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Welcome to the Renewable Energy & Advanced Power Electronics Research Lab at Texas A&M.

We are engineering next generation technologies to power widespread use of solar energy.

Our research spans the gap between solar cells and smart grids, supported by the NSF, QNRF, and industry partners.

With Texas A&M facilities in the USA and Qatar, our vision, expertise, and impact are global.

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Dr. Balog gives an IEEE Power Electronics Society Distinguished Lecture to the student branch chapters in Brazil.

As part of the IEEE Power Electronics Distinguished Lecture Series, Professor Balog, REAPERlab Director, gave a webinar talk on June 20, 2020 to the combined Brazil Power Electronics Society (PELS) student branch chapters entitled “Opportunities and Challenges in the Balance of Systems for Photovoltaic Energy.” The talk examined the balance-of-systems in photovoltaic systems and highlighted a selection of current research and development activities addressing hard and soft BOS costs.

Dr. Balog wishes to thank the IEEE Power Electronics Society Brazil student chapter leaders for organizing and hosting the lecture as part of their PELS Day 2020 celebration.

Research Assistant Sawsan and undergraduate researcher Safin present research paper at the 2020 IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC)

Research Assistant Ms. Sawsan Shukri and Undergraduate student Mr. Safin Bayes presented their paper entitled, “Parameter Extraction Testbed to Optimize Interconnections of Non-Planar Photovoltaics” at the 47th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), held virtually from June 15 to August 21st, 2020.

The paper presents results from an experimental study using a new experimental testbed that was developed to extract PV parameters in-situ. The experimental testbed is flexible, scalable, and suitable for research and development of non-planar PV applications. The benefit of this testbed is to collect data considering factors like cell aging, partial shading, and temperature effects. Such factors are not accounted for in the manufacturer’s datasheets. The experimental setup is used to obtain i-v and p-v curves of various PV array configurations to extract parameters that can be used model, simulate, and emulate the operation of the non-planar PV systems.

Undergraduate researchers Rahul, Fatima, and Oumaima present research paper at the 2020 IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC)

Undergraduate researchers Mr. Rahul Balamurugan, Ms. Fatima Al-Janahi, and Ms. Oumaima Bouhali presented a poster on their paper titled “Fourier Transform and Short-Time Fourier Transform Decomposition for Photovoltaic Arc Fault Detection” at the 47th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), held virtually from June 15 to August 21st, 2020.

The paper presents the development of an automated arc generator testbed for the in-situ generation and analysis of DC arcs, and a comparison of the Fast Fourier Transform and Short-Time Fourier Transform in analyzing the generated DC arcs. Mr. ​Kais AbdulMawjood, project mentor, and Ms. Sawsan Shukri, a staff research assistant, assisted in mentoring the team. This publication was made possible by QNRF grant # UREP24-023-2-010 from the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of Qatar Foundation).

Undergraduate researchers Abdelrahman, Seif, and Nabila present research paper at the 2020 IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC)

Recently graduated BSc. students Mr. Abdelrahman Amer, Mr. Seif Elgazar, and Ms. Nabila ElBeheiry presented their paper entitled “A Techno-Economic Study of Rooftop Grid-Connected Photovoltaic-Energy Storage Systems in Qatar” at the 47th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), held virtually from June 15 to August 21st, 2020.

Their paper investigated techniques for optimal sizing of the photovoltaic and energy storage components for a residential-based hybrid system in Qatar. They added innovative techniques including load modulation which subtly reduced energy consumption during times of excessive storage depleted to ensure that the most critical loads remained serviced. This was show to further minimize overall system costs. The result of this study presents the implementation steps of an economically feasible PV-ESS grid-connected system in the State of Qatar. The significance of these results is to portray techniques that can be used to set energy policies in the State of Qatar. Dr. Morcos Metry, a PostDoc in the REAPERlab, and Ms. Sawsan Shukri, a staff research assistant, assisted in mentoring the team.

Dr. Wesam Rohouma presents a research paper at the 47th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC)

Dr. Wesam Rohouma presented a paper co-authored with Dr. Robert Balog, Ph.D. student Mr. Aaqib Ahmad Peerzada, and Dr. Miroslav M. Begovic entitled “Parallel Operation of Capacitor-less D-STATCOM to Allow More Penetration of Photovoltaic Systems in Distribution Network” at the 47th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), held virtually from June 15 to August 21st, 2020.

The paper proposes the use of parallel D-STATCOM devices dispersed within the distribution network to provide support that enables more penetration of solar PV systems to the distribution network. With a form-factor similar to a standard pad-mounted transformer, the D-STATCOM provides reactive power to control voltage profile, and harmonics compensation to minimize the distortion in upstream voltages and currents.  Results show that the proposed parallel D-STATOCM devices have considerably improved the voltage profile at all the buses in the feeder.

TAMUQ undergraduate student selected for Undergraduate Research Scholars Outstanding Thesis Award in Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering (STEM)!

Texas A&M University at Qatar undergraduate students Fatima Al-Janahi ’20 and Rahul Balamuruga ’20 mentored by Dr. Robert S. Balog have been awarded the Texas A&M University Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) Outstanding Thesis Award for STEM.

Photovoltaic (PV) system fire hazards pose a serious threat to public safety and finances. Arc faults are one of the main causes of electrical fires, shock hazards, and failures in PV systems, thus, arc fault detection is crucial for reliable and safe system operation and is a prerequisite for high penetration of PV. To develop effective arc-fault detectors, a thorough understanding of the electrical characteristics of PV arcs is required, which is possible only by obtaining large samples of voltage and current waveforms. Various combinations of electrode material and geometry, electrical voltage and current, and electrode gap separation profile can be studied as these factors are hypothesized to affect the electrical characteristics of the arc. The arc voltage and current waveforms are then analyzed using spectral analysis methods.

Their research was supported in part by an Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) grant # UREP24-023-2-010 from the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of Qatar Foundation).

The REAPER lab congratulates Dr. Morcos Metry for graduating with his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University

Dr. Morcos Metry received his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering. His dissertation entitled “Model Predictive Control Methods for Photovoltaic Electrical Energy Conversion Systems” studied the theory of finite control set model predictive control (MPC) and the application to power electronics for photovoltaic (PV) energy systems. He developed novel control algorithms based on MPC for sensorless maximum power point tracking (MPPT) of the PV cells, control of single and three-phase grid-interactive inverters, and active filtering of the double-frequency power ripple within the single-phase inverter. His research resulted in a US patent application in addition to many scholarly conferences and journal publications. He also has extensive teaching experience as the primary lecturer and course instructor for the power electronics class as a Graduate Teaching Fellow for two years.

Dr. Metry received his B.S. from Texas A&M University at Qatar in electrical and computer engineering, with honors, in May 2014. Then he joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX USA to pursue his Ph.D. in Power Electronics. Morcos is also a research trainee in the Research and Development department of Qatar Foundation. His interest areas are in photovoltaic integration with the power grid using advanced control methods.

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