Power Electronics

Eaton, University of Pittsburgh Open Power Engineering Lab

Power management company Eaton and the University of Pittsburgh today unveiled the Swanson School of Engineering's new Electric Power Systems Lab with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Pitt's Benedum Hall of Engineering. Equipped with electrical products donated by Eaton, the 1,500 square-foot lab will help educate the next generation of electric power engineers with the latest power delivery technology. The lab, inspired by Eaton's highly successful Power Systems Experience Center in Warrendale, Pa., is the latest initiative in a long-standing collaboration between Eaton and the Swanson School's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Pitt's Center for Energy.

"We need to rely on the next generation of highly skilled engineers to help us meet our critical electrical power management challenges," said Revathi Advaithi, president, Electrical Sector, Americas Region, Eaton. "Our continued collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh, and innovative training initiatives like the new Electric Power Systems Lab, can help attract the most talented students to this vital field and reinforce the Pittsburgh region's growing reputation as a leader in energy innovation."

Eaton and Pitt have collaborated over the past five years to develop new courses, certificate programs and research projects. The lab, located on Benedum Hall's recently constructed "Energy Floor," will foster research across a wide range of electric power areas, including energy efficiency, alternative energy systems and microgrids. It features a state-of-the-art teaching laboratory for undergraduates majoring in electrical engineering with an electric power concentration.

"Two of our academic and research priorities are energy and sustainability, and the new Electric Power Systems Lab will enable our students and faculty to better explore the next generation of sustainable power engineering technologies," said Gerald D. Holder, Ph.D., the Swanson School's U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. "What's more, university and industry research partnerships like ours with Eaton greatly enhance the potential to develop new technologies that will have a tremendous impact on power generation, transmission and distribution."

"Eaton's continued support of the University of Pittsburgh's power engineering curriculum has helped us educate students through unique classroom and hands-on activities," said Gregory Reed, Ph.D., director, Swanson School's Electric Power Initiative; associate professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and a renowned electric power engineer. "The new lab will prepare students for future career challenges, helping sustain the workforce needed to advance power and energy technologies, as well as provide opportunities for critical research activities in these fields including work in the emerging area of DC systems."

In addition to its support for the Power Systems Lab, Eaton has been a participant in the Swanson School of Engineering's cooperative education, or co-op program. This year the co-op program recognized Eaton as the Co-op Employer of the Year for its sustained commitment to the program and the quality of its projects and assignments for participating students.

The Swanson School's Electric Power Engineering program, offered through the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is rooted in core electric power engineering principles. The program focuses on the expansion and enhanced reliability of electric power grid infrastructure through application of power electronics and advanced control technologies, as well as areas such as renewable energy integration, hybrid AC and DC systems development, and smart grids. The University of Pittsburgh offers bachelors, masters and doctorate degree programs in this area.

In 2013 the Swanson School launched a distance-enabled post-baccalaureate/graduate certificate in electric power engineering for students in the graduate program and electric engineering professionals who wish additional post-baccalaureate technical education in this area. The program offers synchronous learning online for the working professional in conjunction with actual classroom graduate course lectures.  Program content - combined with innovative distance-enabled delivery and collaborative program components - makes this program an attractive and unique choice in post-baccalaureate engineering education, particularly for individuals in industry and business.

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