A researcher at the University of Missouri-Rolla has been awarded a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation to continue his research into how vehicle fleets could be used to help improve the nation’s power grid.
Dr. Mehdi Ferdowsi, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, will receive $400,000 for his research during the next five years, as part of NSF’s program to support promising scientists early in their careers. The CAREER program recognizes and supports the early career development of teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. Recipients are selected on the basis of creative career development plans that effectively integrate research and teaching.
In the future Ferdowsi envisions, at least 10 percent of the vehicles on the road in the year 2020 will be in the form of a hybrid car that has an onboard energy storage unit. When not on the road, the vehicles would be plugged in to the power grid and their storage units would be used for grid regulation and peak load shaving, a technique that helps stabilize energy prices.
“It has been proven that employing energy storage systems improves the efficiency and reliability of the electric power generation as well as the power train of the vehicles,” Ferdowsi explains. “If both the transportation and electric power generation sectors used the same energy storage systems, we could integrate the two and improve the efficiency, fuel economy and reliability of both systems.”
Ferdowsi joined UMR in August 2004 after earning a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. In his 10 years of power electronics research experience, he has developed two new digital control techniques and a novel charge equalization technique. In addition, he has invented two new multi-input converter topologies, which improve the efficiency of energy storage systems and renewable energy sources.
Ferdowsi is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and an associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics.