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Research on Power Electronic Control Design Gets NSF Funding

Technology Will Make Renewable Energy Systems More Efficient, Reliable

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Assoc. Prof. Tingshu Hu with her graduate students Haifeng Wang, center, and Khalid Kanane.

By Edwin L. Aguirre

Electrical and computer engineering Assoc. Prof. Tingshu Hu has received a three-year grant totaling more than $372,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop advanced, nonlinear control-design methodologies for power electronic interfaces in renewable energy systems.

“This project will help the power and energy industry to construct renewable energy systems with improved efficiency, reliability, longer lifetime and lower cost,” says Hu, who is the sole principal investigator for the study.

Power electronic interfaces are integral parts of renewable energy systems and energy-management systems, she says. 

“They play critical roles in converting intermittent and uncontrollable solar and wind power into manageable energy,” says Hu.

Interfaces are used to extract maximum power from solar panels and wind turbines and then store it in batteries or deliver it to the load or the utility grid. They are also widely used in electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

“My background is in control systems,” explains Hu. “I have been doing research in control theory for more than 16 years and so far my work has been published in 55 refereed journals and one monograph. Some of my research results have been widely used by experts around the world.” 

Hu has been continuously funded by the NSF since 2003. In 2009 she was awarded a four-year $287,000 grant for her work on “Analysis of Nonlinear Oscillations via Lyapunov Approach.”   

Hu received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 2001. She joined the UMass Lowell faculty in 2005.