Stimulus funding awards for smart grid research


Henry Huang,
Senior Engineer,
Richland, WA and Fayetteville, AR, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 5, 2009 – Stimulus funding awards have been made to the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the Universities of Arkansas and South Carolina for research on smart grids.

The PNNL has been awarded $867,000 to further its ability to analyze smart power grids. Specifically the funding will be used to test ways of analyzing new “smart” data being received from the power grid, in order to more quickly and effectively determine abnormalities, and to identify potential areas of stress before they become a problem.

PNNL senior engineer Henry Huang, who was recently awarded the 2009 IEEE Power & Energy Society Outstanding Young Engineer Award, will lead the project in conjunction with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

“The award will enable PNNL to continue testing complex mathematical equations to better understand the scientific data coming from the new, smarter grid,” said Huang.

The Universities of Arkansas and South Carolina have been awarded a five-year grant, renewable for up to another five years, to establish an NSF center of excellence that will focus on grid connected, advanced power electronic systems.

The Center, which will be operated jointly by researchers at both universities, will focus on the design, development, evaluation, control and standardization of grid connected solid state-based power electronic equipment. Attention will also be given to intelligent coordination of the emerging, digitally controlled electric power grid.

“These funds will help us develop the knowledge, tools, hardware, software and personnel to flood the 21st century power grid with power electronics,” said Alan Mantooth, professor of electrical engineering and executive director of both the new center and the existing National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission (NCREPT). “The nature of this grant will enable us to expand NCREPT’s work with utility companies, defense contractors, equipment manufacturers, component suppliers and others to bring to market the technologies that will be needed to realize a robust and more reliable power grid.”

The award will provide, each year of the grant period, $113,000 for administrative costs to the University of Arkansas as lead institution and $63,000 to the University of South Carolina. In addition, utilities and other companies can become Center members at an annual contribution of $40,000 for large companies and $5,000 for small companies, and so far 12 private companies have been recruited.