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Power Networks CDT

Man setting up equipment in light blue and black anechoic chamber


The University of Manchester has a range of facilities to support both laboratory scale, simulation and demonstration scale research activities.

Explore our facilities below, and contact us with any enquiries.

Laboratory scale facilities

The University is home to the National Grid Power Systems High Voltage Laboratory, the UK’s largest high voltage (HV) laboratory, which houses an 800 kV AC test set, a 600 kV DC test set and a 2.3 MV impulse generator, collectively capable of testing equipment intended for operation on all existing high voltage networks in the UK.

High voltage laboratory individual experimental cage
High voltage laboratory individual experimental cage

The main HV laboratory is complemented by a number of smaller laboratories including a 10 kVA transformer used for thermal testing of equipment and others with specialist facilities such as partial discharge detectors.

The dielectric materials analysis laboratory has all the necessary material ageing, processing and measurement devices for condition assessment of dielectric liquids and solids used in power network plant including various on-line Dissolved Gas Analysis devices, particle counter and pulsed electro-acoustics space charge tester.

Three "secondary system" laboratories contain numerous measurement, protection, control and communication systems, an integrated Ethernet based transmission bay and substation demonstration facility, several "intelligent electronic device" test sets including: an analogue transmission line test bench and a unique intelligent electrical power networks evaluation facility.

The hydraulics laboratory includes a unidirectional wave tank and a combined wave and tidal current flume for detailed study of offshore infrastructure loading. Analysis of component reliability required to enable cost reduction is supported by the availability of a structural dynamics laboratory.

Demonstration and living-laboratory scale facilities

Manchester owns a campus HV and LV electrical distribution network that includes photo-voltaic, storage and distributed generation. The network is fitted with smart grid technologies including Ethernet communications, high resolution metering and recording of voltage, current, power, harmonic and transient levels, and the first example of broadband over an HV cable system.

A grid scale energy storage test and demonstration facility will allow the connection of storage of up to 1MVA to the campus network which can be monitored and controlled using the Real Time Digital Simulation hardware-in-the-loop capability.

The University of Manchester collaborates closely with the Greater Manchester Energy Strategy Group on a number of projects to address the de-carbonisation of heat including the £20m demonstrator funded by the Japanese government. The University also works closely with the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities on their energy policy and is actively involved in the DECC Low Carbon Hub.