Electrical engineering professor awarded $4.9 million grant for research

A professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University was among 14 Principal Investigators whose research teams received a total of $156 million from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for their “cutting-edge research projects.”

Dr. Mladen Kezunovic, the Eugene E. Webb Professor in the department, and his team received the $4.9 million dollar grant from ARPA-E for their research on Robust Adaptive Topology Control (RATC).

Photo of Dr. Mladen KezunovicIncreasing the use of renewable generation and avoiding cost associated with mitigating the intermittency, blackouts and brownouts, as well as mitigating malicious attacks is a goal across the nation. Kezunovic’s research will provide new methods for controlling the power grid and associated electricity markets during sudden interruptions caused by the intermittent availability of  non-dispatchable renewable generation (wind and solar), cascading faults caused by extreme operating conditions and malicious attacks. Their project provides robust adaptive topology controlthat allows real-time transmission asset switching to reconfigure or restore the topology of the grid in response to random events with detrimental impacts. The new concept uses an adaptive control strategy which will reduce the time to correctly detect, classify and characterize the contingencies and respond to mitigate problems in the power grid.

“These innovative projects are at the forefront of a new technological frontier that plays a critical role in our future energy security and economic growth, “said Arun Majumdar, Director of ARPA-E in a press release. “It is now more important than ever to invest in game-changing ideas that will build the technological infrastructure for a new, clean energy economy.”

Kezunovic said  “the current ARPA-E award and two more awards, one from the Department of Energy on smart outage management for distribution systems, and the other from The National Science Foundation for studying impact of electrical vehicles on transportation and electricity convergence will enhance the smart grid research portfolio that I would like to manage under a Smart grid Center to further enhance visibility of TEES research capabilities”.

For more information about the ARPA-E awards, visit  http://arpa-e.energy.gov/media/news/tabid/83/vw/1/itemid/39/department-of-energy-awards-%24156-million-for-groundbreaking-energy-research-projects.aspx.