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PEIK Issues Record Number of Undergraduate Certificates, E.On Scholarships

July 17, 2019

For the 2018-2019 academic year, PEIK issued an all-time record of 57 certificates in power and energy. The PEIK certificates, which are built upon a series of foundational courses supplemented by a broad array of more advanced elective courses related to power and energy, prepare the students for a successful career in industry and the power utilities. The list of majors for the students who were issued PEIK certificates this year include: Chemical and Materials Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical and Mining Engineering.

Recently, the UK College of Engineering has awarded 16 E.On Scholarships for PEIK scholarships to eligible students who demonstrated strong interest in power and energy studies. These annual scholarships, which continue to be supported by the endowment established years ago at UK by E. On / Kentucky Utilities, provide recipients with $2,500 annually and may also grant an additional $2,000 for use on a power and energy related study abroad trip during the school year or the following summer. 

For more information about scholarship eligibility visit PEIK scholarship webpage or contact Ms. Mary-Michael Deskins, College of Engineering Scholarship Director (marymichael.deskins@uky.edu). For more information about PEIK certification visit the PEIK Undergraduate Certificate webpage, the PEIK Graduate Certificate webpage, or contact Dr. Joseph Sottile (joseph.sottile@uky.edu), PEIK Director of Undergraduate Studies , or Dr. Yuan Liao (yuan.liao@uky.edu), Director of the Graduate Certificate. For more information on PEIK and on how to get involved, contact Dr. Dan M. Ionel, PEIK Director (dan.ionel@uky.edu). 
 

UK Solar Car Team Sets Speed Record and Wins Third Place in Formula Solar Grand Prix 2019

July 9, 2019

On July 4-6, 2019, the UK Solar Car Team competed in the Formula Solar Grand Prix, taking 3rd place. UK’s latest car, Gato Del Sol VI, also completed the fastest lap, beating the all-time track speed record by 42 seconds. The Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) is an annual track competition that is held on grand prix or road style closed courses. This year’s race took place on the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX. The competition is open to teams from around the world and truly tests the limits of the vehicles in handling curves, braking, and acceleration. The winner of FSGP is determined by the total number of laps completed over the three days of racing. At this edition, UK’s car completed 153 track laps with a total of 524 miles. The PEIK supported UK Solar Car Team recently celebrated its 20th anniversary continuing its longstanding tradition of providing hands-on opportunities for engineering and allowing students to develop and demonstrate their creativity and technical skills.

 

DOE FEEDER Summer Institute 2019 at University of Arkansas

June 10, 2019

This year’s edition of the DOE FEEDER Summer Institute took place at University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR, and the program theme was Power Electronics. The five-day event provided students from seven FEEDER participating universities, including UK, the opportunity to learn about approaches to mitigate the effects of electromagnetic interference in inverters for DER applications, including solar PV and electric vehicles. Also covered were new technologies for load management, power factor control, voltage variation reduction, and fault detection for the electric power grid. The summer program was led on campus by Dr. Roy McCann, Professor of Electrical Engineering at University of Arkansas. Drs. Larry Holloway and Yuan Liao lead the FEEDER program at UK.

Tours of the research facilities in Fayetteville, AR, included an NSF supported medium and high voltage testing facility for Grid-connected Advanced Power Electronics Systems (GRAPES). The testing of a PV inverter demonstration was followed by a presentation from the local power utility, Ozark, and a visit of their solar farm. The student program concluded with a soldering project to build a phone charger powered by a battery that is recharged by a small solar panel.

PEIK participation included Rosemary Alden, University Scholars undergraduate student (in the photo, the first on the left in the front row), Jesus Montero, a recent BS graduate and PEIK Certificate awardee (front row center), and Huangjie Gong, Ph.D. student (last on the right). The Foundations for Engineering Education for Distributed Energy Resources (FEEDER) summer program was funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, US Department of Energy, under the Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment program (GEARED) and also supported by PEIK. 

 

PEIK Welcomes A.O. Smith Corporation as New Platinum-level Partner

May 9, 2019

The Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky is very happy to announce that A. O. Smith Corporation has joined the group of PEIK partners at the platinum level. The two organizations look forward to collaboration, especially on topics of advanced energy and power systems, smart grid and building technologies. Dr. Robert Heideman, A.O. Smith Senior Vice President - Chief Technology Officer, will formally serve on the PEIK Industrial Advisory Board and Mr. Ronald Bartos and Dr. Stephen Memory, A. O. Smith Directors of Research, will closely collaborate with PEIK faculty and researchers. A. O. Smith Corporation is a global leader applying innovative technologies and energy efficient solutions to products manufactured and marketed worldwide. The company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of residential and commercial water heating equipment and boilers, as well as a manufacturer of treatment products for residential and light commercial applications. The Power and Energy Institute (PEIK) was created in 2010 with initial support from the Department of Energy (DOE) and continues its mission of teaching, research and outreach at University of Kentucky in direct partnership with industry and utilities.  


PEIK Researchers Collaborate on DOE-1740 Project on Advanced Power Electronics Designs for Solar Applications  

April 29, 2019

The new research project with collaboration from the Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky (PEIK) researchers is part of the US Department of Energy DOE-1740 program that will help the industry develop new technology to improve the devices that serve as the critical link between solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays and the electric grid. The project entitled "Solar Power Electronics Modular Integrated Node Platform" is led by Flex Power Control, a California based company, and also includes collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL). DOE will provide funding to design, develop, fabricate and test a novel power electronics platform capable of integration and synchronization with associated technologies, including stationary energy storage, electric vehicle (EV) charging, and site load management. Advanced power electronics and cloud-based analytics would be incorporated into the platform in order to optimize operations and extend the operating life of the system. 

At UK, Dr. Dan M. Ionel, ECE Professor and L. Stanley Pigman Chair in Power and PEIK Director, and Dr. Yuan Liao, ECE Professor and PEIK Director of PEIK Graduate Certificate, serve project PI and co-PI, respectively. The UK research will build upon PEIK recent developments covered in publications such as, "Net Zero Energy Houses with Dispatchable Solar PV Power Supported by Electric Water Heater and Battery Energy Storage", Proceedings, IEEE ECCE 2018, Portland, OR, (Sep 2018), which include contributions by Dr. Don Colliver, BAE Professor at UK and KIAC Director, Dr. Vandana Rallabandi, former postdoc researcher at UK and now Lead Research Engineer with General Electric R&D, and Huangjie Gong, electrical engineering Ph.D. student at UK.


PEIK EE PhD Candidate Ms. Narges Taran, Receives Dean's Outstanding Doctoral Student Award 

April 17, 2019

Ms. Narges Taran, shown in the photo together with Dean Rudy Buchheit, received the 2019 UK College of Engineering Outstanding Doctoral Student Award. Narges is a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering, who started her studies at UK in January 2016 as the first PhD student in the newly established SPARK Lab led by Dr. Dan Ionel ECE Professor and L. Stanley Pigman Chair in Power.

Narges’ research in electric power engineering focuses on electric machines and power electronic drives and includes contributions to special motor topologies, such as axial flux coreless and torque magnifying, the use of new carbon nanotube conductors and wide band gap devices, electromagnetic field finite-element analysis and large-scale optimization methods. She has already established an outstanding publication record with more than 25-peer reviewed publications, including 6 journal articles and many major international conference proceedings papers, including one that received a Best Paper Award at IEEE ECCE 2016, the largest joint technical conference of the Power Electronics and Industry Applications Societies. Narges has also co-authored two chapters of the latest edition of the well-known Standard Handbook for Electrical Engineers published by McGraw Hill, and has served as a reviewer for more than half a dozen well known journals and conferences. At last year’s inaugural UK ECE Graduate Research Symposium, Narges received the award for Outstanding Graduate Poster. Her research work has been sponsored by both NSF and by global leading industrial companies, including Regal Beloit Corp. and ANSYS, Inc. 


New Research Project on Renewables Integration Sponsored by LG&E-KU

April 10, 2019

LG&E-KU has recently awarded a project to UK PEIK Institute and SPARK Laboratory researchers to study the integration of variable renewable resources into the legacy electric power system with emphasis on large solar photovoltaics (PV) farms and applicability to Kentucky specifics. Mr. Aron Patrick, Manager of Technology Research and Analytics for LG&E-KU, serves as the industrial project lead, and Dr. Dan M. Ionel, ECE Professor and L. Stanley Pigman Chair in Power and PEIK Director is the project PI at UK. The research builds upon recent academic collaborative work, which is featured in publications, such as "Incorporating Battery Energy Storage Systems Into Multi-MW Grid Connected PV Systems," IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 638-647, Jan.-Feb. 2019, and includes contributions by Dr. Nick Jewell, Senior Research Engineer with LG&E-KU and Adjunct Professor at UK, Dr. Vandana Rallabandi, former postdoc researcher at UK and now Lead Research Engineer with General Electric R&D, and Oluwaseun Akeyo, electrical engineering Ph.D. student at UK.


UK Energy Club Visits LG&E-KU

April 2, 2019

On March 29, student members of the University of Kentucky Energy Club toured the LG&E-KU E.W. Brown Power Plant. Situated on the banks of Lake Herrington, near Harrodsburg, KY, this site showcases four technologies for electricity generation — a hydroelectric plant, an operational coal-fired unit, seven combustion turbines, and a universal solar facility. Mr. Aron Patrick, LG&E-KU Manager for Research and Analytics served as the main host and organizer. Guided by subject matter engineering experts, the UK Energy Club group toured the various energy production facilities, including the state’s largest solar PV array and battery storage system. The trip was sponsored by LG&E-KU and PEIK.


European Expert, Dr. Ion G. Boldea, Delivers PEIK Distinguished Speaker Seminar on Renewable Energy Systems

March 28, 2019

On March 27th,  Dr. Ion Boldea presented on Renewable Energy Large Variable Speed Generators – European Trends. The seminar provided a panoramic view of various electric machine and power electronic designs and their controls in hydro and wind energy conversion applications. Recent systems that reached industrial stage and new developments were discussed in terms of their topologies, relative merits and demerits. Dr. Boldea is Professor of Electrical Engineering at University Politehnica of Timisoara, Romania, a member of the Romanian Academy, a Life Fellow of IEEE and the 2015 IEEE Nikola Tesla awardee. Over the years, he has visited UK on a frequent basis since the 1970’s when he first came to Lexington, KY as an IEEE Fulbright Fellow. More than one hundred students and members of the professional community have attended the event.


PEIK and LG&E-KU Continue Successful Collaboration on Teaching

March 25, 2019 

Over the academic spring break, the UK students enrolled in the Efficient and Renewable Power Systems Operations class have completed the daily field tours of LG&E-KU’s sites and facilities. This second edition of the course attracted record undergraduate and graduate student enrolment and was instructed by Dr. Dan M. Ionel, ECE Professor and L. Stanley Pigman Chair in Power, and Dr. Nick Jewell, Senior Research Engineer with LG&E-KU and Adjunct Professor with the ECE Department at UK.

The visits included the LG&E-KU E. W. Brown facilities for coal, natural gas, and hydro power plants, the largest solar PV power plant in Kentucky together with the multi-MW electric battery research demonstrator, a high voltage transmission substation in Middletown, KY and the state-of-the-art transmission control center in Simpsonville, KY. The class benefited of the on-site lectures as well as of the detailed tour explanations and discussions directly with subject matter engineering experts. The practical aspects complemented very well the theoretical class lectures held on campus during the first part of the semester. The continued successful collaboration between LG&E-KU and PEIK provides students with an opportunity to strongly link the academic teachings with the industrial practice and furthers the development of the next generation of power systems engineers.


Undergraduate Research Fellows on Topics of Electric Power

March 22, 2019

Three electric power engineering students: Rosemary Alden, Evan Jones, and Luke Wormald are working on exciting projects as part of a new Undergraduate Research Fellowship program initiated last fall by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). Rosemary's project, “Smart Plug and Smart Home Energy Management System”, is sponsored by the ECE Department, the TVA professorship endowment, and the SPARK program. Evan's project, “Renewable Energy-Based Microgrid in Rural Eastern Kentucky”, is sponsored by the Schneider Electric Company through a donation for the ECE Department. Luke’s project “Studying Low-Cost Battery Management Systems” is sponsored by the ECE Department and the L. Stanley Pigman Chair in Power endowment. The students are mentored by Dr. Dan M. Ionel, ECE Professor and Director of the Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky (PEIK).

Each fellowship, which granted $5,000 per student, was awarded following a proposal and selection process. The three undergraduate students currently perform their research on electric power topics in the SPARK Lab and enjoy being part of a larger group that includes Ph.D. students and post-doctoral researchers. Preliminary results will be presented in late April at the UK Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars and the ECE Research Symposium, while research will continue into the summer.


PEIK and LG&E and KU Joint Displays at UK's E-Day Attract Record Attendance

February 25, 2019

On Saturday February 23rd, PEIK and LG&E and KU jointly exhibited at the Engineering Day on UK’s campus. The initiative was reflective of the growing close collaboration between the two organizations on teaching, research, and outreach to the professional and STEM students communities, and of the UK CoE support for multidisciplinary engineering. Altogether, the entire E-Day event, hosted nearly 3,000 visitors.

PEIK students demonstrated their “world’s largest wind turbine”, a LEGO replica of the world’s most powerful wind turbine, Vestas V-164, which was “engineered” with an enlarged tower model to a record total height of 5.5ft. Other displays included a full-size electric bike for stationary demonstrations, and miniatures for electric cars and solar PV systems. Video displays featured real-life utility-size power systems and renewable energy installations, including Kentucky’s largest 10MW PV power plant and 1MW/2MW battery from LG&E and KU’s E.W. Brown site. The PEIK and LG&E-KU E-Day displays were located in the atrium of the RGAN building next to the UK’s Solar Car exhibits and attracted record attendance.


PEIK Welcomes New Faculty Jiangbiao He

January 23, 2019

PEIK is pleased to announce the addition of new faculty member Jiangbiao He. Dr. He is an Assistant Professor and the first recipient of the L. Stanley Pigman Faculty Fellowship in the electric power area within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Kentucky. Dr. He previously worked in industry, most recently as a Lead Engineer at GE Global Research in Niskayuna, NY focusing on the development of high-performance power electronic systems for aviation and renewable energy applications. At GE, he contributed to the development of the world’s first megawatt-scale medium-voltage high-frequency propulsion drive for hybrid-electric aircrafts. In addition, Dr. He also worked on the power converter reliability investigation for GE’s 12-MW Haliade-X offshore wind turbine system design. Previously, he was with Rockwell Automation and, before that, with Eaton Global Research & Technology working on regenerative motor drives and SiC-based high-efficiency power converters, respectively. Dr. He’s research interests include high performance power electronic systems, electric motor drives, and renewable energies. He has published more than 50 technical journal and conference papers in electric power energy area, in addition to more than 10 patent applications. 


As an active IEEE Senior Member, Dr. He has been appointed as Editor or Associate Editor for several prestigious journals in electric power area. He also has served as the Secretary of the Standards Sub-committee for IEEE Industrial Drives group and organizing committee member on large international conferences, including ECCE-2018, IEMDC-2019 and ITEC-2019. 


PEIK Adjunct Faculty Dr. Nicholas Jewell of LG&E and KU Named 2018's Top Innovator by Public Utilities Fortnightly

January 17, 2019

Dr. Nick Jewell, LG&E and KU Senior Research Engineer and UK ECE Adjunct Professor, was selected to receive this national distinguished recognition for his innovative work on LG&E and KU's E.W. Brown Energy Storage Research and Demonstration site, which incorporates a utility-scale 1MW/2MWh battery system, advanced MW-level power electronics converters, controllable test load, and advanced data measurement and SCADA systems. The experimental work at the site looks to develop solutions for both technological issues with the developing technology, as well as interconnection and integration difficulties that utilities may face with distributed energy resources.  The work also contributed directly to the new Energy Storage Integration Council (ESIC) Energy Storage Test Manual, coordinated by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The energy storage facilities are located next to Kentucky's largest PV power plant, 10 MW, as well as traditional coal, gas, and hydro generation operated by LG&E and KU.

Public Utilities Fortnightly’s selection of 2018's Top Innovators was based on more than 160 nominations representing 37 companies. Ultimately, only a dozen individuals or teams were selected for this prestigious professional recognition.

At UK and PEIK, Dr. Jewell collaborates closely with faculty on teaching, including on-campus lectures and expert guided field tours at operational power systems facilities, and on advising graduate student research, especially on topics of energy storage and renewable energy integration. Last year, Dr. Jewell published four technical papers together with UK faculty and students that are reflective of the growing collaboration between PEIK and LG&E and KU on research topics, in addition to teaching and outreach activities.


Electrical Engineering and PEIK Student, Stewart Evan Jones, Receives IEEE National Scholarship

November 27, 2018

Stewart Evan Jones, a UK engineering student was recently awarded the renewal of his annual IEEE scholarship from the Power & Energy Society Plus Initiative, a signature program of the IEEE Foundation. Evan’s IEEE scholarship was initially granted in 2017. This year, he is one of only 30 students in the entire Southeastern IEEE Region selected to receive such an award. The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) is headquartered in New York City and is the world’s largest association of technical professionals with more than 400,000 members.
 
Evan who is a native of McCreary County, started his studies at UK on a Kentucky Governor's Presidential Scholarship in 2015, he is now also a Pigman scholar, and will be graduating in May 2019 with a dual BS degree in electrical engineering and in computer engineering, a minor in mathematics and with the PEIK certificate in power and energy. He has a passion for electric power engineering, worked as an intern with East Kentucky Power Cooperatives (EKPC) for the last couple of years, and is now also conducting undergraduate student research in the SPARK Laboratory with Dr. Dan M. Ionel, ECE Professor, L. Stanley Pigman in Power and an IEEE Fellow. Evan, who is already registered in the University Scholar Program, plans to continue with PhD studies in electrical engineering at UK starting in the fall of 2019.


NSF Research Grant for a New Generation of High-efficiency Electric Machines for Wide Band Gap Power Electronic Drives

November 12, 2018

ECE faculty and PEIK researchers, Dr. Dan M. Ionel, Professor, L. Stanley Pigman Chair in Power and PEIK Director, and Dr. Aaron Cramer, Associate Professor and EE Director of Graduate Studies, will serve as PI and Co-PI, respectively, on a recently awarded NSF grant for research on transformational concepts for a new generation of electrical machines and controls. These will be especially developed for ultra-high energy efficiency and for the very recent advancements in wide band gap power electronic devices, such as SiC and GaN, and will include two novel axial flux permanent magnet machine topologies, one coreless and one incorporating a torque magnification effect. The potential impacts are most significant as the electric motors account for more than 60% of the electricity consumed and electric machines and associated power electronic drives represent a multi-billion dollar industry.

The new three-year project benefits of a budget of approximately $375,000. The research builds upon preliminary results and publications including an IEEE ECCE award winning paper with contributions by postdoctoral researcher Dr. Vandana Rallabandi and Ph.D. candidate Narges Taran. This grant renews UK’s long tradition of NSF projects on advanced research on electric machines and controls initiated almost half a century ago by Professors Nasar and Boldea. In recent years, Dr. Ionel’s and Dr. Cramer’s research on related topics at UK has been funded by NASA, ONR, and directly by leading industrial companies.


LG&E and KU's Bellar presents PEIK Distinguished Speaker Seminar at UK 

November 6, 2018

On November 5th, 2018 Lonnie Bellar, Chief Operating Officer at LG&E and KU presented a seminar at the University of Kentucky titled “Engineering Innovation and Recent Developments at LG&E and KU”. The seminar included an overview of the resources, history, and activities of LG&E and KU, which provides service to 1.3 million customers in Kentucky and Virginia. The presentation covered the company’s well-established facilities as well as recent advancements in the automation of electric power distribution. One section discussed the benefits of solar power and introduced the main technical specifications of Kentucky’s largest solar PV facility recently developed by LG&E/KU on its E. W. Brown site. The final part of the presentation outlined opportunities for students to become involved in the LG&E/KU engineering co-op program and potential engineering career paths.


PEIK represents at KY Governor's Conference on Energy and the Environment

October 15, 2018

On October 11 and 12, 2018 the Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky (PEIK) participated as exhibitors at the Kentucky Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment at the Lexington Convention Center by Dr. Donald Colliver, Professor of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, and Director of KIAC, and Jason Souders, PEIK/KIAC/FEEDER Coordinator. PEIK had an exhibition booth providing information on the program’s education, outreach and research activities and facilitating engaging discussions with attendees, current and prospective supporters.

As per the event organizers, the Kentucky Governor’s Conference is bringing together some of the state’s top minds in the energy and environment arenas. Some will be speakers and presenters, other will be there to participate and network. Sessions will look at how we can make wise choices about the energy we use on a daily basis, how we safeguard the environment now and for future generations while enabling growth, and how an aging water infrastructure and legacy of waste dumps throughout the Commonwealth are presenting funding challenges. 


PEIK presents NEC and NFPA 79 Workshop 

October 5, 2018

A workshop on the National Electric Code and NFPA 79 was presented on October 2nd by Mr. Keith Waters, Industry Standards Manager at Schneider Electric. Organized by PEIK, Schneider Electric, and IEEE, the dual workshop outlined updates to the national electric code. The recent update process included 4002 public inputs, 1513 public comments, 5 new articles, 19 code making panels.  The workshop reviewed the changes and allowed for discussion on current activities involving the 2020 NEC. The workshop was well attended with more than 30 specialists from various industrial and engineering professions. The instructor, Mr. Keith Waters, holds a BSEE degree from the University of Kentucky and is a licensed Professional Engineer and a Certified Energy Manager. He has been with Schneider Electric for 32 years in roles of increasing responsibilities. Keith is currently a NEMA representative to NEC Code Making Panel 11 and also serves on PEIK's Industry Advisory Council.


New E. On Scholarships for PEIK Success

September 14, 2018

The UK College of Engineering and the Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky (PEIK) have recently awarded more than twenty new E. On scholarships, which are reflective of our commitment for providing opportunities and support for junior and senior engineering majors. The students who were selected to receive this merit-based scholarship demonstrated strong interest in power and energy and already completed at least three courses towards the multi-disciplinary engineering PEIK certificate.

These annual scholarships continue to be supported by the endowment established years ago at UK by E. On / Kentucky Utilities. More information is available on PEIK website:https://www.engr.uky.edu/power/education/scholarship-opportunities

PEIK educates the next generation of power and energy engineers at UK and offers both Undergraduate Certificates and Graduate Certificates. In addition to fundamental multi-disciplinary courses on Power Generation, Power Systems, and Power Policy and Economics, PEIK faculty at UK also offers more specialized courses on Smart Grid, Power Protection, Electric Distribution, Sustainable and Renewable Energy, and many others with a total of more than a thousand annual enrolments.