Research Initiatives

Research Thrusts

Prof Divan and GT faculty associates, through CDE and the Intelligent Power Infrastructure Consortium (IPIC) before that, have also demonstrated the ability to develop and commercialize transformative distributed energy solutions. IP developed by Prof Divan has attracted over $100M in venture capital, and has resulted in many innovative products in the industrial and utility space. These include:

  • Feeder-level volt-VAR control using fast grid-edge VAR injection devices (Varentec)
  • Power flow control on transmission networks (Smart Wires)
  • Industrial voltage sag correctors and the first internet based nation-wide power monitoring system, I-Grid (Soft Switching Technologies)
  • Power quality solutions to reduce service costs by as much as 75% for fleets of complex electronics products (Innovolt)
  • Smart ‘stick-on’ sensors (NEETRAC with utility funding)
  • ‘Fail-normal’ fractionally rated power routers funded by ARPA-E that resulted in the first field-deployed power-routers at the 13kV/1MW level.

CDE is now building on this knowledge and experience base to address some key challenges through research projects. It will also focus on training a new cadre of students who will be skilled at solving problems that need an interdisciplinary systems level approach and creative out-of-the-box thinking.

CDE research thrusts addresses key issues that relate to the architecture, design, deployment, management, tech-transfer and commercialization of distributed energy solutions. Examples of testbeds and research projects include:

  • Flexible ‘zero-cost’ communication and data management platform to manage globally dispersed energy assets (Internet of Distributed Energy Things – IDET) (Testbed)
  • Managing distribution utility control and operations from the grid-edge (billing, anti-theft, volt-VAR control, pay-as-you-go, outage alerts, grid side demand response, etc.) (Platform)
  • Microgrid-To-Grid (M2G) Interface, including steady state, rapid connect/disconnect as well as transient and fault management (Testbed)
  • End-to-end model for distribution feeders that reconciles AMI and substation level data, and explains observed voltage volatility on the transformer secondary (Simulation Platform)
  • Self-Organizing Nano Grids (SONG), a new architecture for low-cost dc nanogrids for emerging markets (Testbed)
  • Impact of distributed PV inverters on distribution grid control, and methods to integrate them with grid control objectives (Project)
  • Compact Solid State Transformer using soft switching WBG semiconductors (Project)
  • Low cost power routers for distribution and transmission systems (Project)
  • Renewable Energy Flexible Load Energy eXchange (REFLEX) strategy to improve grid capacity and utilization, as well as PV penetration (Study)
  • Dynamically controlled grid assets, e.g. transformers, capacitors (Project)