Cyber-Physical Security and Resilience via Auditing Cyber and Energy Signals

If cyber networks are viewed as the nervous system of infrastructures, then energy networks can be said as the circulatory system of infrastructures. Today, almost everything (such as home appliances, industrial machines, data centers and electrified transportation) is connected with energy networks and draws energy from it. To date, much attention has been paid to data and information in cyber networks, but little attention has been paid to the information embedded in raw electrical waveforms and signals in energy networks. The meter and PMU data used by power engineering are basically a summary of raw waveform data in a time period. There is much more to be explored from raw electrical waveforms and signals of energy networks. For example, all devices in power networks must leave traces of their operational status and health (including faults or attacks) information in the raw electrical waveforms and signals: a cyber-device in fault or under attack will cause unusual energy consumption pattern in power networks; a power electronics or electric machine in fault or under attack may cause unusual harmonics or energy profile in power networks. Also, the weather or geomagnetic events may also leave a trace in those raw waveform data. Therefore, we can potentially use the electrical waveform and signals to (1) enable fault monitoring, diagnosis and prognosis of power electronics and electric machines; (2) enable detection, identification and defense of cyber and physical attacks in both cyber and physical world. The possibility may be well beyond what we can imagine now.

Towards efficient, rare-earth-free electric machines

The proposed research will advance motor drive technologies by designing a novel control scheme for mutually coupled switched reluctance machines. Such machines are of great importance to satisfy the increasing demand for cost-effective, highly reliable and efficient motor drive systems in electrified transportation, industrial applications, and home appliances. Although induction and permanent magnet synchronous machines are currently dominating the market, due to the soaring prices and rapid depletion of rare-earth materials, researchers in the U.S. and worldwide are searching for rare-earth-free alternatives. Switched reluctance machines belong to the group of such alternatives. They are increasing in popularity due to their simple and rigid structure, fault-tolerant capability, and extended-speed constant-power range. However, switched reluctance machines suffer from high torque ripples, acoustic noise, vibration, and non-standard asymmetric bridge power converters. The proposed research will address these technical challenges impeding the widespread utilization of switched reluctance machines. The work will greatly advance the research in power electronics and motor drive technology and will promote research, teaching, training, and learning. The research will be integrated into the undergraduate and graduate electric power engineering curriculum to educate future engineers who will have the skills and knowledge to meet the emerging needs of the industry.

Development of a Power-Hardware-in-the-Loop (PHIL) System to Enhance Research and Student Research Training in Engineering and Computer Science

Power-Hardware-in-the-Loop system that is currently revolutionizing test engineering on many levels, including power/smart grids, vehicle and communication systems, civil structures, robotics, and aerospace. The development of a PHIL system will enable the diverse multi-user community of engineers, computer scientists, and student researchers to develop and evaluate complex systems and/or physical components in an integrated fashion. This system will significantly enhance the research capability at the University of Georgia that ranks among the leaders in ethnic diversity in the U.S. It will create well-equipped research environments that integrate research and research training and provide crucial research infrastructure needed to catalyze cross-disciplinary collaborations among faculty members and initiate and/or strengthen their collaborations with other research institutions and industrial partners. It will enrich the education of Hispanic, female, and African-American students by providing them hands-on research training in frontier technology. It will advance the careers of junior female faculty members enabling them to serve as role models for female students who remain underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It will also lead to the creation of new teaching and research laboratories that will be integrated into the engineering and computer science curricula.

Intelligent Energy Management System for Connected and Automated Vehicles

With the significant increase in the traffic, road, and environmental information enabled by vehicle-to-infrastructure/cloud/vehicle communications, the connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology has received increasing attention as they can greatly enhance the driving safety, comfort, and energy efficiency. By comprehensively evaluating the impact of road conditions on energy efficiency with the navigation, high-precision map and prediction of future traffic information, the driving decision and control output of powertrain can be optimized by utilizing the intelligent traffic information from vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-road (V2R) communication. However, there are some great challenges that prevent wider adoption of CAV technology. The goal of our research is to develop an intelligent energy management system for connected and automated vehicles, enabling energy-efficient control on powertrain, as well as velocity profile and upper task planning for better energy efficiency.  CAV technology has been seamlessly integrated to LEGO electric vehicle testbed, providing underrepresented opportunities for undergraduate and K-12 students to explore the engineering profession.  We are committed to opening new educational avenues to students by offering multi-disciplinary training and teaching at the frontiers of power engineering, as well as inspire next generations in pursuing STEM education and research.