Energy Management Systems

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The following ARG students are currently conducting research in the field of energy system modeling and control.

Pamela Tannous: Electrical Thermal Power Systems
My current research is sensors placement and optimization. High temperature has negative effects on the lifetime and the efficiency of electronic components. This research objective is to decide on the minimum number and placement of temperature sensors needed in order to estimate the temperature distribution of an inverter so that the highest temperature of the board can be maintained below a certain specific temperature.
Pamela Tannous: Electrical Thermal Power Systems
headshotMy current research is about making Thermosys more user-friendly. In the Fall semester I worked on the thermostatic expansion valve model to better align the model parameters with information available on manufacturer data sheets.

Christopher Aksland: Electro-Thermal Power Systems
Improved power management techniques are required to enhance the operating behavior of hybridized and electrified vehicles. However, the complex, multi-domain, and multi-timescale dynamics for this class of systems create challenges for real-time capable control design. Additionally, these vehicles have strict electrical and thermal operating constraints to maintain reliable operation. Chris’ latest work has focused on the application of model predictive control for the multi-timescale coordination of the electro-mechanical dynamics of a hybrid electric UAV powertrain. Simulated and hardware demonstrations of the predictive control designs showed improvements in the overall system performance, reliability, and efficiency in comparison to a well designed baseline controller. Chris’ ongoing work considers the control design and validation for a full aircraft power system.

Cary Laird: Electrical/Thermal Power Systems

My research focuses on improving the pulsed power capabilities of current energy storage systems by combining battery packs with supercapacitors. By modeling these hybrid energy storage systems (HESS), we can demonstrate improved power capabilities and battery life.




Mindy Wagenmaker: Electrical/Thermal Power Systems

As the trend towards electrification continues, improving thermal management control has become an important consideration in designing reliable systems. My current research involves building graph-based models of electro-thermal systems and using these models to perform an analytical sensitivity analysis. The graphical structure of these models is extremely useful since they can be used to model multi-domain power systems, and their modular structure makes them easily extendable to large systems. The results of my sensitivity analysis allow me to determine which system inputs or parameters have the highest effect on the system, and thus, where most of our co-design efforts to optimize the plant and controller should be focused.



Philip Renkert: Electro-Thermal Power Systems

Phil’s graduate work aims to develop a framework and toolset for simultaneous plant and controller optimization of complex, multi-domain, dynamic systems. Typically, controller design is considered only after electrical, mechanical, and other subsystems have been defined. Excluding control blinds the design process to dynamic subsystem interactions and often prevents the final design from reaching a system-level optimum. An approach referred to as control co-design (CCD) has emerged in response to these limitations, though existing CCD tools are difficult to scale to complex systems and are limited to continuous sizing variables. Phil will develop tools that aid engineers in the search for optimal system topologies early in the design process. Once a CCD optimization framework is developed, the techniques will be applied to the design of a hybrid eVTOL powertrain to demonstrate their practicality.


Reid Smith: Electro-Thermal Power Systems

Hybrid-electric vehicles for high payload, long-range applications introduce new challenges into electro-thermal control due to a dramatic increase in power requirements when compared to short-range electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. As these vehicles utilize turbomachinery, drive motors, cooling cycles, and energy storage systems, the corresponding control optimization presents multi-domain, multi-timescale challenges. Reid’s current work focuses on modeling the electrical and thermal dynamics of each subsystem, while his future work will be to design and validate a control architecture for this hybrid-electric vehicle power management system.


Kayla Russell: Modeling and Control Optimization for Aircraft

With the increase of on-board electronics and avionics implemented on aircraft, the electrical power demand from aircraft drastically increases which results in excess heat generation and a need for more advanced thermal management systems. My current research is to create a control-oriented models of a vapor compression system, a common refrigeration system on aircraft. These models will be used to help improve the existing hierarchical model predictive control framework for aircraft, resulting in safer and more efficient air travel.


Frank Andujar Lugo: Distributed Optimization and Control of Thermal Storage Resources for Complex Grid Networks

Improving energy storage is the critical to ensuring a more responsive, resilient and sustainable energy grid.One of the biggest challenges of this future will be the effective management of the distributed storage. My research focuses on how hierarchical model predictive control (MPC) can be used as a tool to coordinate thermal storage systems with the requirements of the individual buildings and the grid they form a part of. My current efforts revolve around creating control friendly models that connect buildings, thermal storage, and the HVAC systems within the building and the broader network. This model will be used to learn about the system performance when controlled through hierarchical MPC.