Professors Alejandro Domínguez-García, Philip Krein, Robert Pilawa-Podgurski, Pete Sauer, and George Gross, with Jana Sebestik in Math Science Technology Education, have received an $880,000, five-year Department of Energy grant to develop a microgrid training program for traditional and non-traditional settings that combines cutting-edge research and advanced instructional methods. They are teaming up with Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Iowa State University, along with Ameren Corporation, City Utilities, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and the Perfect Power Institute (PPI). Faculty members from each university, about ten in total, will collaborate to develop the curricula and work with industry advisers, such as PPI or NRECA. The group is seeking to leverage popular online classes, webinars, and short courses as well as develop a formal graduate curriculum.
In addition to educational tools, the MARMET researchers will study operational optimization, modeling and analysis, system architecture development, and ac/dc hybrid distribution. Professors Sauer, Domínguez-García, Krein, and Gross will be looking at the process of creating microgrids, switching distribution systems, and ways to maximize the microgrids. Professor Sauer noted, “Microgrids are an opportunity to survive if you’re cut off from the big grid, and there’re not a lot of them out there. There are lots of buildings with generators, but they’re all individual, so it’s a matter of hooking up a bunch of islands together to make a bigger island, which is more flexible and able to use all the power that’s generated.”