The following faculty were awarded funding for the 2015-2016 academic year. Below is a short abstract of the research funded through the EPAP program.
Caterina Scoglio, professor of electrical and computer engineering
Don Gruenbacher, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering
The Smart Grid including the application of advanced computer, communications, and power technologies is to obtain a highly automated, responsive, and resilient transmission and distribution infrastructure. At the distribution level, the Smart Grid will integrate distributed renewable generation sources with energy storage, and will provide demand response management to customers through dynamic pricing. At the transmission level, the communication architecture will create a smart
infrastructure that can detect and mitigate faults faster than faults propagate. This provides utility operators with improved efficiency and reliability. Although efforts are on-going to design the next generation communication network within the smart grid framework, the lack of flexibility and programmability of network equipment has impeded the possibility to experiment with new schemes. Consequently, power operators are reluctant to adopt new untested solutions. This proposal, a continuation of a current project, addresses some key issues to allow rigorous experimentation and analysis of smart grid networking solutions in the real-world environment. This work 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) testbed on the national scale.
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
The concept of smart grid evolved in the wake of several electrical blackouts, such as the one in 2003 in the Northeast United States, which resulted in disruption in daily lives of millions of people and substantial economic loss to businesses. One key feature of the smart grid vision is the enhanced awareness and control of the state of the entire power distribution network down to the customer level. This feature is enabled via a combination of smart metering and intelligent control supported by two‐way communication between the customer and the utility. Integration of these technologies also allows higher deployment of large and small‐scale renewable energy resources.
In this work, we propose to develop modeling and analysis tools that will provide fundamental insights on the role of active consumers (consumers with home energy management systems that use real time data on pricing, renewable energy generation and storage to schedule home energy use) on the reliability of power distribution networks. Specifically, a rigorous stochastic modeling of consumer behavior over an entire distribution network will enable utility companies to identify how differential real time pricing can be used to maintain grid stability and reliability while preserving revenue neutrality.
Jeremy Roberts, assistant professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering
Hitesh Bindra, assistant professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering
Recently, the PIs were given access to a rather old nuclear reactor simulator called PRISM developed at MIT in the early 1990’s. The PRISM tool simulates all of the major systems of a typical 4-loop nuclear power plant, such as theWolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station (WCGS). Although the tool has a rather thorough set of physics models (including realistic responses to a variety of accident scenarios), it was implemented using programming tools no longer supported by modern operating systems (e.g., Windows 8). Our goal is to oversee the work of one graduate student and a small team of undergraduate students to rebuild PRISM using modern programming tools and make it available for use on all major operating systems. The completed tool will serve as a central component of a series of tutorials to be developed for in-class and outreach use on the topic of nuclear power operations and safety. It is envisioned that the proposed plant simulator will be able to incorporate aging issues and predict performance characteristics for WCGS.