Grainger CEME

Center for Electric Machinery and Electromechanics

Three CEME PhD Grads Author Microgrids and other Local Area Power and Energy Systems

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CEME PhD grads Alexis Kwasinski (’07) – Associate Professor and R. K. Mellon Faculty Fellow, University of Pittsburgh; Wayne Weaver (’07) – Dave House Associate Professor, Michigan Tech; and Robert S. Balog (’06) – Associate Professor and Director of the Renewable Energy and Advanced Power Electronics Research Laboratory, Texas A&M all earned the PhD degree under Professor Emeritus Philip Krein and co-authored Microgrids and other Local Area Power and Energy Systems. Published by Cambridge University Press, it came out in hardcover on August 31, 2016.  
According to the publisher,  “Microgrids …” describes the “formation, integration, planning, composition and operation of microgrids. It explains how local power systems can address limitations in conventional electric power grids and provides insights into the practical implementation needs and outcomes of microgrid technology. All aspects of microgrid design and applications are covered, including the main technologies involved in microgrids and other local area power and energy systems. The reliability and economic characteristics of microgrid system architecture, energy storage and grid interaction are explored in depth. Over 300 illustrations and real-world application examples make this a fully self-contained resource, ideal for graduate students and professionals in electrical, mechanical and chemical engineering and materials science.”

Two CEME Professors Among Seven ECE Faculty Named Faculty Scholars/Fellows

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Associate Professor Alejandro Domínguez-García was named
William L. Everitt Scholar of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Assistant Professor Robert Pilawa-Podgurski was named Helm Fellow of Electrical and Computer Engineering. According to Provost Communication #6, “Scholar and Fellow appointments are given to faculty to signify a distinction beyond that implied by a normal professorship in the honoree’s department. Named fellows may be given to faculty at the Assistant Professor level or above; these appointments are permanent and come with a one-time award of funds to be used by the designee.”
The Faculty Fellows and Scholars Ceremony honoring all seven professors was held on April 10, 2016.

 

Undergrad Researchers Win Best Innovation Award in 2016 IEEE International Future Energy Challenge

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The 2016 U of I International Future Energy Challenge (IFEC) team of undergraduate researchers, including Grainger CEME Undergrad Research and Leadership awardee Carl Haken, participated in the year-long competition and won the Best Innovation Award at the final event held in July in Taipei, Taiwan. The team’s goal was to build an ac-dc power converter that inputs ac voltage and outputs 400 Volts dc with a greater than 96% conversion efficiency at 1.3 kW. The challenge was to make the converter compact and operate at 65 degrees Celsius. They used a novel circuit topology and digital control loop design never previously explored in this type of power converter. It allowed them to create a much smaller, yet more efficient design than a more conventional method would produce. Competition judges were impressed by the team’s presentation and in-depth understanding of the design. Applications include a more reliable and size-effective solution for data center power delivery architecture.

2016 IFEC team in Taiwan receiving the Best Innovation Award. Professor Pilawa is third from left, Professor Emeritus Krein is next to him, and Carl Haken is second from the right. Professor Krein was instrumental in founding the Future Energy Challenge in 2001, in partnership with the IEEE, the Department of Defense, and the National Association of State Energy Officials. The Grainger CEME sponsored the first University of Illinois team of five undergraduates.

 

The team was advised by Professor Robert Pilawa and his graduate students, Shibin Qin, Derek Chou, and Yutian Lee, assisted. Emeritus Professor Philip Krein, who was on hand to help hand out the awards, is a founder of the first Future Energy Challenge held in 2001. The U.S. Department of Energy, in partnership with the National Association of State Energy Officials, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the U. S. Department of Defense, and through Professor Krein, the Grainger CEME, organized the first Future Energy Challenge competition and subsequent International Future Energy Challenge events. This energy-based student-team design competition is held biannually.

ECE “Living Lab” wins R&D Magazine 2016 Laboratory of the Year Award

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The new Electrical and Computer Engineering Building (ECEB) was prepared by architects SmithGroupJJR working with their partner contractors and University of Illinois community members. ECEB was chosen 2016 Lab of the Year by R&D Magazine and the Lab Design conference. The Lab of the Year Award is an international competition representing all laboratory types including medical, research, teaching, and standards. The magazine’s editor, Ann Spiewak, reports that “Judging … was conducted by a blue-ribbon panel of laboratory architects, engineers, equipment manufacturers, researchers and the editorial staff of R&D Magazine and Laboratory Design.” Judging comments included: “[T]his project displayed good integration of lab and architecture. Furthermore, the project’s $319 per-square-foot cost is a great value and good use of the overall budget. The exterior is well-detailed, thoughtful modular planning went into the design, and it’s a fine example of ‘science on display.'”

Grainger CEME/IEEE Workshop: Technology Roadmap for Large Electrical Machines

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This workshop was held on April 5-6, 2016 in the new Electrical and Computer Engineering Building at the University of Illinois. It brought together leading researchers, thought leaders, application experts, and key stakeholders across the industry, academia and government to generate a consensus-based roadmap for transformational technologies for large (at the megawatt scale and higher) electrical machines with a five- to ten-year time frame. We identified key technology changes and gaps that will lead to ideas for future collaborative research and, ultimately, major advances in large electrical machines.

We examined significant progress made in several enabling technologies that could be leveraged to improve electrical machines, including new materials, advanced modeling and control techniques, etc. We explored how emerging applications, such as electric aircraft, offshore wind turbines, and subsea oil and gas processing, could be transformed by new electric machine and drive technology.

For ongoing progress, see http://machineroadmap.ece.illinois.edu

Engineering at Illinois leading $18.5 million center for power optimization

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Engineering at Illinois leading $18.5 million center for power optimization
The goal of the Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems (POETS) Center led by the University of Illinois is to pack more power into less space for electrical systems in cars, construction machines, aircraft, and mobile devices by tackling thermal and electrical challenges surrounding the mobile electronics and vehicle design as a single system. Heat is the opponent for engineers designing electrical vehicles and equipment, because electrical systems do not work without generating heat. And the harder they work, the hotter they get. When they get too hot, they operate inefficiently, fail or melt. Planes are grounded, electric drills stop, electric cars sit still, and bulldozer buckets won’t lift.
The U of I and its academic and industrial partners around the world will design and build new technologies, such as three-dimensional thermal circuitry for cooling, next-generation power converters and algorithms for coordinating the technologies automatically. They’ll look at these technologies from the microchip level up to the entire vehicle. Their work will enable manufacturers to make lighter, more compact and more efficient power systems for electric cars, power tools, and other mobile applications.
“We want to increase the total power density in vehicles by 10 to 100 times. That would translate into billions of liters of fuel saved and nearly double an electric car’s range,” said Professor Andrew Alleyne, professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering, who will guide the center. “Today’s electrical technologies are at their thermal limit. A systems approach is the only way we’ll push beyond the current state of the art,” he said in a release. Professor Alleyne is joined by Co-PI Paul Braun from Material Science and Engineering and, from Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor Joseph Lyding, along with CEME Professors Philip Krein and Robert Pilawa.

POETS, funded by the National Science Foundation, is led by the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign in partnership with Howard University, Stanford University, the University of Arkansas, the Royal institute of Technology in Sweden, and the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil. Caterpillar and a dozen other companies across the United States will take part, testing the ideas and hiring students trained through POETS. The center will also work with schools to incorporate the concepts into K–12 classrooms and inspire young people to pursue careers in these fields.
Following is a complete list of POETS Partner Institutions: Arkansas Power Electronics International, Bosch, Caterpillar, Creative Thermal Solutions, CU Aerospace, Halliburton, Howard University, John Deere, ON Semiconductor, Parker Hannifin, Rolls-Royce, Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, Stanford University, Texas Instruments, Toyota, United Technologies Research Center, University of Arkansas, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of Sao Paolo in Brazil.
The National Science Foundation announced the POETS funding award in August 2015.

US Department of Energy Race to Zero Student Design Competition

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US Department of Energy Race to Zero Student Design Competition
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Race to Zero Student Design competition (Race to Zero) engages undergraduates, grad students, and university faculty to become part of a new leadership movement to achieve truly sustainable homes. The competition is based on a real-world scenario where a builder needs to update an existing product line (house plan) to a high-performance house design or is developing a new high performance home product line. The mandatory performance target is the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home specification.
The 2015 Race to Zero Student Design competition held on April 18-20, 2015 at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO, had 33 teams from 27 US and Canadian universities competing to design cost-effective, zero energy homes for mainstream builders. The Grainger CEME-supported team was one of four grand winner finalists with their entry, “The Suncatcher Cottage” a redesign of a building on the grounds of University of Illinois owned Allerton Park.

CEME alumni Robert Balog and Pradeep Shenoy welcomed to APEC Administrative Committee

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CEME alumni Robert Balog and Pradeep Shenoy welcomed to APEC Administrative Committee
Robert Balog (PhD 2006) and Pradeep Shenoy (PhD 2010) were among six new administrative committee members selected to help run IEEE Applied Power Electronics Conferences (APEC). These young professionals belong to the fifth generation of power electronics engineers (PELS), given a field that is now 110 years old. If a 25-30 year impact period per generation of engineers, then the young professionals and students belong to the fifth generation. They will shape PELS’ future.
Pradeep chairs a vibrant committee of young professionals and students to help young professional members become connected in the PELS community. The committee plans match-making receptions, mentoring, and other unique growth opportunities. In 2015, five events were scheduled around the globe, starting at APEC, followed by three editions of the IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE): the International Conference on Power Electronics and ECCE-Asia, the European Conference on Power Electronics and Application – ECCE-Europe, and ECCE in Montreal. The last event was held at the first IEEE Southern Power Electronics conference in Brazil.

Formula Hybrid Competition in Loudon, New Hampshire – April 27-30, 2015

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Formula Hybrid Competition in Loudon, New Hampshire – April 27-30, 2015
The U of I was one of nine teams competing in the fully-electric division of the Formula Hybrid competition held annually in Loudon, New Hampshire. They placed fourth out of nine all-electric vehicle teams. While they did not pass the rigorous electrical inspection (only one team out of the nine was able to pass and compete in the dynamic race events), they did well in the design and presentation aspects of the competition. They also received valuable feedback from judges and representatives from Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, and GM who attended the competition. Already at work to improve the current car’s design for next year, they are excited to use what they’ve learned to make a winning race car.