Grainger CEME

Center for Electric Machinery and Electromechanics

Research Projects 2022-2023

Motor Design, Operation, and Control

Motor design today can be performed at the system level, taking into account particular operating requirements, the load, and control opportunities. At the CEME, we seek answers to fundamental questions about the best use of materials, opportunities for new control concepts, and innovations in manufacturing. Improved steels, superconducting materials, permanent magnets, cooling technologies, insulation materials, manufacturing processes, modeling and simulation, and control methods are at the heart of revolutionary changes in electric machinery. Motors designed to operate specifically with electronic controls are opening new possibilities. We are developing ways to make motors more efficient, more powerful, smaller, easier to build, and well matched to their applications.

Past Projects

Automotive and Advanced Applications

Motor applications are expanding rapidly. A typical automobile built today has hundreds of electric motors and electromechanical sensors and actuators. At high power levels, motors drive electric and hybrid cars, trucks, buses, ships, mining equipment, and other forms of transportation. The CEME supports projects that expand the usefulness of electric machines and electromechanical devices, and seeks to promote new ideas for high-performance applications, including hybrid power systems for aircraft, electric vehicle charging for utility grid benefits, and other aspects of transportation electrification. Our students continue to lead in developing, maximizing output, minimizing losses, and detecting and diagnosing faults in transportation drive systems.

Past Projects

MEMS and Microelectronics for Motor and Energy Applications

Future power electronics, motion control, and communication devices require high efficiency with highly compact and low-cost passive components such as capacitors, inductors, resonators, and relays. At the CEME, we are exploring microtechnology components that will enable future power electronic and electromechanical systems. Micromachining technology has undergone rapid development during the past decade and has been successfully applied to a number of sensors and actuator products. MEMS devices are being applied in radical ways to energy conversion processes.

There were no MEMS and Microelectronics for Motor and Energy Applications projects this year. See Past Projects for more information.

Past Projects

Large Student Team Design Projects

Multidisciplinery team projects are the way engineering gets done in real life. The Center provides opportunities and seed funding for students at work on large projects in energy and electromechanics areas. Since 1995 undergraduate students in the college of Engineering have been able to make large team projects a part of their curriculum. These have included hybrid-electric car teams, the IEEE International Future Energy Challenge, the biannual Solar Decathlon run by the US Department of Energy, the Illini Formula Electric Team, CubeSat projects, and other major team competitions. Through these challenge programs we seek to encourage student innovation and educational excellence around the world.

Past Projects

Curriculum and Laboratory Development

Laboratory and classroom-based education in electric machinery and electromechanics is one of the primary missions of the CEME. The Center builds on a history of leadership at the University of Illinois, with outstanding facilities and opportunities for hands-on projects. Concepts such as a flexible open-frame linear machine, adaptable benches that support direct experiments with almost any type of motor, and undergraduate laboratories in power electronics have been developed by the Center and its antecedents. Today, we are creating broad courses related to system and device design, as well as specialized hardware for lab work in all our areas of interest.

There were no Curriculum and Laboratory Development projects this year. See Past Projects for more information.

Past Projects

Advanced Research Projects

Advances in the design and application of electric machinery requires innovation in control, modeling techniques and monitoring tools, energy storage, computer-aided design, energy-processing systems and methods, and distributed systems. The CEME supports basic research and the development of new ideas in topic areas most likely to impact the design and use of machines. Other tools, such as dynamic visualization of the magnetic fields in a rotating machine, control architecture for microgrids, automatic generation control, and wide bandgap semiconductors for inverters and drives, are also supported. The objective is to build a fundamental base for advances across all areas of electromechanics.

Past Projects

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is most effective when fully integrated into the electricity grid. The control and operation implications of intermittent energy sources are not fully understood. CEME researchers are addressing these concerns primarily at the system level. Methods for greatly expanding the use of renewable energy in microgrids and full-scale utility grids are being developed. Differential power processing, an architectural approach to high-performance solar energy conversion, is being developed for commercial-scale and utility-scale photovoltaic systems. Distributed control architectures are being developed to make renewable resources “grid friendly,” providing extra services such as reactive power support for voltage regulation and dynamic power flow adjustment.

Past Projects