Frank Andujar Lugo

Picture of Frank



    • M.S./Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • B.S. – Carnegie Mellon University (May 2020)
    • Research Interests: Thermal Systems and Controls



Current Work

As the energy grid moves towards a more responsive, resilient, and sustainable future, it becomes increasingly complex. It will be composed of distributed storage and generation, largely accounted for by the buildings sector. The development of energy storage technology, including storage alternatives like batteries and thermal storage, will be critical to the future of the grid as it allows us to save at times of excess and be prepared for periods of low availability or grid failure. Because of the multiple players and potentially conflicting objectives (i.e. thermal comfort, efficiency, cost, ect.), robust controllers are required to maintain reliability and improve system performance both at the system-scale of the district power grid and the individual building scale of HVAC systems.

Frank’s research focuses on developing control alternatives that balance predictive capability, computational requirements, and robustness to effectively coordinate thermal storage systems and study their impact on the energy grid. In particular, Frank’s research focuses on how a hierarchical model predictive controller (MPC) can be used as a tool to balance the requirements of both individual buildings and the grid that they form a part of. Frank’s current efforts revolve around creating control-friendly models of buildings, thermal storage, and HVAC systems to develop an intuition of how the components interact with each other within the building and the broader network. Once the models are built, Frank will apply the hierarchical MPC framework and quantify system performance compared with both a centralized MPC and a rule-based controller to characterize the impacts and benefits of applying hierarchical MPC.