The 11th Annual Industry Conference will be held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Student Center, and Min H. Kao Engineering Building on April 18-19, 2023. Accommodations will be at the Cumberland House (Hilton) Hotel next to the university campus.









Invited Speaker Presentations and Research Thrust Overviews will all be held in Room 169 in the University Student Center on April 18 & 19.  Lab Tours and Poster Sessions will be at the Min H. Kao Building on the University of Tennessee campus on the same days.  Lunch will be provided in Room 169.  The Industry & Faculty Dinner Meeting will be in the Cumberland House dining room on the night of April 18. (A more detailed schedule will be sent to attendees a few weeks before the conference begins)



Hotel garage parking is available for a charge of $20 per day and will be available with your hotel registration.  The hotel is within walking distance of the University campus.  CURENT will provide van shuttle services for any attendees who require it.  



Recommended service:

  • Uber
  • LYFT
  • Knoxville World Class Taxi (865-691-1900) 



Cumberland House—Information forthcoming

Min H. Kao Building

  • UTK NETWORK--ut-visitor-(no password is needed, your browser will prompt you to enter your email address to register. If not, visit guest.utk.edu to log in.)


Please contact Michael Rogers at 865-661-2037 or MRoger69@utk.edu if any issues arise.



Keynote Speaker Presentations 


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

13:30 - 14:00   Ben Kroposki (NREL)

Title: Grid-forming Inverters and the UNIFI Consortium

Abstract: As the prices of wind, solar, and batteries continue to decline, these technologies will start to make up increasingly larger parts of the clean energy portfolio. All of these technologies are based on inverters to interconnect to the power grid instead of synchronous generators used in conventional power plants. At all timescales, it is important to maintain stable and reliable grid operations. With the increasing use of inverter-based resources and reduction in the use of synchronous generation there are a variety of technical challenge that must be overcome. These include: operational stability, protection system coordination, blackstart capability, and power system harmonics and oscillations. This presentation will discuss how to integrate large amounts of inverter-based resources into power grids, the need for grid forming inverters, and the work of the new UNIFI Consortium to address these issues.


14:00 - 14:30 Daniel Brooks (EPRI) 

Title: Grid Capabilities and Technologies to Enable a Net-Zero Economy by Mid-Century

Abstract: In November 2021, the Biden administration reaffirmed its goal for the U.S. to reach net-zero economy-wide GHG emissions by 2050 with nearer-term objectives of reaching 50% reduction by 2030.  EPRI recently published analyses of technology deployments to achieve the 50% by 2030 and 2050 net-zero target.  EPRI will present selected results from these EPRI decarbonization analyses to provide context for the significant changes that will be required for the electric sector.  



14:30 - 15:00   Jeffrey Csank (NASA)

Title: NASA Lunar Surface Operations and Power Grid

Abstract: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Artemis Program is developing, testing, and demonstrating new capabilities and technologies required to support a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface and a longer-term vision of sending astronauts to Mars. Artemis lunar surface operations will begin with robotically exploring the lunar south polar regions for locations suitable for harvesting lunar surface resources. Over time activities on the lunar surface will expand beyond robotic operations to human lunar surface operations with the delivery of a lunar habitat and in[1]situ resource utilization (ISRU) assets increasing the need for highly reliable and available electrical power. As operations move beyond the Artemis technology demonstrations and exploration activities towards full commercial lunar surface activities, the ability to expand the original envisioned Artemis power system and repurpose power system components to support commercial activities will be crucial. One technology that will be necessary to support commercial lunar operations is a power grid. A lunar surface power grid would offer the ability to integrate various power sources to maximize power availability, including fission surface power (nuclear), solar arrays, batteries, and regenerative fuel cells. Newly designed terrestrial microgrids are flexible and can be designed to allow for islanded operation, where power is utilized near the loads to minimize power distribution losses or in a power sharing mode where power is transmitted longer distances. This capability is crucial during failures where overall power availability is reduced, and load demand exceeds generation/storage capability. These terrestrial microgrids will also allow for the power system to grow and evolve over time, meeting the need to expand beyond initial lunar surface activities. This presentation will discuss the NASA Artemis plans, potential power system architectures, and power distribution options that will enable growth from initial technology demonstrations towards a lunar economy with a lunar surface power grid that offers many of the advantages of terrestrial microgrids.


Wednesday, April 19, 2023

9:30 - 10:00   Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner (Volkswagen)

Title: Electrification in America - Volkswagen’s journey to zero emissions

Abstract:  As a brand filled with traditions and icons such as the memorable bug and our iconic VW bus, the latest addition to the Volkswagen family in the US – the ID.4 – is purely electric. Assembled in Chattanooga, TN, the ID.4 symbolizes another milestone in Volkswagen’s ambitious electrification strategy. The Volkswagen Group plans to roll out the broadest electrified portfolio in the North American market and we will further increase our footprint in the US by building up dedicated EV capabilities in engineering, research and development, assembly, components production, and strong supplier partnerships. This presentation will present Volkswagen’s journey in the US, the special framework of the US automotive market and our strategic goals for our customers and brand.


10:00- 10:30  Juan Castaneda (Southern California Edison) 

Title: TBD

Abstract: TBD


Keynote Speaker Bios

Picture-Ben Kroposki.pngDr. Ben Kroposki, PhD, PE, IEEE Fellow
Director – Power Systems Engineering Center
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Dr. Ben Kroposki is the Director of the Power Systems Engineering Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) where he leads NREL’s strategic research in the design, planning and operations of electrical power systems. He has over 30 years of experience in the design, testing, and integration of renewable and distributed power systems and has more than 150 publications in these areas with over 10,000 citations. Dr. Kroposki received his BSEE and MSEE from Virginia Tech and Ph.D. from the Colorado School of Mines. Dr. Kroposki is the recipient of the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) Ramakumar Family Renewable Energy Excellence Award whichrecognizes outstanding contributions in the field of developing, utilizing and integrating renewable energy resources in the national and global energy scenarios. As an IEEE Fellow, Dr. Kroposki was recognized for his leadership in renewable and distributed energy systems integration. Dr. Kroposki is also an Adjunct Professor at the Colorado School of Mines and University of Colorado and teaches courses on integrating renewable energy into power systems. Dr. Kroposki serves as the organizational director for the Universal interoperability for Grid-forming Inverters (UNIFI) consortium tackling the challenges with seamless integration of inverter-based resources and synchronous machines in all power systems.

D.Brooks_Bio Photo.jpgDaniel Brooks
Vice President of Integrated Grid & Energy Systems

Daniel Brooks is Vice President of Integrated Grid and Energy Systems at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). In this role, he leads teams responsible for EPRI's research, development, and demonstration of integrated energy systems planning, delivery systems planning, grid and market operations, and the integration of renewables, energy storage, and distributed energy resources. Brooks joined EPRI in 2004 as manager of the renewables integration research and power system studies teams. From 2011 to 2019, he managed the Grid Operations and Planning research area as a Senior Program Manager and Director responsible for transmission and distribution system operations and planning research. Prior to joining EPRI, Brooks was Manager of Power System Studies for the consulting company Electrotek Concepts managing a team of modeling and simulation experts conducting power quality and renewables integration research and transmission and distribution planning and operations consulting services to electric utilities, equipment vendors, and other stakeholders. Brooks earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University and his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Tennessee, Martin. He is member of the Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee, a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Tennessee, and a Senior Member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society.

Picture-Jeff Csank.jpgJeffrey Csank
Electrical Engineer

Jeffrey Csank is an Electrical Engineer in the Power Management and Distribution Branch of the Power Systems Division at the NASA Glenn Research Center. Mr Csank received his MS of Electrical Engineering from Cleveland State University in 2007. Since 2016, Mr Csank has been leading the development an autonomous power control capability for human rated deep space exploration vehicles and is currently serving as the Advanced Modular Power Systems (AMPS) project manager. Mr Csank has been advocating to investigate and develop technologies for a lunar microgrid including the Universal Modular Interface Converter (UMIC) that will enable long distance power transmission on the Moon.

Dr. Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner.jpg

Dr. Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner
Engineering Vice President & Chief Engineering Officer
Volkswagen Group

Dr. Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner is the Engineering Vice President & Chief Engineering Officer of the Volkswagen Group of America at VW’s US Headquarter in Herndon, VA, where he is at the forefront of VW’s electric transformation in the North American region. Under his leadership, Dr. Demmelbauer-Ebner oversees all VW Engineering locations and activities within Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

Prior to his current role, he held various leading positions within the Volkswagen Group, as Head of Gasoline Engine Development and Head of Powertrain Development at the Volkswagen Group Headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, as well as Head of Engine Development at Audi Hungaria Zrt., Hungary and Head of Diesel Engine Development at SEAT S.A. in Spain.

Dr. Demmelbauer-Ebner graduated with a diploma (Dipl.-Ing.) and a doctorate (Dr. techn.) in Mechanical Engineering from the Technical University of Vienna, Austria.

In his free time, Dr. Demmelbauer-Ebner is a passionate aviator, sailor, skier, and mountaineer, with the latter preferably in the mountains of his home country of Austria.

Invited Keynote Speakers:

Daniel Brooks
Vice President of Integrated Grid & Energy Systems
Electric Power Research Institute

Juan Castaneda
Principal Manager of Grid Technology Innovation
Southern California Edison

Jeff Csank
Electrical Engineer

Dr. Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner
Engineering VP & Chief Engineering Officer
Volkswagen, North American Region

Dr. Ben Kroposki
Director-Power Systems Engineering Center
National Renewable Energy Laboratory