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Critical infrastructure
and transportation project


Project Overview

icon-energyicon-buildingThis project fits into iSEE’s Energy Transitions and Sustainable Infrastructure research themes.


“With recent changes in water and fuel availability, energy production and regulation, and community interaction, the previously omitted interdependencies between critical infrastructure systems in the United States are not as negligible as they once were,” Lead Investigator Thomas Overbye said. “This project focuses on developing an analytical framework for modeling and analyzing these Interdependent Critical Infrastructure (ICI) systems, incorporating both renewable energy and national transportation systems.”

The results will be used to create a wealth of knowledge that will drive future energy and environmental policies, infrastructure design and management, and educational curricula, Overbye said.


Project News

P.I. Tom Overbye reports the following successes one year into this iSEE-funded project:

  • The dependence of the electric grid on water has been analyzed, using droughts and heat waves to develop generation operating points and constraints.
  • The team has quantified the tradeoffs between profitability, food and fuel production, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and nitrate runoff reduction with different types of biofuels in the Sangamon watershed in Illinois and analyzed the optimal mix of biofuels as well as the policies that should supplement the mandate to achieve multiple environmental outcomes.
  • Project researchers have modeled the load of EV charging stations in response to day-ahead electricity prices; the next step will be to incorporate EV load modeling as a demand response program into the electricity market.
  • The team is continuing a study that found that on average, the total mining water used in U.S. oil/gas producing counties has increased by 62% since fracking expanded in the late 2000s; results suggest that the majority of additional water used was withdrawn from groundwater resources.
  • And the team has developed a model used to examine the synergies and trade-offs generated by overlapping renewable energy policies in the transportation sector and their implications for the cost of GHG mitigation.

The Team

Members of the Renewable Energy Sources for Transportation team include, from left: Back row: Yenfeng Ouyang, Shaowen Wang, Kaiaking Zhang, Ashlynn Stilwell, Albert Valocchi, Ximing Cai, Hadi Meidani. Front row: Jia Zhang, Madhu Khanna, Hao Zihua, Thomas Overbye and Desiree Phiillips.

Members of the Critical Infrastructure and Transportation team include, from left:
Back row: Yanfeng Ouyang, Shaowen Wang, Kaiqing Zhang, Ashlynn Stillwell, Albert Valocchi, Ximing Cai, and Hadi Meidani.
Front row: Jia Zhong, Madhu Khanna, Hao Zhu, Thomas Overbye, and Desiree Phillips.

Principal Investigators and co-PIs (all pictured in group photo)

Operating Team: Faculty, Scientists, Postdocs, and Students (all in group photo unless otherwise noted)

Former Team Members

    • Thomas Overbye, original PI, former Fox Family Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).

PhD candidate William Lubega presents his work 'Maintaining Electric Grid Reliability Under Drought Conditions' at the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress on May 25, 2016, in West Palm Beach, Fla.

PhD candidate William Lubega presents his work ‘Maintaining Electric Grid Reliability Under Drought Conditions’ at the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress on May 25, 2016, in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Publications & Presentations

(iSEE project members’ names in bold):

  • Presentation: “Maintaining Electric Grid Reliability under Drought Conditions.” Lubega, W. World Environmental and Water Resources Congress, West Palm Beach, FL, 2016.
  • Publication: “Mix of First- and Second-Generation Biofuels to Meet Multiple Environmental Objectives: Implications for Policy at a Watershed Scale.” Housh, M.; Khanna, M.; Cai, X. Water Economics and Policy, World Scientific, 2015, doi: 10.1142/S2382624X1550006X.