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Summer 2020 REU Program

REU Profiles

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REU Summer Lecture Series

Join us for a summer lecture series on all things CURENT. Zoom link is here and password is 298268 unless otherwise specified. All interested students are welcome to attend. 

July 2, 2020 - Thursday from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Voltage Stability Assessment using an Algorithm Based on Local Phasor Measurements and Thévenin Equivalents
Alan P. Ferreira, PhD Candidate at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and visiting scholar at RPI
Recording

June 26, 2020 - Friday from 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Magnetics - The Black Magic to Power Conversion Systems
Dr. Helen Cui, Assistant Professor, UTK
Recording

June 25, 2020 - Thursday from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Modeling and Co-Simulation in Cyber-Physical Power Systems
Dr. Hantao Cui, Research Assistant Professor, UTK
Recording

June 19, 2020 - Friday from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

PMU Missing Data Recovery using Tensor Decomposition
Dr. Denis Osipov, Postdoctoral Research Associate, RPI 
Recording

June 18, 2020 - Thursday from 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Shaping the Future of Electricity
Summer Fabus, Alex Magerko, Cameron Riley and Dr. Ben York, EPRI
Via WebEx - Link is here
Recording

June 16, 2020 - Tuesday from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Reconfigurable Power Electronics Based Electric Grid Emulator
Dr. Leon Tolbert, Professor, UTK and CURENT Testbed Thrust Leader
Recording

June 15, 2020 - Monday from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Power System Dynamics and Transient Stability
Stavros Konstntinopoulos, RPI Doctoral Student
Recording

June 12, 2020 - Friday from 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Predicting Labor Market Competition and Employee Mobility 
Dr. Yunyang Liu, Associate Professor 
Recording

June 10, 2020 - Wednesday from 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Using data analytics to enhance industrial control system cybersecurity 
Dr. Fan Zhang, Postdoctoral Researcher, Dept of Nuclear Engineering 
Recording

June 8, 2020 - Monday from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Battery Balancers with xEVs 
Dr. Kevin Bai, Associate Professor 
Recording

June 4, 2020 - Thursday from 10:00 am to 11:00 am

A Smart and Flexible Microgrid with Dynamic Boundary 
Dr. Lin Zhu, Research Assistant Professor
Recording

June 3, 2020 - Wednesday from 1:00 pm to 1:45 pm

Beyond Technology: Explaining the influence of Social-psychological and Demographics on Technology Adoption and Energy Usage 
Dr. Chien-fei Chen, CURENT Education and Diversity Director 
Recording

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Abstract and Bios 

July 2, 2020 - Thursday from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Voltage Stability Assessment using an Algorithm Based on Local Phasor Measurements and Thévenin Equivalents
Alan P. Ferreira, PhD Candidate at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and visiting scholar at RPI

Abstract: This presentation aims to show the performance of a Synchronized Phasor Measurements-based Algorithm developed for performing real-time Voltage Stability Assessment in Electrical Power Systems (EPS). For that, some introduction regarding the Problem of Stability in EPS, Voltage Stability, and Synchronized Phasor Measurements are intended to be briefly covered.

Bio: Alan P. Ferreira (S’14) received the B.Sc. degree in 2014 from the State University of Rio de Janeiro and the M.Sc. degree in 2017 from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro/COPPE, all in electrical engineering. He is currently working toward the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro/COPPE, Brazil. As part of his research development, currently, he is being a Visiting Scholar at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, USA. Since 2017, he has been with the Electrical Engineering Department, Federal Center for Technological Education/CEFET/RJ, Brazil, where he is currently an Assistant Professor. His research interests include power system dynamics, mainly regarding voltage stability analysis, synchronized phasor data, and renewable generation in distribution systems.

June 26, 2020 - Friday from 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Magnetics - The Black Magic to Power Conversion Systems
Dr. Helen Cui, Assistant Professor, UTK

Abstract: Magnetic materials and components plays an important role in power conversion systems. Highly compact and efficient magnetic designs are critical in improving the converter's overall performance significantly. However, conventional design and modeling of magnetic components largely reply on behavioral-level regression methodologies that lack theoretical guidance and feasibility for advanced applications. This talk starts from the basics of magnetics modeling and design, and then discusses some advanced development and novel applications of magnetics. Challenges and opportunities for magnetic design in high-frequency, high-density applications are also highlighted. Advanced techniques for modeling, packaging, and design should not only provide powerful tools for analyzing magnetic-related issues in the next generation power electronics; but also inspire cross-disciplinary implementations and novel applications.

Bio: Dr. Helen Cui joined CURENT as an assistant professor in January 2020. Before she move to Knoxville, she was a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. She received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Tianjin University, Tianjin, China, in 2011, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, in 2013 and 2017, respectively, both in electrical engineering. Her research interests include magnetic components for high-density and low-loss operations; magnetic material modeling in power electronics with wide-bandgap devices. 

June 25, 2020 - Thursday from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Modeling and Co-Simulation in Cyber-Physical Power Systems
Dr. Hantao Cui, Research Assistant Professor, UTK

Abstract: With the advancement of communication systems and renewable power generation, modern electric power systems are undergoing significant upgrades to become an integrated cyber-physical system. This research work explores the modeling and co-simulation technologies for renewable energy integration and system security enhancement in an integrated cyber-physical system testbed. In particular, this work studies the integration of differential algebraic equation (DAE)-based dynamic power simulation with communication network and data-driven applications. This presentation first introduces a communication network-in-the-loop simulation architecture for mimicking the real-world systems with simulated phasor measurement unit (PMU) data streaming, energy management, and measurement-based control, all of which are developed as an open-source software suite for the CURENT Large-scale Testbed (LTB). In order to distribute physically coupled devices into multiple software simulations, this paper proposes a data broker setup based on a distributed messaging environment to achieve low-latency data streaming. Case studies verified the data broker setup for low-latency sensing and actuation as well as the communication emulation set up for the desired network latency. The second part of the presentation describes a symbolic framework to simplify the modeling and simulation of DAE-based power system devices. The framework is designed with a goal of making modeling as simple as typing equations and simulations as fast as crafted code. Design philosophy and implementation details are given as an example of a general-purpose symbolic library tailored for power system transient simulation. The framework is validated with power flow calculation and transient simulation with the classical generator model.

Bio: Hantao Cui is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Tennessee. He is the technical lead of the CURENT Large-Scale Testbed (LTB). He earned his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tennessee in 2018 focusing on power system simulation.

June 19, 2020 - Friday from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

PMU Missing Data Recovery using Tensor Decomposition
Dr. Denis Osipov, Postdoctoral Research Associate, RPI

Abstract: Phasor measurement units (PMUs) are becoming more widespread throughout utilities in North America. Synchrophasors, obtained from PMUs, are utilized in various control and remedial action schemes for improving reliable operation of power systems. These controls require accurate and uninterrupted flow of data from PMUs. However, due to communication network congestion and other reasons, some data may be lost. This talk demonstrates a new approach for the recovery of missing PMU data. The approach is based on the application of tensor decomposition to PMU data organized as three-dimensional tensors with respect to time, location and type of variables. The organization of the PMU data is in the form of a bus-oriented data structure and a branch-oriented data structure. The approach is validated on the measured PMU data in the New York transmission system.

Bio: Denis Osipov received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering from Donetsk National Technical University, Donetsk, Ukraine in 2004 and 2005 respectively. He received his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN in 2018. He is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, USA. His research interests include power system stability, modeling and monitoring.

June 18, 2020 - Thursday from 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Shaping the Future of Electricity
Summer Fabus, Alex Magerko, Cameron Riley and Dr. Ben York, EPRI

Abstract: Utility goals to achieve clean energy portfolios, government policies, and customer interest in carbon-free electricity have stimulated the growth of renewable resources, with many of these resources being connected to distribution systems. Integrating distribution-connected resources can bring additional challenges to grid operators due to their variability and intermittency. Thus, utilities are seeking ways to efficiently control, store, and utilize renewable energy to maintain grid reliability and balance. The Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Integration team at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is exploring utility industry technical and economic challenges to integrate distributed solar, battery storage, and other DER. A significant part of DER Integration is understanding the behavior of DER out in the field and how DER may be controlled for maximum operational benefits. The DER Strategic Projects team works directly with distribution utilities by running large-scale field demonstrations of DER technologies. Field demonstrations may involve several stages depending on the project, including project design, laboratory evaluation, modeling and simulation, data collection, and analytics. This seminar will provide a background on EPRI and DER Strategic Projects, along with a few example demonstrations executed at utilities throughout the United States.

Bios: Summer Fabus graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Master’s in Electrical Engineering and Master’s in Business Administration in 2019. She has been working at EPRI for over a year in DER Strategic Projects. At EPRI, she assists with data analytics, performs cost-benefit analyses to implement DER technologies, and researches strategies for DER control and communication.

Alex Magerko graduated from the University of Illinois with a Master’s in Electrical Engineering and has now been working at EPRI for over three years in the Integration of DER program. There, he assists with large-scale demonstration projects related to photovoltaics (PV), energy storage, and other power distribution technologies. Specifically, he helps orchestrate execution of the projects, develops test plans, facilitates data intake, and analyzes field data.

Cameron Riley works in the Integration of DER team primarily focusing on data analysis, machine learning, and smart inverters. Cameron provides analytics for a variety of projects working with field-collected, simulated, and synthetic data sets. Cameron received his M.S. degree in electrical engineering focusing on power electronics in 2014 from the University of Tennessee and has been with EPRI for the past six years. 

Dr. Ben York manages the DER Strategic Projects team for EPRI, which seeks to apply EPRI research to current DER systems integration and interconnection challenges at utilities worldwide. Ben also leads ongoing research and technical discussions around inverter behavior, power quality, and distribution system grounding. Ben received his Ph.D. degree from Virginia Tech in power electronics and has been with EPRI for the past seven years. 

June 16, 2020 - Tuesday from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Reconfigurable Power Electronics Based Electric Grid Emulator
Dr. Leon Tolbert, Professor, UTK and CURENT Testbed Thrust Leader

Abstract: This presentation will describe a power electronics based hardware testbed that can emulate an electric grid’s generation, loads, storage, and transmission network and perform several real-time scenarios while incorporating real measurement, control, communication, estimation, and actuation in the system.  The system can be used to represent faults, future grids with high levels of renewable penetration, and a multi-terminal HVDC overlay.  

The testbed has been used to represent a future North American grid model that has high penetration levels of renewables (>80%) and also for representing a distribution-level microgrid that has a flexible boundary and multiple points of grid connection.  The tool has been useful in developing control, protection, and measurements needed for the future electric grid.

Bio: Leon M. Tolbert received the Bachelor’s, M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech. He worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN, from 1991 until 1999 on electric distribution and power quality projects. He joined the University of Tennessee in 1999, and he is currently the Min H. Kao Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Dr. Tolbert is a Fellow of the IEEE and a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Tennessee. He conducts research in utility applications of power electronics including microgrids, interface with renewable energy sources, and medium voltage multilevel converters incorporating silicon carbide power devices. 

June 15, 2020 - Monday from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Power System Dynamics and Transient Stability
Stavros Konstntinopoulos, RPI Doctoral Student

Abstract: This talk will be an introduction to what is Power System Dynamics, stability, instability, how it can happen and what means does the system have to avoid it. The focus will be then shifted to the transient stability problem and the role renewables will play in the future. An overview of transient stability controls will be given, and the talk will conclude with how the renewable generation can help us with situations that conventional generators were to slow to react to.

Bio: Stavros Konstantinopoulos graduated from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, with his BSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering, in 2015. He got his MSc from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2018 and is working towards his PhD. His research interests involve renewable integration and its impact on transient stability. Especially, he works on the utilization of low or no inertia renewables for enhancement of transient stability margins. Secondly, he has worked on synchrophasor data recovery, detection and source location of Forced Oscillations (FOs) and power equipment controller monitoring, utilizing PMU data.

June 12, 2020

Predicting Labor Market Competition and Employee Mobility 
Dr. Yunyang Liu, Associate Professor, University of Iowa 

Abstract: NA   

Bio: Yuanyang Liu joins Haslam from the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, where he earned his PhD. He is focused on teaching data science-related topics. His research interest centers on business analytics with a specific focus on labor markets. 

June 10, 2020

Using data analytics to enhance industrial control system cybersecurity 
Dr. Fan Zhang, Postdoctoral Researcher, Dept of Nuclear Engineering 

Abstract: Using data analytics to enhance industrial control system cybersecurity The growing number of cyber-attacks against industrial control systems (ICSs) in recent years elevates the urgent need for research focused on enhancing cybersecurity in industry. As ICS systems are deployed for high-value and safety-critical systems, security requirements are evolving to include the resilience of cyber-attacks. Currently, the common approaches to industrial cybersecurity focus on signature-based intrusion prevention and network segregation, which may be inadequate for a well-motivated cyber-attack. Another issue exists across the domain of ICS cybersecurity in that the information technology (IT) experts who monitor the cyber infrastructure and the operational technology (OT) engineers who monitor the processes are largely independent. Lack of cross-disciplinary background and team integration may result in insufficient understanding of the whole scenario when a cyber-attack event happens. Therefore, a comprehensive cybersecurity solution platform was developed to detect the cyber-attacks based on data analytics from both the IT and OT domains. In addition, data-driven models were developed to enhance the cybersecurity and fault tolerance of local key equipment in the industry process, such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

Bio: Dr. Fan Zhang is working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Nuclear Engineering department at UTK to lead the effort of a DoE-awarded Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) “A Cyber-Attack Detection Platform for Cyber Security of Digital Instrumentation and Control Systems.” Dr. Zhang obtained a Doctorate in Nuclear Engineering and a Master's in Statistics from University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research focused on the cybersecurity of industrial control systems and nuclear power plant online monitoring using data analytics methods. She has been invited to Toronto, Vienna, Beijing, Daejeon, and Fredericton by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for both technical consultation and to present her cybersecurity research.

June 8, 2020 

Battery Balancers with xEVs 
Dr. Kevin Bai, Associate Professor 

Abstract: Battery and power electronics are the enablers of electric vehicles. When series connected to form the whole battery packs, battery cells need be well balanced in terms of the voltage, current and state-of-charge. In this seminar, three types of the balancing technology will be introduced, with their pros and cons compared. In addition, students will also learn how to assemble battery with engines and generators to build the whole EVs or HEVs.   

Bio: Kevin (Hua) Bai received BS and PHD degree from Department of Electrical Engineering of Tsinghua University, Beijing, China in 2002 and 2007, respectively. Bai was a postdoctoral fellow in University of Michigan-Dearborn from 2007 to 2010. In 2010 he joined Kettering University (former General Motor Institute) as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2015. He became the associate professor in EECS, UTK since August, 2018. His research interests include power electronics with motor drives, EV battery chargers, DC/DC converters and battery management systems. He is the author of 2 books, >100 IEEE papers and hold 12 industrial patents, and act as the associate editor of SAE International Journal of Electrified Vehicles. 

June 4, 2020

A Smart and Flexible Microgrid with Dynamic Boundary 
Dr. Lin Zhu, Research Assistant Professor

Abstract: Microgrids (MGs), with their distributed energy resources (DER) and ability to operate both in grid-connected and islanded modes, can significantly improve reliability and resilience of the power grid. For example, when a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Sandy, caused millions of customers to be without electricity for weeks and billions of dollars of economic losses, MGs could have made an appreciable difference. A MG controller is essential to achieving smooth transition between the grid-connected and islanded operation modes, and also for optimal operation during both modes. While there have been dozens of MG systems developed around the nation since the concept was proposed a decade ago, almost all of them were deployed for serving special sites such as military bases, or university/ business campuses. MGs have not yet been commercially utilized for communities in the U.S due partly to the high cost of added energy resources such as battery energy storage systems, and also due to the high deployment cost of sensors, communication infrastructure, and proprietary controllers.

ARPA-E is funding CURENT UTK team to develop and demonstrate a community-based smart and flexible MG with an open source scalable MG controller for enhanced functionality and low cost. One end project objective is to have the controller developed, tested and ready for commercialization. Based on the smart distribution system of the CURENT member Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB), the MG and its controller will make use of the existing intelligent switches and fiber optics links for control and communications. Minimum number of new switches, sensors or communication links will be needed. In addition, flexible grid interface points will be featured in this project for better asset use, reliability, and economics. In addition to EPB, other industry partners on the project include CURENT industry members National Instruments (NI), Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The Green Energy Corp (GEC) will work as the commercialization partner.

Bio: Lin Zhu is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Tennessee. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in 2005 and 2011, respectively. His current research activities focus on large-scale power system dynamics, smart distribution grid, and microgrid. He is PI or Co-PI of 8 projects sponsored by NSF and industry.

June 3, 2020 

Beyond Technology: Explaining the influence of Social-psychological and Demographics on Technology Adoption and Energy Usage 
Dr. Chien-fei Chen, CURENT Education and Diversity Director 

Abstract: This talk presents an transdisciplinary view of energy research between social-psychology, demand response and energy behaviors by adding the importance’s of social-psychological and demographic factors. During this talk, Dr. Chen will present the results of several large-scale of surveys and specific measures of social-psychological factors such as trust in utilities, social norms, behavioral control and so on in demand response, acceptance of home management system and electric vehicles. More importantly, this talk presents the critical issue of energy justice by examining the low-income households’ energy affordability and accessibility to energy appliances and smart grid technology. This talk provides important insights for engineers, policy makers and research community.

Bio: Dr. Chien-fei Chen is a research associate professor and director of education and diversity program at the National Science Foundation funded engineering research center, Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks (CURENT), Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). She is also an adjunct faculty in the department of sociology at the UTK.

Dr. Chen’s research centers in the areas of environmental sociology, pro-environmental behavior, renewable energy adoption, and energy justice. Specifically, her research goals are to: 1) foster interdisciplinary research and social-technological integration in the areas of power grid resilience, energy conservation behaviors, energy inequality among underserved communities, and barriers to alternative sources of energy supply; 2) integrate social-psychological theories and methodology, and human decision-making processes into engineering modeling to better understand power systems, and acceptance of renewable energy technology; 3) analyze human’s energy saving behaviors to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions; and 4) provide fundamental interdisciplinary knowledge to research community, utility companies, and policy makers. Dr. Chen recent publications appear in Building and Environment, Energy, Energy and Buildings, Energy Policy, Energy Research and Social Science (ERSS), Energy and Buildings, Journal of Environmental Psychology, IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, Electric Power Systems Research, and so on.

Since 2018, Dr. Chen serves as an editorial board member of ERSS. Dr. Chen leads the research projects of public acceptance of power grid and renewable technologies and demand response at CURENT based on social-psychological theories and concepts. Dr. Chen has actively involved with several international and interdisciplinary networks including International Energy Agency (IEA), Energy in Buildings and Communities (EBC) Annex 66 and 79. She is also involved with the NSF-REC-SEES Network and serves as the workshop chair for the NSF-RCN SEES-SHBE program “Enhancing Interdisciplinary Education and Diversity in 2016 and “International Workshop on Putting Sustainability into Convergence: Connecting Data, People, and Systems” in 2019. She has received several research awards from NSF and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to conduct the interdisciplinary research regarding wireless communication technology and social-psychological factors as well as remand response, micro-grid resilience and grid technologies. In 2019, Dr. Chen received the Fulbright U.S. Global Scholar Award, her proposal title, “When East Meets West: An Interdisciplinary and Cross-cultural Research on Energy Justice and Renewable Technology Adoption for Future Smart Communities.”

 

Lecture Series Abstracts and Bios 

July 2, 2020

Alan P. Ferreira - Voltage Stability Assessment using an Algorithm Based on Local Phasor Measurements and Thévenin Equivalent

June 26, 2020

Dr. Helen Cui - Magnetics - The Black Magic to Power Conversion Systems

June 25, 2020

Dr. Hantao Cui - Modeling and Co-Simulation in Cyber-Physical Power Systems

June 19, 2020

Dr. Denis Osipov - PMU Missing Data Recovery using Tensor Decomposition

June 18, 2020

Summer Fabus, Alex Magerko, Cameron Riley and Dr. Ben York - Shaping the Future of Electricty

June 16, 2020

Dr. Leon Tolbert - Reconfigurable Power Electronics Based Electric Grid Emulator

June 15, 2020

Stavros Konstntinopoulos - Power System Dynamics and Transient Stability

June 12, 2020 

Dr. Yunyang Liu - Predicting Labor Market Competition and Employee Mobility

June 10, 2020

Dr. Fan Zhang - Using data analytics to enhance industrial control system cybersecurity 

June 8, 2020

Dr. Kevin Bai - Battery Balancers with xEVs

June 4, 2020

Dr. Lin Zhu - A Smart and Flexible Microgrid with Dynamic Boundary 

June 3, 2020

Dr. Chien-Fei Chen - Beyond Technology: Explaining the influence of Social-psychological and Demographics on Technology Adoption and Energy Usage