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Special Report
Bradley Fellow/Scholar Alumni

 April 2001


Power Research

Associated Centers:
Center for Power Engineering
Center for Energy and the Global Environment
The World Institute for Disaster Risk Management

Representative Power Projects

Center for Power Engineering

ECE Faculty
Arun G. Phadke, Director
Robert P. Broadwater
Virgilio Centeno
Jaime De La Ree
Lamine Mili
Kwa-Sur Tam
Yilu Liu


The Center has been involved in promoting close cooperation with colleagues in Europe, particularly with universities in Grenoble, France and Lausanne, Switzerland. Three short courses for practicing engineers from electric power engineering companies throughout Europe were developed, with more than 50 students participating. Virginia Tech faculty also helped organize a workshop in Grenoble in January 2000 with more planned in the summer of 2001.

The Center has been instrumental over the past two years in establishing The International Institute for Critical Infrastructures (CRIS). The Institute is led by program directors from The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong), EnerSearch, AB (Sweden), LEG/ENSIEG/INPG (France), Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland) and Virginia Tech. The Institute is managed through an Executive Council, elected by members of the CRIS General Assembly, which is presently comprised of the President (Arun Phadke, VT), Secretary General (Hans Ottosson, EnerSearch Industrial Research Consortium, Sweden), and four Program Directors. The General Assembly, consisting of affiliated industrial members, affiliated research organizations, universities and institutes of technology from all over the world, currently lists approximately 20 members. The next meeting of the CRIS Executive Council will be in December 2001.

CRIS research projects promote developments in the three critical infrastructures (power, communications, and computer) in such a way that they will serve the needs of each other in an integrated fashion. By bringing together experts in these three disciplines they will be able to join forces to develop systems for the future, combining the capabilities, opportunities, and goals for research in these three disciplines into a unified vision. The expertise in these fields exists in many institutions around the world, and the institute is developing a strategy, which will tap into this pool of expertise across national boundaries.

Accomplishments and activities in the distribution area include the development of a phase prediction program that estimates the phasing of laterals from start-of-circuit measurements and customer loading. Electrical distribution circuits consist of main feeders which have ABC phases and laterals which have only one or two phases, such as an A phase or AB phases. Knowing the phasing of laterals is important to many engineering functions as well as power restoration functions during emergency conditions. The program is currently being used by Detroit Edison.
Engineering design in electrical calculations often focus on a particular approach, such as placing capacitors to improve voltage profiles or phase balancing to improve efficiency. However, capacitors also affect efficiency and phase balancing affects voltage profiles. An integrated design capability has been developed that allows such design calculations to work together to achieve an "integrated design." This work is being reported in an IEEE paper and is in its very early stages.

In the area of power system equipment diagnosis and monitoring, an artificial intelligence-based transformer diagnosis system has been developed for the electric power industry and has been put on the Web (www.powerIT.vt.edu) for access all over the world. The system can be used for off-line and on-line fault monitoring and prediction. Also, in collaboration with the Photonics Laboratory, research is underway to develop a fiber optic sensor-based transformer partial discharge monitoring system.

A study of transformer failures in pumped storage plant GSU transformers is in progress for the Taiwan Power Company. Another power electronics application effort, supported by NSF, is a study of the dynamic performance of the superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) in stabilizing power system oscillations.

In the area of Information Technology (IT) applications, we are developing a comprehensive Power System Information Network architecture based on Internet (including Intranet/Extranet) and IT to enable seamless, flexible, cost-effective integration and access of information and communication in the power industry. As a test system, a small real-time information subnetwork will be developed to link 18 control centers in the eastern part of the United States and gather real time information for power transfer path calculations and congestion control functions. Also, in the area of Information Technology (IT) applications, a Virtual hospital is being developed for power equipment diagnosis and information exchange.
In the areas of Power System Protection we have continued our research related to hidden failures in Protection Systems and their impact on wide-area disturbances. A methodology to identify hidden failures in wide-area disturbances has been developed and the effect of hidden failures in the degradation of wide-area disturbances has been highlighted. A topic related to this research was featured as the keynote paper in the European Power System Protection Conference 2000. The researchers have been invited to present advances in this area at the upcoming conference in 2002.

Center for Energy and the Global Environment
Saifur Rahman, Director

Virginia Million Solar Roofs. CEAGE Researchers at the Alexandria Research Institute are executing a first-year plan of education, research and outreach to support innovative ways to address Virginia's energy needs and environmental challenges.


The Center for Energy and the Global Environment (CEAGE) conducts research in the areas of energy efficiency, environmental impacts, electricity restructuring, distributed resource support for the information technology industry, intelligent systems, and geothermal heat pumps. During the last year, the center has been involved with educational and technology development projects, in Virginia and around the world.

CEAGE researchers are working to develop the digital library network described on page 34. Another project relating to working engineers and business persons involves identifying bottlenecks and opportunities for higher level SBIR funding of Virginia companies. The study identified barriers that prevented successful phase progression and commercialization. Another community education project promotes the installation of ground-source heat pump systems for the heating and cooling of K-12 school buildings throughout Virginia. In addition, a modular, web-based course is being developed for undergraduate students on renewable energy and the global environment. Two additional projects include:

· Innovative Approaches to Providing Electric Power as a Critical Infrastructure Element for High-Technology Economic Growth in Virginia. This project focuses on Virginia's ability to provide the high-quality power and security of electricity supply demanded by mission critical facilities of high-tech industry.

· Greenhouse Gas Pollution Prevention Project. Sponsored by the Louis Berger Group, Inc. CEAGE assisted this client in a USAID-sponsored mission to India by conducting an on-site Training Needs Assessment (TNA) for higher civil services non-government organizations in India, on opportunities for integrating energy development and climate change goals.

Representative Research Projects in the Power Area

A Joint Research Project ATCS Evaluation
Security Mapping and Reliability Index Evaluation
Damage Assessment, Control, and Restoration of the Electric Power Grid Following Catastrophic Disturbances
Energy Research Group Program
Innovative Technologies for Defense Against Catastrophic Failures of Complex, Interactive Power Networks
Workshop: Precise Phasor Measurements in Power Systems
Technical and US Marketing Assessment of EUROSTAG
Generation and Use of Electricity and Their Impacts on the Environment
Integration of Energy Storage Systems and Modern Flexible AC Transmission Devices
GOALI-VT/BWX Technologies Joint Research Project
Geothermal Heat Pumps for Energy$mart Schools in Virginia.
Virginia Million Solar Roofs and PV4VA: Combining Resources for Solar Energy Education, Research, and Outreach.
Greenhouse Gas Pollution Prevention Project in India.
Innovative Approaches to Providing Electric Power as a Critical Infrastructure Element for High-Technology Economic Growth in Virginia.
A Case Study to Identify Bottlenecks and Opportunities for Higher-Level SBIR Funding of Virginia Companies.


The Bradley Department
of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Virginia Tech

Last Updated, July 15, 2001
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