2011 Research Collaborations
The following faculty were awarded funding for the 2011-2012 academic year. Below is a short abstract of all research funded through the EPAP program.
Bala Natarajan, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering
Ruth Douglas Miller, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering
Their research: Research by Natarajan and Miller involves modeling turbulence to determine its impact on siting wind turbines, and energy production from small wind turbines in cluttered environments. The researchers use computational fluid dynamics — or CFD — simulations to understand the impact of operating small turbines in turbulent environments close to a home/office, where trees or buildings affect wind flow. They also research how turbulence affects the physical structure of the turbine. Early findings indicate that it is possible to offset some of the effects of turbulence with appropriate design of power electronics within a turbine. Natarajan and Miller plan further research in the area.
Anil Pahwa, professor of electrical and computer engineering
Sanjoy Das, associate professor of electrical and computer engineer
Their research: Research by Pahwa and Das is helping utility companies better identify where problems and power outages occur in electrical distribution systems connected to homes. By combining Pahwa's knowledge of power systems and Das' expertise with modeling and optimization, the researchers are creating an identification method based on idiotypic networks, which is a form of biological mapping in electrical systems. The researchers have made the method work in smaller systems and are getting ready to test it on a larger system based on real data.
Caterina Scoglio, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering
Her research: Her research: Scoglio has led two student EPAP-funded projects related to the topic of robustness of power grids and incorporation of renewable energy. One project involves the evaluation of the robustness of the transmission grid with respect to cascading failures. The research looks at using different mitigation strategies, including islanding with the use of renewable distributed sources, to minimize the impact of cascading failures. Another project evaluated the robustness of the communication networks associated with power grids to find results on how failures in one network can affect the other network, and how the robustness of the power grid may be improved by proper interconnection with the communication network.
Stewart Stanton, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering
Shelli Starrett, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering
Their research: Stanton and Starrett have led a research group of seven graduate and undergraduate students in looking at voltage stability and how to keep the interconnected transmission grid working. Because voltage collapses happen spontaneously and can lead to wide-area blackouts, the researchers looked at ways to monitor the power system and make sure it stays stable. The students were able to use different computer tools to simulate and measure the power system. By doing so, they could better understand where weaknesses occurred and they could characterize the system to help build better models.
Warren N. White, associate professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering
His research: As a mechanical engineer, White is researching how to build better wind turbines. He has looked at power capture and how to get the most power possible from the wind. White has also researched wind turbulence and how it causes vibrations in turbines. Vibrations on the turbine blades can tear up a turbine's transmission and lessen the life of the turbine. White is working on ways to better measure and sense vibrations so that he can determine how to minimize their influence.