Cummins does not miss a beat in its energy source diversification strategies and the PIC is a demonstration of this. Cummins‘ competitive advantage over other competitors is its deployment in any application. Because when it comes to energy, today, 17 August 2022, the day the Power Integration Centre was unveiled, and more and more, one day after another, means anticipating the spread of electrified and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
PIC is the new Cummins microgrid testing laboratory
What could be better than a certain where you can test every single component, check its integration, do research and development and make it available to end users for customisation? PIC therefore means this and more, much more than the acronym of Power Integration Centre. Based on the Fridley Cummins PG facility, in Minnesota, “the PIC is the realization of a significant investment in engineering technology and innovation that will impact how companies use and build power systems to meet sustainability goals for a greener future” says Gary Johansen, Vice President – Power Systems Engineering and Project Sponsor.
Why and how
According to the company, the Power Integration Centre allows the ability to experiment with multiple potential power systems solutions directly along with Cummins engineers.
“With this center, we’ll be able to enhance our offering throughout the product life cycle” said Satish Jayaram, IDEA Program Office Leader and Project Sponsor. “We’ll reduce the cost and time it takes to test and validate solutions and have the capability to showcase these solutions with customers and partners“. The PIC spans 20,000 square feet of lab space including an outdoor test area, main switchgear room, electrical mezzanine and engineering control room. POWERTRAIN magazine, together with American journalists, insiders and professionals, we have been to each of these environments. We will report extensively on all this in the first post-nautical season issue of POWERTRAIN. At the moment we give you a glimpse of what PIC means to Cummins. The key word is flexibility. Gary Johansen replies. “It’s completely flexible to a wide range of energy and power sources as well as numerous different flexible loads, and we have very flexible infrastructures that enable us to quickly change the control and power connections for all these systems in response to shifting customer and market demands. Flexibility like this is what they really need,” Johansen said.
Meanwhile, we proceed with the overview: The outdoor test area includes five 500 kW test pads and two 2000 kW test pads, which can be connected as sources or loads. Two 500 kW load programable pods banks allow for scenarios to be run using real customer loading profile data, at up to 0.8 leading or lagging power factor.
Indoor switchgear lineups
Three indoor switchgear lineups connect the different assets in the lab, as well as tie in the site utility connection. A 500 kW permanently installed roof-mounted PV-system is connected to the labs well as PV and energy storage simulators for testing various types of inverters. Thee engineering control room includes workstations where technicians can access all elements of the microgrid system, and work collaboratively with customers and technical partners.
“We are always looking for ways to react to the needs of the market and improve our business” added Johansen. “Our customers are placing an even higher value on flexible and well-integrated solutions and this center will help us speed up the time it takes to deliver these new solutions.“
As we previously stated, flexibility is the key to comprehending and implementing market trends as well as making sense of the term “energy transition”. And Cummins do it.