABS could help schools hoping to offer Electric Power Systems by Distance Learning to  gain accreditation and attraction.

View the current offerings of RPowerLABS here and please kindly send us a review (what you think about the app and its potential) at [email protected] if you can. The application is currently hosted on a VPS running Ubuntu 14 (many thanks to RStudio's IDE and Shiny Server).

If this project is of interest to you and you want to get in touch, do not hesitate as we are open to feedbacks and collaborations. Please reach us at [email protected]

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