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Electrical Power Affiliates Program

Congratulations to the following faculty for being awarded funding for the 2013-2014 academic year.  Below is a short abstract of all research currently underway through the EPAP program.


Warren White

Warren White, associate professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering

Active Control of Wind Turbine Rotor Shaft Vibrations

The wind turbine gearbox is the most vulnerable part of the device and repairs are extremely expensive. The main source of these difficulties is the turbine shaft. In-plane blade vibration and changing winds produce torsional oscillations from the rotor hub through the gearbox and finally the generator. Out-of-plane blade vibrations cause the rotor shaft to bend (the same way you would snap a twig). This project seeks to limit the torsional vibrations using suitable control of the generator torque. By controlling the blade pitch, the project seeks to limit the shaft bending. Active control of vibrations is the most cost effective tool for turbine life extension.


  Bala Natarajan    Anil Pahwa    Larry Erickson

Bala Natarajan, professor of electrical and computer engineering

Anil Pahwa, professor and Logan-Fetterhoof Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty of Distinction Chair

Larry Erickson, professor of chemical engineering

Coordinated EV Charging from a Techno-Economic Perspective

Thanks to their environmental, social and economic benefits, electric vehicles (EVs) are expected to become a major component of the power grid. Studies have illustrated the inability of the current distribution system to accommodate a high penetration of EVs. The question that we seek to address in this research effort is the following - how can we manage/control in a coordinated manner both EV charging as well as non-EV loads, renewable energy based distributed generators to best maintain grid stability and reliability while maximizing the payoffs for the stakeholders?The results and findings from our work will help grid operators to evaluate and plan future investments related to both EV charging stations as well as distributed generation.


Amy Betz    Steve Eckels

Amy Betz, assistant professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering

Steve Eckles, professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering

Enhanced Powerplant Cooling to Reduce Water Withdrawal and Consumption 

In this work, we are investigating enhanced condensation in water systems using microstructured surfaces. We expect microstructured surfaces to increase condensation heat transfer due to their increased surface area, potential to thin the liquid film at the surface, increased convection in the liquid film, and increased drop-wise condensation. By enhancing condensation we can lower the output temperature of a turbine and increase the overall thermal efficiency of a cycle and decrease the condenser load. This research will be conducted by undergraduate students and the test setup will be used in courses in the Mechanical Engineering Department.


Natalie Mladenov    Ganga Hettiarachchi    Stacy Hutchinson

Natalie Mladenov, assistant professor of civil engineering

Ganga Hettiarachchi, associate professor of agronomy

Stacy Hutchinson, associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering 

Improving Quality of Powerplant Wastewater Using Constructed Wetland Systems

Toxic trace elements, such as selenium, arsenic, and mercury, are routinely removed from the air emissions of coal-fired powerplants using flue-gas-desulfurization (FGD) technology. Toxic trace elements and other pollutants ultimately become concentrated in FGD wastewater discharge and pose a threat to water quality. The research proposed will evaluate the sequestration of toxic trace elements using constructed wetlands. The performance of native Kansas soil and soil amended with biochar and biosolids will be assessed. Field visits to Jeffrey’s Energy Center will be incorporated into the PIs’ graduate level wastewater and soil chemistry courses.


Caterina Scoglio    Don Gruenbacher    Ali Sydney

Caterina Scoglio, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering

Don Gruenbacher, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering

Ali Sydney, graduate research assistant of electrical and computer engineering

Smart-Grid Networking Protocols Design and Implementation in GENI

The Smart Grid concept includes the application of advanced networking and power technologies to obtain a highly automated, responsive, and resilient, transmission and distribution infrastructure. This project develops smart grid networking solutions through rigorous analysis and experimentation in the real-world environment and on the national scale that incorporates the Smart Grid resources from the Smart Grid Lab at K-State, and networking resources of both K-State and the GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovations) testbeds. The objectives for this work are subdivided into three phases:

  1. Develop protocols and algorithms to communicate among components of the power grid considering characteristics and requirements of generated traffic.
  2. Develop mathematical models to evaluate and optimize the performance of the proposed protocols.
  3. Implement the proposed protocols and algorithms in a simulation environment, and deploy working prototypes within the K-State Smart Grid Lab and GENI.


 Anil Pahwa

Anil Pahwa, professor and Logan-Fetterhoof Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty of Distinction Chair

Support for the 2013 North American Power Symposium to be held at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, September 22-24, 2013

This symposium is a forum where students and their professors can present and publish research ideas and results with a minimum time delay. The conference format is designed to promote interaction between established leaders from academia and industry representing a wide range of expertise in energy and power systems, postdoctoral scientists, and graduate students. This allows NAPS participants to contribute and advance the state of the art toward a safer and more reliable power grid. EPAP’s financial support for activities related to the conference will help greatly in achieving this goal.