Building Systems & Micro-grids

This research area includes a wide range of topics with the common goal of improving energy efficiency in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Current research projects include power converter design for and power management control of computing systems (processor, board, rack and cabinet level power), energy efficient lighting systems (discharge lamps and LEDs), AC-DC power conversion and DC distribution, integration of renewable energy and backup power sources, and low power circuit design and energy harvesting for wireless sensors and smart building control systems. An example of an early adopter of new technologies in the building systems area is data centers, where processing capability is directly driven by electricity cost and availability. We are performing research in the area of DC distribution for improved system efficiency and integration with backup and renewable power, and design of very high step-down DC-DC power converters with high efficiency over a wide range of load conditions to interface between a high voltage bus and low voltage computing board level requirements.

Dual Active Bridge converter

Dual Active Bridge converter designed to be used in high voltage DC distribution architectures for data center applications

Circuit designed to harvest microwatss of energy form 2.4 GHz RF

Energy harvesing circuit designed to harvest microwatts of energy from 2.4GHz RF, while transmitting sensor information within the same bands

We are currently designing an AC and DC micro-grid with 80 kW bi-directional grid-connection to serve as a test platform and source and load emulator for research on integration of energy storage, stability control with multiple power sources and bi-directional loads, electric vehicle battery management and drivetrain design, and related micro-grid topics.