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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Minjeong Kim presents research paper at the Twenty-First IEEE Workshop on Control and Modeling for Power Electronics (COMPEL).

Ph.D. student Ms. Minjeong Kim presented her paper entitled “Commutation Method for a Three-Phase Current-Sourced High-Frequency AC-link Inverter” at the twenty-first IEEE Workshop on Control and Modeling for Power Electronics on November 10, 2020. The workshop, which was held virtually, was originally scheduled to be in-person in Aalborg, DENMARK.

The paper proposes a new commutation method for a three-phase current-sourced high-frequency ac-link inverter. The paper includes the basic operation principles of the topology and the requirements for current commutation. The publication is based on research supported by the US Army Research Laboratory through the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Next Generation Photovoltaics (IIP-1624539).

Dr. Wesam Rohouma presents a research paper at the Twenty-First IEEE Workshop on Control and Modeling for Power Electronics (COMPEL).

Assistant Research Scientist Dr. Wesam Rohouma and Postdoctoral Researcher Dr. Morcos Metry presented their research on improving the reliability of the Capacitorless D-STATCOM in the distribution networks on November 10, 2020. The workshop, which was held virtually, was originally scheduled to be in-person in Aalborg, DENMARK.

This paper presents a method based on Model Predictive Control (MPC) to reduce switching losses in the converter by controlling the error margin size (aka penalizing fidelity) while maintaining acceptable operation within IEEE harmonics standards. This work results show a reduction in switching frequency by over 30%, which results in reducing switching losses and improving the reliability of the system.

This publication was made possible by NPRP grant # 9-204-2-103 from the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of Qatar Foundation). The statements made herein are solely the responsibility of the authors. The authors acknowledge and thank Prof. Pat Wheeler and Prof. Lee Empringham from the power electronics and machine control group at the University of Nottingham, UK, for their collaboration on the matrix converter prototype design and fabrication.

Dr. Morcos Metry presents research paper at the Twenty-First IEEE Workshop on Control and Modeling for Power Electronics (COMPEL).

Postdoctoral Researcher Dr. Morcos Metry, and Ph.D. Candidate Ms. Minjeong Kim presented their research on a closed-loop controller for the ripple port module integrated inverter at the twenty-first IEEE Workshop on Control and Modeling for Power Electronics on November 10, 2020. The workshop, which was held virtually, was originally scheduled to be in-person in Aalborg, DENMARK.

This paper presents a closed-loop controller using Model Predictive Control (MPC) for the ripple port module integrated inverter (RP-MII). The invention, development, and improvement of the ripple port inverters have been led by multiple REAPER lab members to mitigate the reliability issues associated with using bulky electrolytic capacitors at the dc link to filter out double frequency ripple. One challenge with the ripple port inverter has been its closed-loop control requiring multiple complex control loops with various objectives. This work presents a framework using MPC’s multi-objective feature to regulate the RP-MII using a single control loop. This work shows a reduction in dc-link capacitor sizes required from 800 uF to 16 uf, improving the RP-MII’s overall reliability as more reliable film capacitors could be employed.

This publication is based on research supported by the US Army Research Laboratory through the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Next Generation Photovoltaics (IIP-1624539). This publication was also made possible in part by PDRA grant # 5-0422-19004 from the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of the Qatar Foundation). The statements made herein are solely the responsibility of the authors.

Ph.D. Final Examination: Dr. Lance Alpuerto

REAPER Lab congratulates Dr. Lance Alpuerto for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation, “Non-Planar Photovoltaic Surfaces: Modeling, Optimization, and Application.” His research investigated the application of flexible thin-film photovoltaic (PV) materials conformed to curved surfaces. He developed a comprehensive modeling methodology to evaluate the potential advantages and disadvantages when applied to a non-planar surface. Using a multi-physics based approach, the major factors that influence PV applications are evaluated to predict the real-world operating conditions and electrical behaviors. The unique issue of self-shading, causing a mismatch in current density, on curved applications is addressed by creating an approach to optimize the interconnection strategy for improved performance. His work details a standardized and scale-invariant modeling foundation for the purpose of promoting future investigations into non-planar PV technologies.

Lance received his B.A. in Mathematics from Lyon College in Batesville, AR, in 2013 and then M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University at College Station, TX in 2016.

Professor Balog, Director of the Renewable Energy and Advanced Power Electronics Lab at Texas A&M University, reaches a career milestone of being a named inventor on twenty US Patents.

The REAPERlab congratulates Prof.Balog on his milestone achievement of being a named inventor on twenty US Patents. Most of these patents have been assigned or licensed to the industry and have already been or are currently being commercialized. Dr. Balog commented, “Scientific papers are an important part of the research process, but patents indicate the impact of the technology on society. A patent means that the idea is not only intellectually interesting, but it is useful and novel intellectual property that addresses a need in society.” The subject areas of Dr. Balog’s patents include lighting controls, power electronic control and circuitry, photovoltaic balance of systems including mechanical assembly of microinverters and PV module attachement methocs, cybersecurity, and arc fault detection.

Professor Balog and Dr. Zhan Wang named as inventors on a new US Patent for Arc Fault Detection.

Professor Balog and Dr. Zhan Wang were awarded US Patent 10,790,799 on September 29, 2020 for their invention entitled “Systems and Methods for Determining Arc Events Using Wavelet Decomposition and Support Vector Machines.” The patented technology was developed through research supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant No. ECCS-1238412. This becomes the second technology in the patent portfolio developed by Dr. Balog and the REAPER lab pertaining to arc fault detection. The first patent, US 9,329,220, entitled “Method and System for Detecting Arc Faults and Flashes Using Wavelets.” was awarded in 2016.

Dr. Wang graduated with his Ph.D. from the REAPER lab, Texas A&M University, in December 2016; his dissertation was entitled “Arc Fault Detection in DC Photovoltaic Systems.” Prior to joining the REAPER lab, he received his B.Sc in Electrical Engineering – Electric Machines and Drives from Zhejiang University, China, in 2010.

Assistant Reseach Scientist Dr. Wesam Rohouma joins the College of North Atlantic Qatar as an Assistant Professor.

The REAPERlab congratulates Dr. Wesam Rohouma for his recent appointment as an Assistant Professor at the College of North Atlantic Qatar. Dr. Rohoum joined the REAPERlab as a Post Doctoral research associate in 2017 and was promoted to Assistant Research Scientist. While with REAPERlab, Wesam made many valuable contributions to not only the research projects but to designing and developing the reserach laboratory environement. While he will be missed, we congratulate him on the next step in his career and wish him all the best.

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