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Director

Prof. Robert S. Balog, PhD PE

PROFILE

LINKS

In Brief

Professor (with Tenure)

Director, REAPER Lab

Co-Director, NSF Center for Next Generation Photovoltaics

+001 (979) 862-4985

rbalog@tamu.edu

  • Power electronics at the grid-edge
  • Arc fault detection
  • Advanced energy systems
  • Solar electrical (photovoltaic) energy conversion
  • Low cost inverter system for use with alternative energy sources (including fuel cells, photovoltaic, etc.)
  • Power electronics reliability in alternative energy systems
  • Distributed dc power systems with emphasis on local/distributed control
  • Model predictive control
  • Non-linear control techniques

Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering · May 2006

University of Illinois; Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

 

M.S. in Electrical Engineering · May 2002

University of Illinois; Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

  • Area: Power Electronics
  • Thesis: “Coupled Inductor: A Basic Filter Building Block Analysis, Simulation, and Examples”
  • Advisor: Philip Krein

 

B.S. in Electrical Engineering · May 1996

Rutgers University; New Brunswick, New Jersey

Professional Experience

Texas A&M University at Qatar · August 1, 2015—Present

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Doha, Qatar
Joint Appointment with TAMU College Station

Professor, September 2020—Present
Associate Professor, September 2015—August 2020

Executive Director of Graduate Studies, January 2020 – Present

 

Texas A&M University · August 2009—Present

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; College Station, Texas, USA

Professor, September 2020—Present
Associate Professor, September 2015—August 2020
Assistant Professor, August 2009—August 2015

 

Middle East Technical University · July 2012

Ankara, Turkey

Visiting Scientist Fellowship Program

 

SolarBridge Technologies · August 2006—August 2009

Austin, Texas, USA (Formerly SmartSpark Energy Systems, Champaign, Illinois. Acquired by SunPower Corp in October 2014. Acquired by Enphase Energy Inc. in July 2018 )

Senior Engineer

  • Co-inventor and technology developer of a grid-interactive, ACPV photovoltaic inverter
  • Technical leader successfully attracted and closed $6MM California-based venture capital financing
  • Lead researcher for application of power electronics to fuel cells for portable military power
  • Managed a 16 member development team including nine in-house engineers and five consultants

 

United States Army Corp of Engineers · September 2005—May 2006

Engineer Research and Development Center – Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC-CERL)

Contract Researcher

  • Contract # W9132T-05-C-0026, “Advanced Energy Initiative ATO”
  • Conducted research into distributed and renewable energy sources and
  • Conducted research into next generation power distribution controls and topologies

 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign · August 1999—May 2006

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering; Urbana, Illinois, USA

Graduate Research Assistant

  • TA for Power Electronics Lab (2 semesters), Senior Design, capstone design course
  • Applied industry design experience to improve experimental facilities
  • Updated teaching lab with custom designed equipment and improvements to instruction (published)

 

Lutron Electronics, Inc. · June 1996—July 1999

Coopersburg, Pennsylvania

Project Electrical Engineer

  • Analog and digital hardware design, worst-case and failure analysis, PCB design for EMC compatibility
  • New product definition, specification and development including electrical design / testing
  • Engineering support for manufacturing / operations at manufacturing facility in Puerto Rico
  • UL, FCC, CE, VDE compliance testing including European EMC directive

Selected Grants & Contracts

  1. PI, “5G Connected and Photovoltaic Powered Next Generation Greenhouse for Food Security,” Qatar National Research Foundation, $798,855, 8/15/2020-8/14/2023.PI, “Safe and Reliable Electrical Distribution Systems,” Qatar National Research Foundation, $25,000, 7/1/2019-6/30/2020.
  2. PI, “A Fault-Tolerant Capacitor-less Power Quality Compensator for Electrical Distribution Systems,” Qatar National Research Foundation, $719,366, 1/1/2017-6/30/2020.
  3. Co-PI, “I/UCRC for Next Generation Photovoltaics – Texas A&M University Site,” National Science Foundation, $400,000, 7/15/2016-6/30/2021.
  4. PI, “Smart PV Skin: Grid-Connected, Non-Planar Photovoltaic Systems,” Qatar National Research Foundation, $705,672, 10/1/2014-9/30/2017.
  5. PI, “Planning Grant: I/UCRC for Next Generation Photovoltaics – Texas A&M University Site,” National Science Foundation, $14,365, 9/1/2014-8/31/2015.
  6. PI, “1-MW PV Power RD&D Using SiC-based qZS Cascade Multilevel Inverter and Battery Energy Storage,” Qatar National Research Foundation, $4.6M, 7/2013-8/2018.
  7. PI, “Characterization of Noise in DC Photovoltaic Systems,” Sandia National Laboratories – US Department of Energy, $28,075, 2/15/2014 – 9/30/2014.
  8. PI, “Arc Flash Detection in Photovoltaic DC Arrays Using Wavelets,” National Science Foundation, $100,000, 7/2013-6/2014.
  9. PI, “Power Supply Component Reliability,” SolarBridge Technologies Inc., PI: R. Balog, 1 grad student, 1/2012-5/2013, $27,152.
  10. PI, “Power Electronics Experimental Design Using NI cRIO and LabView,” National Instruments, PI: R. Balog, 1 grad student, 1 undergrad student, 1/2013-9/2013, $20,000.
  11. Co-PI, “REU Site: Smart Energy and Smart Systems: Enabling the Future through Electrical & Computer Engineering,” National Science Foundation, $402,000, 2011 – 2014.
  12. PI, “Advanced Model Predictive Control of Power Electronics Converters and Electric Drives,” Qatar National Research Foundation, $1,033,556, 2011-2014.
  13. PI, “Energy Harvesting Using Flexible & Conformal Photovoltaic Materials,” Visiting Scientist Fellowship Program, The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, 6/2012-7/2012.
  14. Co-PI, “Interdisciplinary Experience in Electricity: A “Grass-roots” Approach,” Texas A&M University, $180,000, 2012 – 2015.
  15. Co-PI, “Smartphone App to Automate Residential Photovoltaic Energy System Design,” Texas A&M University System Engineering Network Research Strategy Group for Junior Faculty Research Collaboration, 7/2013-8/2014, $1,400.
  16. PI, Texas State Energy Conservation Office, “Pilot Photovoltaic (PV) TAMU Installation,$200,000, 2010-2011.
  17. Co-PI, Technical Leader, Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratories, Phase I Grant, “Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems program (SEGIS),” $250,000, 2008-2009.
  18. PI: US Department of Agriculture, SBIR FY2007 Phase II Grant, “Power Supply for Remote Unattended Loads,” $350k, 9/2007 – 9/2009.
  19. Consultant: US Army Engineer Research and Development Center – Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC-CERL), Contract # W9132T-05-C-0026, “Advanced Energy Initiative ATO,” 9/2005–5/2006.
  • Senior Member, National Academy of Inventors (NAI), 2019
  • Distinguished Lecturer, IEEE Power Electronics Society, 2020-2021
  • Distinguished Lecturer, IEEE Power Electronics Society, 2018-2019
  • Patent and Innovation Award, Texas A&M University System Office of Technology Commercialization, 2017
  • Member, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, External Public Body, 2011
  • Distinguished Engineer Award, Rutgers University College of Engineering, 2011
  • Nominee, Richard M. Bass Outstanding Young Power Electronics Engineer Award, 2009
  • IEEE Senior Member, 2007
  • Harriett & Robert Perry Fellow, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005–2006
  • Ernest A. Reid Fellow, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004–2005
  • Joseph J. Suozzi INTELEC Fellow, IEEE , 2001–2002
  • EMCWA Scholarship, 2001
  • Grainger Outstanding Power Engineering Award, May 2001 and May 2006
  • Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America

Professional Engineer

State of Illinois · January 2004—Present

License #062-057093

State of Texas· April 2019—Present

License #134053

Service

ADCOM member, IEEE Power Electronics Society, 2010—Present

  • Distinguished Lecturer, 2018-2019, 2020-2021
  • co-Chair, Mentorship Commitee, 2017-present
  • elected, Member-at-Large, 2015-2017
  • co-Chair, Membership Committee 2012-2014
  • Chair, Graduates of the Last Decade (now Young Professionals) 2010-2012

Editor / Editorial Board Member (select)

  • Associate Editor, IEEE Power Transactions on Energy Conversion, 2010—Present
  • Associate Editor, IEEE Power Engineering Society Letters, 2011—Present
  • Guest Associate Editor, IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics, Special issue on Reliability, 2013–2014
  • Guest Associate Editor, IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion, Special issue on Advanced Distributed Control of Energy Conversion Devices and Systems, 2013–2014
  • Editorial Board, International Journal on Advanced Electrical Engineering (IJAEE), 2012—Present

Technical Program Chair

  • IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE) 2016

Technical Program Committee Member (select)

  • IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE) 2010, 2012, 2015
  • IEEE Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) 2009

Reviewer (select)

  • IEEE Transitions on Power Electronics
  • IEEE Transitions on Energy Conversion
  • IEEE Transitions on Smart Grid
  • IEEE Transitions on Industry Applications
  • IEEE Transitions on Industrial Electronics
  • IEEE Power Electronics Letters
  • IEEE Power Electronics Specialist Conference (PESC)
  • IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE)
  • IEEE Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC)
  • IEEE Industry Applications Conference (IAS)
  • IEEE North American Power Symposium (NAPS)

 

Standards Committees

Membership with Voting Authority

  • Standards Technical Panel (STP) UL 1741: Inverters, Converters, and Controllers for Independent Power Systems
  • Standards Technical Panel (STP) UL 1699B: Photovoltaic (PV) DC Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupters

 

Affiliations

Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE)

  • Member since 1992
  • Senior Member since 2007
  • Societies: Power Electronics, Power and Energy, Industrial Applications

Memberships (past and Present)

  • National Academy of Inventors (NAI)
  • Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA)
  • American Wind Energy Association (AWES)
  • American Solar Energy Society (ASES)
  • Texas Solar Energy Society (TXSES)
  • Power Systems Engineering Research Center (PSERC)
  • National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
  • Illinois Society of Professional Engineers (ISPE)
  • American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
  • Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) – Electrical Engineering Honor Society
  • Sigma Xi – The Scientific Research Society
  • Electrical Manufacturing Coil Winding Association (EMCWA)
  • National Eagle Scout Association, Boy Scouts of America (BSA)

Courses

  • ENGR 111 – Foundations of Engineering
  • ECEN 214 – Electric Circuits (TAMU Undergrad Fa09, Fa11, Sp11; TAMUQ Su17 Su 18)
  • ECEN 215 – Principles of Electrical Engineering (TAMUQ Fa15, Sp16, Fa16, Sp18, Sp19, Sp20)
  • ECEN 438 – Power Electronics (TAMU Undergrad Fa12, Fa13, Fa14; TAMUQ Fa19, Fa20)
  • ECEN 489 – Photovoltaic Energy Systems (TAMUQ Sp16, Fa16, Fa18)
  • ECEN 613 – Inverters and Rectifiers (TAMU Grad Sp10, Sp11)
  • ECEN 689 – Power Electronics for Renewable Energy Sources (TAMU Grad Fa10, Fa11, Sp13)
  • ECEN 712 – Power Electronics for Renewable Energy Sources (TAMU Grad Sp14)

 

Mentoring

  • Faculty Advisor, IEEE Power Electronics Society Texas A&M Student Branch Chapter, 2010-Present
  • Program Coordinator, NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): Smart Energy and Smart Systems – Powering the SmartGrid Sensor System, Summers 2013-2015
  • Faculty Mentor, NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): Smart Energy and Smart Systems – Powering the SmartGrid Sensor System, Summers 2011-2014
  • Team Mentor, Engineering Projects in Community Service, 2010-2011
  • Sponsor of PV Primer, Power Across Texas Energy Primer Challenge ($9,000 student scholarship. Texas A&M took 1st place in Texas—beating  UT Austin and Texas Tech.), 2010
  • Nominee, Harold L. Olesen Award (UIUC) for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

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