DEMAND / CONVERSION

04-en-demandHigh-power density electrical machines offer the potential for major advances in energy conversion for renewable technologies, transportation systems, and high performance process control. Research at Illinois is focused on creating the next generation of energy conversion machines to enable larger-scale renewable resources, cars, and airplanes. This requires extensive interaction between electrical, mechanical, materials, systems, and economics experts.

 

Areas of Research Focus

Power electronics is perhaps the most efficient and flexible mechanism for energy conversion and facilitates renewables (primarily solar and wind) and energy harvesting. Research at Illinois is focused on devices of all sizes and of all purposes. This is especially important for controlling electrical machines and harvesting devices. This uses:

  • Circuit theory.
  • Topologies.
  • CMOS integration.
  • GaN.
  • Thermal and solar.
  • Module-embedded power electronics.
  • Advanced measurement and control.
  • Use of stored solar energy cooking, other residential purposes.
  • Waste plastics to oils.
  • Thermo-chemical conversion of waste biomass/non-food oils to biofuels.
  • Conversion of biomass to bioenergy.
  • Fermentation.
  • Coproduct recovery.

Converters for changing solar DC into commercial AC involve massive numbers of converters that must be high efficiency and flexible for alternative configurations. Illinois research in solar utilization focuses on providing this energy conversion technology for all sizes of solar.

Energy harvesting can involve thermoelectric, fuel cells, vibrations, photovoltaic and various pressure-sensitive mechanisms. Converting motion and pressure into electricity must be done efficiently and cleanly.

Data center power must be efficient and deliver the power at various levels — from chip to board to rack to building. The design of the proper energy conversion devices at each of these levels is critical for efficient energy use. Illinois research works on all of these levels.

Micro-grids are evolving into more complex energy production networks that need high-reliability performance and control. Illinois research is focusing on distributed control techniques to ensure reliable island operation as well as grid-connected operation.

Researchers

James Allison

James Allison

Electro-thermal system design

Narayana Aluru

Narayana Aluru

Electrical and chemical engineering; materials science

Phillip Ansell

Phillip Ansell

Electrical and chemical engineering; materials science

Can Bayram

Can Bayram

Microelectronics and photonics

Joe A. Bradley

Joe A. Bradley

Product development and design

David G. Cahill

David G. Cahill

Thermal materials

Shen Dillon

Shen Dillon

Storage materials

Nora El-Gohary

Nora El-Gohary

Energy-water-environment sustainability

Elif Ertekin

Elif Ertekin

Thermal materials

Andrew Gewirth

Andrew Gewirth

Electrochemistry

Tony Grift

Tony Grift

Biomass production

George Gross

George Gross

Power and energy systems

Alan Hansen

Alan Hansen

Biomass, biofuels, and diesel engines

Kiruba Haran

Kiruba Haran

Power and energy systems

Anthony Jacobi

Anthony Jacobi

Fluid mechanics and thermal sciences

Harley Johnson

Harley Johnson

Electronics and photonics

Paul Kenis

Paul Kenis

Microfuel cells and microreactors

Philip Krein

Philip Krein

Power and energy systems

Waltraud M. Kriven

Waltraud M. Kriven

Mechanical properties and materials

Bruce Elliott-Litchfield

Bruce Elliott-Litchfield

Stored solar energy

Moshe Matalon

Moshe Matalon

Fluid mechanics

Hadi Meidani

Hadi Meidani

Resilient infrastructure and sustainable transportation

Nenad Miljkovic

Nenad Miljkovic

Fluid mechanics and thermal sciences

Erica Myers

Erica Myers

Energy economics and environmental economics

Ralph Nuzzo

Ralph Nuzzo

Photovoltaics and catalysis

Kevin O'Brien

Kevin O'Brien

Traditional and alternative energies

Yanfeng Ouyang

Yanfeng Ouyang

Transportation and infrastructure

Nandakishore Rajagopalan

Nandakishore Rajagopalan

Biomass and biofuels

Todd Rusk

Todd Rusk

Efficient operations

William H. Sanders

William H. Sanders

Secure energy systems

Peter W. Sauer

Peter W. Sauer

Power systems and security

John Scott

John Scott

Analytical chemistry and biofuels

B.K. Sharma

B.K. Sharma

Biolubricants and alternative fuels

Moonsub Shim

Moonsub Shim

Nanoelectronics

Clifford Singer

Clifford Singer

Nuclear power economics and policy

Vijay Singh

Vijay Singh

Food and biofuel engineering

Kyle Smith

Kyle Smith

Fluid dynamics and thermal sciences

Ashlynn Stillwell

Ashlynn Stillwell

Hydraulic engineering

Rizwan Uddin

Rizwan Uddin

Nuclear power

Xinlei Wang

Xinlei Wang

Building energy efficiency and diesel engines

Scott Willenbrock

Scott Willenbrock

Elementary particle theory

Yuanhui Zhang

Yuanhui Zhang

Indoor air quality

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