News Archive

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

Dr. Lance Alpuerto received his Ph.D. degree in Multidisciplinary Engineering. His dissertation entitled “Non-Planar Photovoltaic Surfaces: Modelling, Optimization, and Application” studied 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.

The REAPER lab congratulates undergraduate students Ms. Leen Al Homoud, Mr. Safin Bayes, and Mr. Rinith Reghunath on their graduation from Texas A&M University in Qatar.

The REAPERlab congratulates undergraduate students Ms. Leen Al Homoud, Mr. Safin Bayes, and Mr. Rinith Reghunath on their graduation with their B.S. in electrical engineering. As a team, they have been part of the REAPER lab over the last year and conducted innovative research into cyber-physical security for electrical power distribution systems by applying machine learning techniques to identify authenticated but malicious control commands. Such a scenario may exist if an attacker gains access to the control systems so that they appear to be authenticated, spoofing as a bona fide agent in the system. Such an attack vector would be undetectable with traditional cyber-security authentication methods. The students have submitted their research results for publication. The REAPERlab wishes them good luck as they start a new chapter in their professional lives.

Dr. Balog gives an distinguished keynote address to the IEEE 8th International Conference on Electrical and Electronics Engineering (ICEEE 2021).

As part of the IEEE Power Electronics Distinguished Lecture Series, Professor Balog, REAPERlab Director, gave a distinguished keynote presentation on April 9, 2021 entitled “A Smart PV Roof Tile and Non-Planar Photovoltaic Systems” to the IEEE 8th International Conference on Electrical and Electronics Engineering (ICEEE 2021). With the latest advances in photovoltaic material science technology, solar cells can now be curved, conformal coated, and even painted onto arbitrary surface geometries. This facilitates a paradigm shift from the traditional, building-applied, rigid planar modules to non-planar, structurally-integrated photovoltaic systems. PV arrays on curved surfaces enable new concepts for PV applications but also present new challenges for balance-of-system components, electrical interconnections, and power conditioning electronics. Non-uniform insolation across the PV surface complicates maximum power point tracking, which is well-known for planar PV but more complicated when the non-planar morphology inherently introduce the partial shading and thermal variations. Yet, these non-planar surfaces offer opportunities to increase energy harvest and shape the time-of-day generation profile, all while creating an architecturally appealing – even invisible – energy system. This talk presented results from a recent collaboration between Texas A&M University and the Middle East Technical University to develop a smart solar roof tile in the form-factor of the traditional terracotta roof tile.

Dr. Balog wishes to thank Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ali Ozcelik, Chair of the IEEE PELS Turkey Chapter for the invitation to present at the conference.

Dr. Balog gives an IEEE Power Electronics Society Distinguished Lecture to the Buffalo Section.

As part of the IEEE Power Electronics Distinguished Lecture Series, Professor Balog, REAPERlab Director, gave a talk on March 27, 2021 to the IEEE Buffalo Section and Power and Energy Society entitled “Challenges and Opportunities in the Balance of Systems for Photovoltaic Energy.” For years photovoltaic systems were all about the cells – specifically their cost and efficiency. It can be said that today’s cells are good enough and cheap enough. This talk examines the other costs and performance issues in photovoltaic systems – the so called balance of systems – to explore other technologies and considerations.

Dr. Balog wishes to thank Mr. Steven Rhoads, Chair of the IEEE PES Buffalo Section for organizing and “virtually” hosting the lecture.

Dr. Wesam Rohouma is elevated to Senior Member of the IEEE.

Congratulations to Dr. Wesam Rohouma for being selected by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for elevation to Senior Member. This elevation is professional recognition by his peers for his technical and professional excellence. In the REAPERlab, we agree! Dr. Rohouma has been a key contributor not only on his own research but also as a mentor to other. Congratulations and best wishes for a continued, successful, career.

Fatima Al-Janahi honored at the 14th Annual Education Excellence Day ceremony.

The REAPERlab congratulates Fatima Al-Janahi for receiving the Education Excellence Award. Ms. Al-Janahi was honored, in part, for her undergraduate research project on Characterizing Photovoltaic System Arc-Faults, which was supported by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) through the Undergraduate Research Experience Program Grant  UREP24-023-010. During the award ceremony, held March 1, 2021, Ms. Fatima was presented the award by His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.

The Education Excellence Day (EED) Award is an award in which outstanding Qatari individuals are honored in various fields to promote a culture of creativity and excellence among the Qatari society, push students to more excellence and outstanding educational attainment, and promote integration between individual and institutional efforts to improve educational outputs and bring them to global standards.

Dr. Balog gives an IEEE Power Electronics Society Distinguished Lecture to the Pittsburgh Chapter.

As part of the IEEE Power Electronics Distinguished Lecture Series, Professor Balog, REAPERlab Director, gave a talk to the Pittsburgh chapter entitled “Power Compensation in the Electrical Distribution System using a D-STATCOM.” The talk explored a solid-state power conditioner that can compensate reactive and harmonic power at or near the source before it flows upstream to the substation. As a fully controllable device, it can be deployed and dispatched as needed in the network.

Dr. Balog wishes to thank Dr. Hashim Al Hassan, Chair of the IEEE Power Electronics Society Pittsburgh Chapter for organizing and “virtually” hosting the lecture.

REAPERlab awarded a grant by the Qatar National Research Fund to develop a fault-tolerant, power quality compensator for use at the grid-edge in electrical distribution systems.

Dr. Robert Balog along with collaborators Dr. Wesam Rohouma (College of North Atlantic at Qatar), Dr. Miroslav Begovic (Texas A&M University, College Station) and collaborators at Kahramaa were awarded a NPRP cycle 13 project to develop technology designed to compensate the operation of modern electrical loads. Often, loads designed for efficiency improvement, such as LED solid state lighting, have an unintended consequence in how they interact with, and draw power from, the electrical utility grid. Reactive and harmonic power from these devices can cause harmonic distortion, low-voltage, increased technical losses, and other deleterious effect in the distribution system. This project is designed to develop technology to mitigate these effects and enable a higher penetration of smart loads, photovoltaic, electric vehicles and other modern devices into the electrical power distribution system.

Dr. Morcos Metry presents a research paper at the 2nd International Conference on Photovoltaic Science and Technology (PVCON).

Postdoctoral Researcher Dr. Morcos Metry and Ph.D. students Ms. Sawsan Shukri and Mr. Lance Alpuerto presented their paper entitled “Sizing of Differential Power Processing Converters Based on In-Situ Meteorological Data for Non-Planar Photovoltaic Applications” at the 2nd International Conference on Photovoltaic Science and Technology. The workshop, which was held virtually 30 November through 2 December 2020, was originally scheduled to be in-person in Ankara, TURKEY.

The paper develops a framework for designing power electronics converters for non-planar photovoltaic (PV) structures. The paper looks into the morphology of the PV structure, in-situ meteorological data, and models of current mismatch between neighboring PVs. The benefit of this study is the design of power electronics for non-planar PV that are both reliable and cost-effective.

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.

Safin Bayes presents a research paper at the 2nd International Conference on Photovoltaic Science and Technology (PVCON).

Undergraduate research assistant Mr. Safin H. Bayes and Ph.D. student Sawsan Shukri presented their paper entitled “Low Cost, Stand-Alone, In-situ, PV Curve Tracer” at the 2nd International Conference on Photovoltaic Science and Technology. The workshop, which was held virtually 30 November through 2 December 2020, was originally scheduled to be in-person in Ankara, TURKEY.

The paper aims to reduce the cost of a flexible and scalable i-v curve tracer that was developed previously in the REAPERLab. The system includes three main components: a source measuring unit, multiple relay boards, and a raspberry pi. The system enables four modes of operation: F1 is used to test individual PV modules, while F2 is used to perform a time-sequence test of the PV modules. F3 is used to test the interconnection of PV modules, and F4 is used to run a time-sequenced test of PV interconnections.

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