Agile Interconnected Microgrids (AIM)

Agile Interconnected Microgrids (AIM) is a multidisciplinary research center with a broad research goal of solving long-term technical challenges of our nation's energy objective through microgrid modeling, control, and optimization. AIM has many research threads focused on achieving a single goal: scalable and flexible energy-resource planning and execution for military and commercial sectors. The areas of research include stability, optimization and control, cyber security, economics, intelligent power electronics, and human factors.

Agile microgrids of the future will efficiently use stochastic generation, stochastic loads, and minimal energy storage to deliver power in both structured and unstructured environments. Their intelligent, multimode use of vehicles, high penetration of renewable sources, and system-level efficiency offer the promise of reducing fossil-fuel consumption.

The purpose of the Center for Agile Interconnected Microgrids is to

  • develop technology and train engineers for the design, deployment, and operation of agile microgrids with high penetration renewables, both fixed and mobile assets and the ability to interconnect within a cyber-secure framework;
  • devise a curriculum and conduct commercial research that imparts engineers with the skills to solve energy-related, interdisciplinary problems and design next-generation systems; and
  • commercialize IP developed at Michigan Tech to field microgrid and cybersecurity applications.

Faculty + Research = Discovery

Our department boasts world-class faculty who have access to numerous innovative research labs and are committed to discovery and learning. This encompasses a range of research areas, experiences, and expertise related to agile interconnected microgrids. Learn more about our faculty and their research interests:

Research Projects

Our faculty engage in a number of research projects, many of which are publicly funded. A sample listing of recent research projects focused on agile interconnected microgrids appears below. You can also view a broader list of research projects taking place across the mechanical engineering department.

Recently Funded Projects

On Integrating Object Detection Capability into a Coastal Energy Conversion System

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Umesh Korde
Co-Investigator: Ossama Abdelkhalik
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Project Summary
Near-shore wave energy converter arrays may be designed to provide uninterrupted power to a number of coastal sensing applications, including sensors monitoring meteorological conditions, sea-water chemical/physical properties, tsunamis and storm surges, fish and other marine life, coastal and sea-floor conditions, etc. Active control seeking near-optimum hydrodynamic operation has been shown to enable a dramatic reduction in device size for required amounts of power. Certain features of the control strategies developed make them particularly amenable to incorporation of additional sensing capability based on the wave patterns generated by intruding submerged objects (at distances on the order of 1000 m), in particular, the phase changes to the approaching wave field that occur in the presence of an object.
This project investigates schemes for actively controlled wave energy converter arrays in coastal waters which enable detection of intruding marine vessels by monitoring the spatial and temporal energy conversion rates over the arrays. The proposed approach mainly utilizes a linear-theory based understanding of wave propagation, body hydrodynamics, and controller design, but also incorporates nonlinear extensions based on Volterra series modeling. Of particular interest, is using small device sizes, for which response nonlinearities can be significant. Therefore, it is proposed to exploit the nonlinearities to enhance energy generation. Furthermore, also investigate ways to utilize features of the nonlinear response that enable preferential coupling to certain phase signatures, so that energy conversion by certain array elements would imply the presence of an object. Analysis and simulation results on arrays of moored devices will be extended to free-floating arrays.
The first objective of the overall effort is to evaluate the proposed techniques through analysis and simulation. For near-shore sea areas to be identified, two categories or types of array designs with their own particular control strategies will be investigated, using Hydrodynamics and Controls based analytical techniques and detailed simulations (linear and nonlinear). Necessary in this process is the characterization of the phase-change signatures of various submerged objects when stationary and when in translation. This knowledge will provide the test parameters for the designs to be investigated. The first two years of the overall, 4-year long, effort are expected to provide the groundwork for the development of a prototype system. Prior to 'at-sea' prototype testing, first test the prototype in a wave-basin environment. To provide reliable designs for the testing in the wave basin, wave tank testing under simplified conditions is also proposed. The overall testing sequence from wave tank tests through wave-basin tests to 'at sea' tests is expected to occur over years 3 and 4.
Awarded Amount: $776,231
Keywords: Wave Energy Conversion, WECs,

CAREER: An Ecologically -Inspired Approach to Battery Lifetime Analysis and Testing

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Lucia Gauchia
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Electrical & Computer Engineering,  Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Overview
Batteries are increasingly relied upon to provide multiple services during applications (e.g. traction in an electric vehicle, vehicle-to-grid, ancillary services) and to act as the ultimate resiliency element (e.g. electric vehicles used as power units during Hurricane Sandy). However, the ability to perform these diverse services is compromised by battery aging phenomena that eventually lead to failure. Understanding of how service conditions and context affect battery aging is limited due to a) battery high context dependency on generation and load dynamics, and environmental conditions; b) the multi-scale cell and module nature of battery systems; and c) the fact that a battery itself varies with age, as batteries are repurposed after a first life (e.g. electric vehicle) into a second life (e.g. grid or residential).
 
This CAREER project aims to understand battery aging dynamics as context-dependent, and to provide a unified theory that links application-level events and conditions with cell- and module-level aging events. The Pl hypothesizes that a battery electrochemical nature and aging, multi-scale system, observability challenges, and its context-dependency can all be modeled using ecological tools, with ecology defined as a branch of biology that explores organism relationships to one another and to their environment. Therefore, methods proven useful to study ecological relationships are well suited to study battery life, and can provide new knowledge, testing and estimation techniques. This project draws from two pertinent areas in ecology: 1) multi-scale field testing and 2) modeling of interrelationships among ecosystem elements to understand coupled effects and improve remaining life predictions. Hence, the research objectives are: 1 ) Identify a battery context and its observability through sensors and data in real deployment conditions for two lives (electric vehicle and grid); 2) Optimize a methodology to translate real-life conditions into the laboratory; 3) Design a large multi-scale testing platform in the laboratory for new and aged cells and modules that mimics real-life conditions; 4) Explore multi-scale battery dynamics and aging by developing reasoning networks that capture the whole battery context variations throughout its scales, reaching the application level; develop theories that link these networks across lives; design battery management systems that can learn to construct and apply these networks to improve their decision making and prediction.
 
Intellectual Merit
This novel project will provide knowledge and perspectives to two fields by capitalizing upon the similarities between battery context-dependencies, battery life, and ecological systems. This new outlook will provide a unified theory for testing, estimation and management of batteries across cell, module, pack, and application scales and life scales in a research field that up to this point has been disconnected between scales. Testing approaches, interrelationship models, and estimation methods used in ecology are predicted to improve upon present, state-of-the-art battery research methods to provide economic, resiliency and environmental benefits by better understanding and leveraging the unique, time-dependent relationships each battery has with its context.
 
Broader Impacts
This work will benefit all battery portable, transportation, and grid applications as well as multiple sectors. It will include the emerging battery repurposing sector, by providing tangible methods to improve testing, estimation and management techniques. The result will be longer battery life, better performance, and less environmental waste. Educational impacts include active learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students via research and educational interactions with individualized testing boards linked to the newly created large multi-scale testing platform. This strategy will enable low cost, highly distributed testing environments. The Pl will disseminate tools via national education conferences to improve the nearly nonexistent battery testing training of students. This project will facilitate new paths in multi-disciplinary graduate courses. The Pl has a passion to increase representation of Hispanic females in STEM. Outreach will include hosting 4 diverse Community College students for summer research through the Michigan College and University Partnership, and participating in Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers conferences, specifically in the female Hispanic track.
Awarded Amount: $592,243
Keywords: Batteries, Energy Storage, Battery Aging

Collaborative Research: On Making Wave Energy an Economical and Reliable Power Source for Ocean Measurement Applications

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Umesh Korde
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Work Plan:
Task 1: Wave-by-wave control and Multi-resonant control
(a-i) Wave-by-Wave Control: Generalize to conversion from relative oscillation in surge, heave, and pitch modes. This step places high expectations on geometry design, because the chosen geometry needs to maximize wave radiation (radiation damping) by relative oscillation in all three modes. Typically, for small axi-symmetric buoys, radiation damping in surge and pitch modes is considerably smaller than that in heave mode. Therefore, greater oscillation excursions are typically required for optimal conversion in these modes. In addition, the power requirements of the wave measurement hardware also need to be included in the daily/annual powver calculations. For the X-band Radar hardware applicable to the up-wave distances of interest to us (on the order of 1000 m), the power consumption is expected to be less than 300 W (average). This could pose a challenge in some wave conditions, but it is likely that the use of multiple modes and optimized geometries will help to provide sufficient usable power for the iFCB application we are pursuing in this work. We plan to extend the current simulations to address these needs.
(a-ii) Geometry Design: New geometry design/utilization approaches to maximize the radiation damping for the 3 relative oscillation modes are being considered. These will be evaluated through detailed simulations in the forthcoming period.
(b) Multi-resonant Control: Current implementations need to be extended to incorporate realistic oscillation constraints. Further extensions to 2-body systems with power capture from relative oscillation are also required, and are planned for the forthcoming period. Finally, the procedure also needs to be extended to investigate multiple-mode conversion (i.e. relative heave, pitch, and surge oscillations).
Task 2: Actuator Design and Energy Storage
Work is planned for the forthcoming period where propose to examine favorably interacting buoy-instrument cage geometries that will minimize the need for large amounts of reactive power to flow through the system. Particular attention will be given to hydrodynamic and mechanical coupling effects and ways to provide negative stiffness through geometry design.
In addition, non-polluting high-lubricity hydraulic fluids will be evaluated through actuator dynamic models over the frequency range of interest.
Task 3: Simulation of Complete System and Wave Tank Testing
This is an important part of the project. The complete system will be simulated following inclusion of multiple-mode relative oscillation conversion and more detailed actuator design. Besides the power requirements of the wave measurement system, all other non-function-critical power needs embedded within the overall system (on-board electronics, etc.) will be included in this simulation.
Wave tank tests are planned as part of this project. Preparations are currently underway to install a wave tank (with flap type absorbing wave makers) capable of providing accurate and repeatable sea states for this project. 1/2 or 1/5 scale models are planned.
Awarded Amount: $193,729

Ongoing Projects

HVDC Distribution Study of Intelligent Power System

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Wayne Weaver
Co-Investigator: Gordon Parker
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics,  Electrical & Computer Engineering
SCOPE
High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) aviation electrical power systems (EPS) provide many advantages, particularly in the area of weight savings. Despite the advantages, there are technical challenges for these systems as the power and dynamic response demanded by high power and more-electric loads increases. High power HVDC systems require low source impedance which makes larger fault energy available to the system. In addition, flight and mission critical loads demand constant power and fast response by a tightly regulated EPS. These loads on a HVDC distribution can cause dynamically negative resistance resulting in poor power quality and/or loss of system stability.
 
OBJECTIVES
AFRL' s objective is to develop an intelligent power system to advance the state of the art in system efficiency and safety. This is a far-reaching and broad area of research that is best served by the participation of multiple research institutions that have developed expertise in specific areas. To that end, this Statement of Objectives outlines work where Michigan Technological University (MTU) has demonstrated outstanding research.
Specific areas of research that AFRL is interested in having MTU participate in this program are outlined below. The results of this research and development effort shall be available to all other parties collaborating on the AFRL Intelligent Power System Program as well as industry concerns involved with United States aviation power systems so that best practices and recommendations can be incorporated in future power system design concepts.
 
RESEARCH TASKS
1.1 Analysis, Design, and Control of components (ns - ms level)
1.2 Distributed management/optimization of source and loads (ms - s level):
1.3 Mission level load planning (> 1 s level)
1.4 Energy Storage (ES) for pulsed power loads
Awarded Amount: $220,244

Hydrodynamic Control Using X-Band Radar for Wave Energy Converter Technology

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Umesh Korde
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
The current approach for designing wave energy converters is to use a floating-body tuned to the wave climate, which results in a very large device that is expensive to build, service and deploy. Additionally, because the device is designed to be tuned to a specific climate, it will not work effectively in a different location ·with a different climate. Therefore, the current approach for designing wave energy converters is not conducive to long-term economic application.
 
Economically significant size reduction and year-round power increases are only possible through operation near theoretical efficiency limits in constantly changing wave conditions, which requires active hydrodynamic control. However, the wave-by-wave control necessary for best conversion is not possible without wave-elevation information up to some duration into the future (this in large part is because of the force due to the waves generated by body oscillation in response to the incident wave field). By incorporating wave-elevation prediction based on a deterministic propagation model that accounts for a realistic range of wave-group velocities in conjunction with wave measurements in the up-wave directions, we have been able to confirm, through simulations, a 10-fold increase in power conversion under a swept-volume oscillation constraint for an omni-directional heaving buoy type device.
Availability of instantaneous wave profile ("wave surface elevation" or "wave elevation") measurements and wave surface elevation predictions is important to the success of the control approach being pursued in this work. Equally important is the near-optimal wave-by-wave control approach itself.
 
Proposed Research:
  1. A method for obtaining instantaneous wave surface elevation information on a wave-by wave basis using a low-cost X-band Radar (the state of the art, as represented by the commercially available WaMOS system is optimized to provide spectral information.
  2. A method for providing constrained near-optimal wave-by-wave control for maximizing the energy conversion by small wave energy converters.
  3. Although the focus of the proposed research is wave energy converter technology, the results of this work are expected to find application in other forthcoming Navy developments. Wave-by-wave surface elevation prediction and near-optimal power absorption techniques demonstrated in this effort can be extended to facilitate critical mid-sea shipboard operations such as helicopter/ aircraft landing, cargo handling, etc. The techniques demonstrated as part of this research will also provide technology to enhance and optimize seakeeping characteristics of Navy ocean platforms.
Awarded Amount: $339,996

Increasing Ship Power System Capability through Exergy Control

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Gordon Parker
Co-PI: Rush Robinett
Co-PI: Eddy Trinklein
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
The main objective of this effort is to develop an exergy control strategy, applied to a ship medium voltage de (MVDC) grid that exploits exergy flow coupling between multiple subsystems. This work involves: 1) exergy control strategy development and 2) mapping exergy control system performance to ship-relevant metrics. A ship power grid Challenge Problem model will be developed to illustrate and resolve the fundamental gaps of exergy control. The model will also compare and contrast feedforward and feedback exergy control with conventional strategies.
Introduction
Ship subsystems and mission modules perform energy conversion during their operation resulting in a combination of electricity consumption, heat generation and mechanical work. Mission module thermal management requirements further impact the ship's electrical grid, for example, via chiller operation. Subsystems often have opportunities for performing an energy storage role during their operation cycle. A ship crane is one example where potential energy is stored in the raised load and can be converted into electrical energy during lowering. Whether subsystem requirements are dominated by electrical, thermal or mechanical functions, they are coupled through energy and information flows, often by the ship's electrical power grid. Treating each subsystem as a disconnected entity reduces the potential for exploiting their inherent interconnection and likely results in over designed shipboard systems with higher than necessary weight and volume. Realizing the opportunity of coupled subsystem operation requires modeling and control schemes that are unavailable today, but that we believe should require few infrastructure changes. We propose that the design and control of coupled ship subsystems should be based on exergy- the amount of energy available for useful work. A recent study, applied to a room heating system, showed that exergy control increased the overall efficiency by 18%. Since the system was powered electrically, this translated directly to a decrease in the electrical load. The main objective of this effort is to develop an exergy control strategy, applied to a ship medium voltage de (MVDC) grid that exploits exergy flow coupling between multiple subsystems.
 
An exergy approach to control permits consideration of both mission modules and the platform infrastructure as mixed physics power systems that may act as loads, storage or sources depending on the situation. Instead of separately designed and managed subsystems that satisfy electrical and thermal requirements via static design margins a, multi-physics, unified system-of-systems approach is needed to enable affordable mid-life upgrades as requirements and mission systems evolve over the platform's lifespan. Being able to translate the benefits of exergy control into savings in mass, volume, energy storage requirements and fuel usage is necessary for making rational design decisions for new ship platforms and for increasing the efficiency of legacy ship systems. Currently, there does not exist an analysis technique to map control system performance into ship-relevant performance metrics. This restricts ship designers from understanding the tradeoffs of adopting advanced control schemes that may exploit subsystem coupling. One of the objectives of this work is to develop a method for extrapolating control system performance into ship-relevant metrics that impact mass, volume, energy storage, and fuel usage.
 
As described above, there are two main thrusts to this work: (1) exergy control strategy development and (2) mapping exergy control system perfo1mance to ship-relevant metrics. We will develop a ship power grid Challenge Problem model that will illustrate the fundamental gaps of exergy control that will be addressed. The model will also be used to compare and contrast feedforward and feedback exergy control with conventional strategies. Techniques for mapping the results of the exergy control to weight, volume, and energy storage requirements will be developed and applied to the Challenge Problem throughout the project.
Awarded Amount: $499,059

Collaborative Research: EAGER: On Making Wave Energy an Economical and Reliable Power Source for Ocean Measurement Applications

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Ossama Abdelkhalik
Co-PI: Rush Robinett
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Awarded Amount: $132,541

Autonomous Microgrids: Theory Control Flexibility and Scalability

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Wayne Weaver
Co-PI: Nina Mahmoudian
Co-PI: Rush Robinett
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Electrical and Computer Engineering
Project Description and Research Objectives:
From large scale electric power grids and microgrids down to small scale electronics, power networks are typically deployed using a fixed infrastructure architecture that cannot expand or contract without significant human intervention. Mobile, monolithic power systems exist but are also not readily scalable to exploit surrounding power sources and storage devices. However, if a power network is constructed from physically independent and autonomous building blocks, then it would be infinitely reconfigurable and adaptable to changing needs and environments. The aim of this project is to integrate vehicle robotics with intelligent power electronics to create self-organizing, ad-hoc, hybrid AC/DC microgrids. The main benefits of this system would be the establishment and operation of an electrical power networks independent of human interaction and can adapt to changing environments, resource and mission. In the context of U.S. Naval platforms, this autonomous electrical network could be used in land, air or sea systems.
 
The focus of this work will be on land based autonomous microgrid systems, but the fundamental theory developed may be applicable to air and sea based systems as well. Investigators at Michigan Technological University have developed initial hardware and testbeds to study this problem. However, a more detailed theoretical foundation is needed to be developed to apply autonomous microgrids to a wide variety of operational scenarios with various resources. It is also hypothesized that given the flexibility of this approach that it could be equally applied over a vast scale of energy assets. A microgrid that grows in situ from 10 s to 100 s to 1000 s of energy assets can be equally managed, controlled and optimized through the highly scalable approach proposed in this project.
 
These applications are examples of the critical need for autonomous mobile microgrid capable of operating in highly dynamic and potentially hazardous environments. Our overall goal is to create a scalable architecture to develop a system that accounts for uncertainty in predictions and disturbances, is redundant, requires minimal communication between agents, provides real-time guarantees on the performance of path planning, and reaches the targets while making electrical connections. Such architecture provide a coherent layout for the interconnection between different disciplines on this topic and minimizes the integration concerns for future developments.
 
Description of the Proposed Work:
  • Microgrid Planning and Control
  • Microgrid Topology and Optimization
  • Electrical Components and Power Flow
  • Game-Theoretic Control
  • Physical Autonomous Positioning and Connections
Awarded Amount: $869,980

On Integrating New Capability into Coastal Energy Conversion Systems

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Ossama Abdelkhalik
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Overview:
MTU will analyze and simulate the power capture from arrays of wave energy converters (WECs) with and without the presence of an object. Nonlinear WECs will be analyzed and exploited for more energy capture. For object detection, MTU will develop an estimator. In addition to having a model that detects the presence of an object, the estimator will use that model and account for uncertainties that we have in the model and also measurement errors; in any case we need to know statistical characteristics about these uncertainties and errors. MTU will participate in the WEC array overall design, analysis, modeling and simulations; control design for Design 2, nonlinear modeling and control, and topology optimization.
Awarded Amount: $405,139
Keywords: Wave Energy Converters Sustainable Energy Optimization

Toward Undersea Persistence

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Nina Mahmoudian
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
The current challenge impeding advances in the U.S. Navy’s mobility is significant interruptions during undersea missions. Missions such as studying arctic physical environments; understanding the effects of sound on marine mammals; submarine detection and classification; and mine detection and neutralization in both the ocean and littoral environment require persistent operation of unmanned systems in challenging and dynamic environments. The proposed work will create an architecture that integrates three elements of energy, communication, and docking to guarantee undersea persistence where limited power resources and unknown environmental dynamics pose major constraints. The architecture will take into account: the number of operational AUVs required for different operation periods, recharging specifications, communication and localization means, and environmental variables.
 The overall goal of this project is: to develop a mobile power delivery system that lowers deployment and operating costs while simultaneously increasing network efficiency and response in dynamic and often dangerous physical conditions. The aim is to create network optimization and formation strategies that will enable a mobile power deliver system to meet overall mission specifications by: 1) reconfiguring itself depending on the number of operational AUVs and; 2) responding to energy consumption needs of the network, situational condition, and environmental variables. The outcome of this work will be a theoretical, computational, and experimental roadmap for building and implementing an autonomous distributed system with mobile power delivery and onsite recharging capability. This roadmap will address fundamental hardware and network science challenges. The long-term outcome of this work will be a persistent and stealthy large area presence of AUV fleets able to perform undersea Navy missions by accurately and autonomously responding to energy needs, situational dynamics and environmental variables.
Awarded Amount: $652,931

MicroCSPs Contribution on the Management of an Electrical Grid Including Renewable Energy Sources

Investigators
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Collaborate with Mohammadia School of Engineering (EMI), Rabat, Morocco within the framework of the Project: "MicroCSPs Contribution on the Management of an Electrical Grid Including Renewable Energy Sources."

 Statement of Work:

  • Support the Design of an intelligent monitoring system for load balancing of a network based on a CSP with storage and photovoltaic panels.
  • Help and support in the study of the integration of CSP in the Moroccan grid.
  • Support the Economic Survey of the implementation of the CSP in the Moroccan power grid in the short term.
  • Support the calculations of the cost of energy generation by the CSP.
  • Support the calculations of an appropriate cost price PPA (Power Purchase Agreement).
  • Transfer of skills where desired.

 

Awarded Amount: $17,616
Keywords: Microgrid, Renewable Energy, MicroCSPs

CAREER: Autonomous Underwater Power Distribution System for Continuous Operation

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Nina Mahmoudian
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Overview:

Success of numerous long-term robotic network missions in space, air, ground, and water is measured by the ability of the robots to operate for extended time in highly dynamic and potentially hazardous operating environments. The proposed work responds to the urgency for development of innovative mobile power distribution systems that lower deployment and operating costs, while simultaneously increasing mission efficiency, and supporting the network's need to be responsive to changing physical conditions. The overall CAREER goal is to develop a power distribution system that responds to individual robot needs, as well as, overall robotic network goals to guarantee persistence of long-term operation in uncertain and unstructured environments.

 The proposed work is informed by the hypothesis that network persistence hinges on the ability to establish stable energy transfer cycles necessary to accomplish coverage specifications, while simultaneously dealing with physical and environmental constraints. To test this hypothesis and as an example of such a system, this work will focus on creating a reliable autonomous recharging system for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) that enables continuous real-time marine observation and data collection in the presence of continuously changing underwater environmental circumstances. The key challenges are two-fold: there are fundamental hardware challenges connected to energy transfer in the harsh underwater environment, but more importantly there are basic network science needs that are novel to a mobile power network. The specific research thrusts for this CAREER work include: 1) Task and Energy Routing Scheduling for Persistent Mission Planning. 2) Efficient Network Path Planning and Coordination to Accomplish Persistent Mission Plan. 3) Experimental Validation through Test-bed Development. 4) Design-based, Research-integrated Education Plan for Broadening Underrepresented Participation in STEM.

 Intellectual Merit:

This project builds a roadmap to achieve robust continuous marine autonomy that advances unmanned marine systems ability to perform autonomous long-term missions. More specifically the proposed work will provide: 1) resource based task scheduling, 2) path planning formation for mission and charging, and 3) integration tools for testing. Expected outcomes will overcome the current challenge of significant interruptions during underwater missions due to battery limitations and recharging needs. Through this CAREER proposal, the Pl will establish the theoretical, computational, and experimental foundation for mobile power delivery and onsite recharging capability for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). The developed power distribution system will be able to reconfigure itself depending on the scope of the mission, as well as, the energy consumption needs of the network, the number of operational AUVs and required operation time, recharging specifications, communication and localization means, and environmental variables.

 Such a system will play a vital role in real-time controlled applications across multiple disciplines, such as: sensor networks, robotics, and transportation systems where limited power resources and unknown environmental dynamics pose major constraints. All developed tools will be suited for the capabilities of not only low-cost AUVs with limited sensing and computational resources, but also high-tech AUVs with state of the art sensor packages.

 Broader Impacts:

The developed active power distribution system focuses on underwater scenarios, but will be transferrable to space, air, and ground missions as well. This type of feasible power distribution solution can be used to optimize: 1) immediate high-risk disaster recovery missions like the Fukushima nuclear plant accident; 2) search missions that require vast underwater inspection and detection like the Malaysia MH370 passenger aircraft; and 3) long-term space observation and monitoring like that of the lunar skylight or Europa space mission. The findings from this project will be disseminated through publications, software sharing, and technology commercialization. The project provides interdisciplinary training opportunities for graduate, undergraduate, and pre-college students, including those from underrepresented groups. Research activities will be integrated with education through curriculum development, outreach and improved GUPPIE design.

Awarded Amount: $681,124

Distributed Agent-based Management of Agile Microgrids

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Gordon Parker
Principal Investigator: Wayne Weaver
Co-PI: Laura Brown
Co-PI: Steven Goldsmith
Co-PI: Gordon Parker
Co-PI: Wayne Weaver
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Overview

This project plan (APP) describes the second year of the four year program for distributed agent-based management of agile microgrids. In year 1, the team has evaluated modeling and forecasting techniques for renewable energy sources as well as developed relevant case studies. In year 2 the team will further develop the models and forecasting techniques as well as begin implementation of simulations and hardware test cases.

Topic area 1: Core electrical power networks and control technology research with the focus on modeling of networks and control methods, conceptual hardware evaluation and analysis and identification of Army modes of operation.

Topic Area 2: Modeling and optimization of tactical energy networks control systems with a focus on short term load forecasting and simulation.

Topic area 3: Research focused on machine learning, long-term prediction and forecasting of loads. Research into optimization and distributed control of power distribution systems.

Awarded Amount: $1,907,135

REU: CPS: Breakthrough: Toward Revolutionary Algorithms for Cyber-Physical Systems Architecture Optimization

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Ossama Abdelkhalik
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Overview:

Design optimization of cyber-physical systems (CPS) includes optimizing the system architecture (topology) in addition to the system variables. Optimizing the system architecture renders the dimension of the design space variable (the number of design variables to be optimized is a variable.) This class of Variable-Size Design Space (VSDS) optimization problems arises in many CPS applications including (1) microgrid design, (2) automated construction, (2) optimal grouping, and (3) space mission design optimization.

Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs) present a paradigm for statistical inference that implements a simplified computational model of the mechanisms embedded in natural evolution, with potential to solve this problem. However, existing EAs cannot optimize among solutions of different architectures because of the inherent strategy for coding the variables in EAs. Existing EAs resembles natural evolution in which a given architecture can evolve by improving the state of its variables but cannot be revolutionized. Inspired by the concept of hidden genes in biology, this project investigates revolutionary optimization algorithms that can optimize among different solution architectures and autonomously develop new architectures that might not be known a priori, yet are more fit solution architectures. Efficacy of the new algorithms for CPS is evaluated in the context of space mission design optimization.

Intellectual Merit:

There is an increasing demand in the scientific community for autonomous design optimization tools that can revolutionize systems designs and capabilities. Most existing optimization algorithms can only search for optimal solutions in a fixed-size design space; and hence they cannot be used for solution architecture optimization. Few existing algorithms can search for optimal solutions in VSDS problems; however these are problem-specific algorithms and cannot be used as a general framework for VSDS optimization. This project investigates the novel concept of hidden genes in coding the variables in evolutionary algorithms so that the resulting algorithms can be used for optimizing VSDS problems. The key innovation in these new algorithms is the new coding strategies. In addition, in this project, the standard operations in EAs will be replaced by new operations that are defined to enable revolutionizing a current population of solution architectures using the new coding strategy. The Pl's recent research results, in the context of space mission design optimization, demonstrate that the hidden genes optimization algorithms can search for optimal solutions among different solution architectures, revolutionize an initial population of solutions, and construct new solution architectures that are more fit than the initial population solutions.

Awarded Amount: $269,735

Past Projects

Modeling and Control Development for Electric Vehicle and Smart Grid Integration

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Bo Chen
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Statement of Work
Further develop modeling and control in the EV-Smart Grid Interoperability Center.
  1. To prepare for the next phase of controller-in-the-loop, an additional communication mechanism between Opal-RT and CIP.io will be explored. Currently, the Opal-RT simulator can communicate withCIP.io through Modbus TCP/IP. To enable the Opal-RT simulator directly communicating with an MQTI broker, the implementation of an MQTI client in Opal-RT will be developed.

Deliverables: Fully functional, tested and debugged Opal-RT MQTI communication blocks for interfacing anMQTI broker with an Opal-RT simulation (publish and subscribe).

  1. CIP.io Node-Red Node Development.The contractor will develop Node-Red Nodes to further integrate networked devices into CIP.io. All source code will be open-sourced and posted the IOC GitHub account.
Deliverables: Fully functional, tested and debugged BACnet Node-Red node.
Awarded Amount: $24,000
Keywords: Microgrid, Electric Vehicle, Smart Grid

Spray Characterization of Solenoid Injectors

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Naber
Co-Investigator: Seong-Young Lee
Co-Investigator: Jaclyn Johnson
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Project Description and Research Objectives:
Michigan Technological University (MTU) will investigate and characterize one FCA US supplied fuel injector to provide data for injector evaluation and model validation. The Injector driver will be supplied by FCA US. Tests will be conducted under a set of ambient and injection conditions as defined by FCA US. Results will include vapor and liquid penetration length from Schlieren and Mie Scatter imaging and quantitative fuel vapor distribution via PLIF (Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence). Tests will be conducted in MTU's optically accessible combustion vessel (CV) research facility. Existing hardware in the facility will be used; including a gasoline fuel system to reach the target injection pressure of 300 bar, high speed imaging for liquid and vapor, and simultaneous single shot PLIF diagnostics for fuel vapor distribution. A new diffraction based instrument is planned for measuring spray droplet sizing.
Awarded Amount: $159,888
Keywords: Combustion Spray, Fuel Vapor, Optically Accessible Combustion Vessel

High Speed Single Cylinder Engine Torsional Dynamics Analysis

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Darrell Robinette
Co-Investigator: Jeremy Worm
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Abstract
This project will be an analytical investigation of a high speed single cylinder engine with high power output to estimate dynamic torques acting on the cylinder block as well as the crankshaft and downstream rotating components coupled to a speed reduction gearbox and dynamometer.
Michigan Tech will receive technical information regarding a single cylinder engine, drivetrain components and dynamometer setup in order to create 1 dimensional, lumped parameter models in GT Power and AMESim for estimation of dynamic loads and component specification of a damper and/or vibration isolation device. Michigan Tech will create a fundamental model to generate cylinder pressures for the single cylinder engine using GT Power that will be utilized in a lumped parameter AMESim torsional model representative of the single cylinder engine operating on a dynamometer which will include a speed reduction gearbox and a vibration isolation device. Michigan Tech will provide as deliverable(s) from this project, estimate of dynamic torques in the drivetrain of the engine and dynamometer setup, estimate of engine block torques and perform an optimization study for parameters related to the vibration isolation device (dual mass flywheel). If deemed necessary by the sponsor, Michigan Tech will also perform analysis and investigation into other type of vibration isolation technologies
Awarded Amount: $16,765

Advanced Controls in Wave Energy Conversion

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Ossama Abdelkhalik
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

A continuation of a previous project:

Wave energy converter (WEC) control analysis and development within the Water Power Technologies department at Sandia National Laboratory. Design an advanced control strategy for WEC and ongoing research focused on the development and analysis of novel control strategies for WECs.

Awarded Amount: $99,682
Keywords: WECs, Control, Wave Energy

Robotic ISRU Construction of Planetary Landing and Launch Pad

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Paul van Susante
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Objective
The main objective of this effort is to develop an integrated robotic system for excavating planetary regolith, sorting rocks into discrete sizes, and building of the landing pad.
From tests done at KSC and CSM it is clear that a combination of methods will be required to build a landing pad able to withstand the landing and take-off exhaust gases and prevent the fine regolith dust from being a danger to the vehicle and surrounding infrastructure. For that reason a combination of using pavers in the center zone and stacked rocks for the surrounding apron zone is proposed. The crucial parameter is to determine the size of the armour stone; based on wave parameters such as frequency, spectrum, and amplitude which formed the basis for the manual on the use of rock in hydraulic engineering.
Proposed Work
To design a fully integrated TRL 5 robot or robotic tool attachment to pick up/excavate, sort in the required size ranges, store and deposit rocks in three layers with the purpose to stabilize (lock in) the fine regolith in the secondary (apron) zone of Lunar and Martian landing pads for repeated landings and takeoffs. The design process will aim to integrate the solution with the existing Helelani rover of PISCES which is currently testing a Honeybee Robotics robotic arm for the deployment of ceramic pavers that may form the central landing pad zone at the Hawaii field site, using an armour stone size of 6 inches while using the PISCES Helelani rover.
 The work would start with trade studies for the required subsystems, i.e. excavation, sorting and apron construction followed by breadboarding of subsystems for testing and refinement followed by the detailed integrated design as the final deliverable for Phase I.
Awarded Amount: $54,000
Keywords: Robotics, Controls, Space

Making Small Wave Energy Converters Cost-Effective for Underwater Microgrids Through a 10-Fold Improvement in Year-Round Productivity

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Ossama Abdelkhalik
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Proposed Work
Drivetrain and Actuator
1- Conceptual Design of actuators with large stroke and large rated force.
2- Conceptual Design of a high efficient drivetrain and energy storage for low frequency oscillatory systems (WECs)
3- Evaluate several technologies (electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic) for the design of the actuator and powertrain, with the requirement of limiting the overall cost.
Awarded Amount: $25,000
Keywords: WECs, Controls, Wave Energy

JHSV Crane Requirements Review

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Gordon Parker
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Awarded Amount: $10,330
Keywords: Dynamic Systems, Controls, Optimization

Dual Cutting Head Measurements and Dynamic Modeling

Investigators
Principal Investigator: John Beard
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Problem Statement

EMT's current cutoff blade is controlled by a Bosch indexer, which provides "cam" profile programming to allow for varying cut lengths and feed rates. There is uncertainty that a given profile will provide optimal performance for all cut lengths and feed rates.

  1. To reduce design and process time, an analytical model based approach will be developed to determine the required machine performance for varying cut lengths and feed rates. The machine model will include cutter inertia, position, velocity and acceleration, indexer "cam" profiles, constant velocity zone, and determine motor torque. Other variables could be added to improve model fidelity once the machine dynamics are better understood. The current cutter design will provide a starting point for the analytical model.

 EMT must achieve web speeds of at least 700 Ft/min to remain competitive with the goal of 1000 Ft/min. Therefore, the cutter design and efficiency must be improved. A key part of the design is understanding cutting forces for different materials and feed rates. By instrumenting the current design, these forces can be measured experimentally.

a.    MTU would assist EMT in setting up strain gage testing to measure the forces. This would include recommending the equipment & process that would provide the most accurate & useful data.

b.    EMT would conduct the test in accordance to MTU direction.

Assistance in developing a new cutter blade design to allow for faster more efficient performance based on force finding in 2 above.

a.    MTU will provide analysis necessary to include best material, lowest inertia, best cam profiling. This includes considerations for vibration, bearing systems, stiffness, & any other criteria that is critical to this design.

 Design/Experimental Considerations

EMT has been successful in designing and manufacturing the paper cutters with web speeds below 600 Ft/min. To determine if MTU can assist EMT reach the 1,000 Ft/min speeds, we propose the following in the first phase of the proposal.

  • Strain gage the shaft and measure the stress for various cutting speeds and material thickness. The preliminary analysis indicates values of <10 microstrain for a 50 lbf applied at the shaft center, this is approaching the limit of a strain gage.
  • Measure the drive motor position, velocity, acceleration and torque for several of the cam profiles.
  • Compare the measured dynamic values to the analytical values predicted.
Awarded Amount: $34,580
Keywords: Dynamic Modeling

Advanced Control of Wave Energy Converters

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Ossama Abdelkhalik
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Background

A new multi-year effort has been launched by the Department of Energy to validate the extent to which control strategies can increase the power produced by resonant WEC devices. A large number of theoretical studies have shown promising results in the additional energy that can be captured through control of the power conversion chains of resonant WEC devices.

However, most of the previous work has been completed on highly idealized systems and there is little to no validation work. This program will specifically target controls development for nonlinear, multi-degree of freedom WEC devices. Multiple control strategies will be developed and the efficacy of the strategies will be compared within the "metric matrix."

Objective: The purpose of this contract is to provide the labor to develop and implement custom control strategies for a specified WEC device.

 Scope of Work

Michigan Technological University {MTU} will provide optimization expertise {Dynamic Programing, pseudo-spectral, shape optimization, others) to support MTPA-FF {mid-targeting phase and amplitude-feedforward) designs and analysis specific to the performance model WEC. This will include numerical simulations specific to the metric matrix requirements. In addition, MTU will provide expertise and support for feedforward real-time implementation and investigations.

Deliverables: Software codes, report, and a presentation

 Justification   Statement

Ossama Abdelkhalik is a well-known expert in optimization theory and implementation for spacecraft trajectory orbit designs. He has recently entered the renewable energy field with a specific interest in wave energy conversion power optimization using optimization techniques; such as dynamic programming, pseudo-spectral, novel shape optimization, and others. His specialized optimization skill-set and expertise will be critical in developing feedforward algorithms for design and real-time implementation. Ossama's publication record shows his depth in numerous trajectory optimization research projects in spacecraft navigation, guidance and control.

Awarded Amount: $49,106
Keywords: Wave Energy Conversion

Assist in Planning of Development of RMCP Platform Concepts

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jason Blough
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Awarded Amount: $16,500

Support of RMCP Phase II SBIR

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jason Blough
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Awarded Amount: $72,500

Low-Cost Underwater Glider Fleet for Littoral Marine Research

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Nina Mahmoudian
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

This research is focused on development of innovative practical solutions for control of individual and multiple unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and address challenges such as underwater communication and localization that currently limit UUV use. More specifically, the Nonlinear and Autonomous Systems Laboratory (NAS Lab) team are developing a rigorous framework for analyzing and controlling underwater gliders (UGs) in harsh dynamic environments for the purpose of advancing efficient, collaborative behavior of UUVs.

Underwater gliders are now utilized for much more than long-term, basin-scale oceanographic sampling. In addition to environmental monitoring, UGs are increasingly depended on for littoral surveillance and other military applications. This research will facilitate the transition between academic modeling/simulation problem solving approach to real-world Navy applications. The importance of this research is evident in the Littoral BattleSpace Sensing (LBS) Program contract at the Naval Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command for 150 underwater gliders, designated the LBS-G. These gliders will be operated by the Navy in forward areas to rapidly assess and exploit environmental characteristics to improve the maneuvering of ships and submarines and advance the performance of fleet sensors.

Research results will provide the coordination tools necessary to enable the integration of these efficient and quiet vehicles as part of a heterogeneous network of autonomous vehicles capable of performing complex, tactical missions. The objective is to develop practical, energy-efficient motion control strategies for both individual and multiple UGs while performing in inhospitable, uncertain, and dynamic underwater environments.

The specific goals of this project are twofold. The first goal is to design and fabricate a fleet of low-cost highly maneuverable lightweight underwater gliders. The second goal is to evaluate the capability of the single and multiple developed UGs in littoral zones. The proposed work will develop UGs that would share the buoyancy-driven concept with the first generation of gliders called “legacy gliders.” However, the NAS Lab UGs will be smaller in size, lighter in weight, and lower in price than legacy gliders. This will result in more affordable and novel UG applications. Moreover, the NAS Lab design to development approach allows for technological innovation that overcomes known challenges and responds to unexpected needs that arise during testing. Therefore, the significance of this research is that it will enable implementation of recently developed efficient motion planning algorithms, multi-vehicle coordination algorithms, and extension of these algorithms in realistic conditions where absolute location and orientation of each vehicle is not known and the time-varying flow field is not locally determined.

Awarded Amount: $139,231

Microgrid Modeling and Optimization for High Penetration Renewables Integration

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Gordon Parker
Co-Investigator: Wayne Weaver
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Electrical & Computer Engineering,  Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Abstract

Future microgrids are envisioned having a large renewable energy penetration. While this feature is attractive it also produces design and control challenges that are currently unsolved. To help solve this dilemma, development of analysis methods for design and control of  microgrids with high renewable penetration is the general focus of this activity. The specific foci are (1) reduced order microgrid modeling and (2) optimization strategies to facilitate improved design and control. This will be investigated over a multi-year process that will include simplified microgrid modeling and control, single microgrid modeling and control, collective microgrid modeling and control, and microgrid (single and collective) testing and validation.

Microgrid Reduced Order Modeling (ROM)

Model development is one of the first steps in the microgrid control design process and incurs trade-offs between fidelity and computational expense. Models used for model-based control implementation must be real-time while having sufficient accuracy so that feedforward information can be maximized to achieve specified requirements. The expected outcomes of this study are (1) quantification of model uncertainty as a function of the assumptions with particular interest given to reduced order models (2) determination of appropriate time scales for reduced order modeling and (3) a MATLAB / Simulink reduced order model library of microgrid components. Contrasting different microgrid reduced order modeling approaches and simulation results that demonstrate the reduced order microgrid simulation.

Microgrid Optimization

Demonstrating microgrids with robust and high renewable penetration requires system-level extremization. This includes both its physical and control system designs. The expected outcomes of this study are (1) energy-optimal design methods suitable for microgrid design and control and (2) integration of these strategies with the microgrid reduced order model environment described above. How energy-optimal design can be exploited for microgrid design and control.

Awarded Amount: $386,490

Agent Based Control with Application to Microgrids with High Penetration Renewables

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Gordon Parker
Co-Investigator: Steven Goldsmith
Co-Investigator: Wayne Weaver
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Electrical & Computer Engineering,  Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Abstract

Prior Work is leveraged; MTU has developed and demonstrated through simulation a prototype multiagent system that coordinates the life cycle operations of a microgrid collective composed of independent electric power sources, loads, and storage. MTU has performed simulations of DC micro grids of varying compositions and characteristics. MTU has analyzed simulation results, and developed candidate architectures and protocols for agent-based microgrid controls.

Objective

Execution of this project will further technical innovations associated with multi-agent software controlling microgrid collectives. The microgrid control algorithms for microgrid collectives will be developed and refined using Michigan Tech microgrid models and simulations validated against the MTU test bench. The algorithms will then be applied to SNL hardware models in simulation and finally against the SNL hardware test bed.

Scope

Agent-based control systems will be further developed by MTU in Matlab/Simulink blocks, tested, and refined through simulations. Once control performance objectives have been achieved, the systems will be ported to the MTU situated multi-agent system (MAS) and supporting servo loop controllers on the MTU test bench for evaluation. New Matlab simulations will be tailored and tuned to control the SNL test bed models and verified in simulation. SNL will re-apply the MTU MAS to the physical SNL test bed. SNL will collaborate with MTU on implementation and validation. Collaborative efforts will ensure that SNL attains the technology necessary to achieve the final project objectives for the SNL test bed

Required Research Innovations:

1. Identify control system performance issues between agent informatics and DC nonlinear controls. Since global computations require input from various points, processor speed and network bandwidth may dominate the performance of collaborative protocols that rely on nonlinear control approaches. Research must identify the computational and communication limits for porting nonlinear controls to agent control layers.

2. Investigate scaling properties for controls applied to increasing the number of interconnected DC microgrids. Trading power between microgrids may not be feasible due to geographical distances or communication time latencies. There may also be thresholds identified for collaboration considerations, such as partnering with 10 microgrids or less, due to the global computation requirements. Control scaling results should describe the appropriate considerations at various time scales (seconds, minutes, hours, and days). Additional considerations for scalability may include increasing the number of components within a single microgrid and increasing the variety of components within the microgrid.

Awarded Amount: $117,500

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Resource Sharing

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Gordon Parker
Co-Investigator: Steven Goldsmith
Co-Investigator: Wayne Weaver
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Electrical & Computer Engineering,  Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Overview

The existing communication layer for Vehicle to Grid (V2G) operations has sufficient throughput and capabilities for basic connectivity, but may not have enough for tasks such as operating military vehicle systems remotely. They cyber security approach to V2G operations has had some development in industry; however military vehicles demand more scrutiny from a cyber security perspective.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) resource sharing would enable a greatly expanded flexibility for utilization of assets for forward operating bases (FOB). Consider a FOB with a variety of vehicle assets, each with different levels of functionality. The ability to daisy-chain the vehicle assets together (including partially disabled vehicles), have the vehicles automatically determine their net capability and then share resources to accomplish a common goal (force protection for example), would enable a level of capability not currently available.

Specific Tasks: Vehicle-to-Grid Simulation, Connection Protocol Assessment, Connection Protocol Development, Throughput Assessment, and Simulation Studies.

Awarded Amount: $148,433

SGAS Drive Train Model Calibration

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Gordon Parker
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Introduction

Calibration is an important step in creating a physical model that can be used for predictive control system design. IMECO has a MATLAB/Simulink model of their Steering Gear Actuation System (SGAS). It contains parameters that can be classified as known (e.g. control system gains), known with uncertainty (e.g. mass properties) and unknown (e.g. damping coefficients). IMECO has also obtained experimental data that can be used to run the model and compare model outputs to sensor measurements. An optimization-based method for identifying the model parameters is needed to help automate the calibration process.

Statement of Work

Using the model and experimental data supplied by IMECO, calibrate the model using advanced numerical optimization strategies. Separate calibration parameters for several data sets will be developed in addition to a single calibration across multiple data sets. While the calibration is of primary importance, development of a methodology for automating the process will also be developed.

Awarded Amount: $47,598

Modeling and Control Technologies for Near-Term and Long-Term Networked Microgrids

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Wayne Weaver
Co-Investigator: Gordon Parker
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Electrical & Computer Engineering,  Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Introduction

Microgrids offer attractive options for enhancing energy surety and increasing renewable energy penetration. Within a single microgrid energy generation, storage and utilization is localized. Greater enhancements to energy surety can be accomplished by networking multiple microgrids into a collective which can lead to almost unlimited use of renewable sources, reduction of fossil fuels and self-healing and adaptive systems. However, one pitfall to avoid is losing the surety within the individual microgrids. This produces design and control challenges that are currently unsolved in networked microgrids. To help solve this dilemma, development of analysis methods for design and control of networked microgrids is the general focus of this activity.

Specific tasks include:

1. Collaborate and form a coalition with national labs and other microgrid stakeholders to identify key R&D topics in networked microgrids.

2. Look at near term solutions that can quickly and easily be integrated into existing microgrids,

3. Determine best practices and optimized control strategies for the ground-up design of future networked microgrids.

4. Work within the DOE and national lab partnerships to produce the FOA whitepaper on single microgrid systems.

Tasks 1 through 3 will include microgrid modeling, control and optimizations of single and networked microgrids with focus on achieving DOE 2020 microgrid targets. Specifically, targets include developing commercial scale microgrid systems that reduce outage time, improve reliability and reduce emissions.

TASK 1: Collaborate and form a coalition with national labs and other microgrid stakeholders to identify key R&D topics in networked microgrids.

TASK 2: Look at near term solutions that can quickly and easily be integrated into existing microgrids Model development is one of the first steps in the microgrid control design process and incurs trade-offs between fidelity and computational expense. Models used for modelbased control implementation must be real-time while having sufficient accuracy so that feed-forward information can be maximized to achieve specified requirements. The expected outcomes of this study are (1) determination of appropriate time scales for networked microgrid modeling (2) a MATLAB/ Simulink reduced order model library of networked microgrid components and (3) lab scale hardware validation of networked microgrid models. These model libraries will then be used to construct models and develop control and optimization algorithms of current microgrid systems and equipment.

Task 3: Determine best practices and optimized control strategies for the ground-up design of future networked microgrids. Demonstrating robust networked microgrids will require system-level optimization. This includes both its physical and control system designs. This task will build upon the models and optimizations achieved in task 2 applied to the design of future networked microgrids. The expected outcomes of this study are (1) energy-optimal design methods suitable for networked microgrid design and control of future long-term application architectures and (2) integration of these strategies with the microgrid model environment and bench scale hardware described in task 2.

Awarded Amount: $250,000

Advanced Control and Energy Storage Architectures for Microgrids

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Wayne Weaver
Co-Investigator: Ossama Abdelkhalik
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Overview

Consult on advanced control and energy storage architectures for microgrids.

Tasks:

1) Multiple Spinning Machines on a Single AC Bus - Finish the development of the Hamiltonian Surface Shaping Power Flow Controller (HSSPFC), controller design for multiple spinning machines on a single AC Bus.

2) Unstable Pulse Power Controller - Perform simulation studies on the unstable pulse power controller relative to the optimal feedforward (stable) controller for a single DC bus in order to determine the effectiveness of the unstable controller design relative to performance and stability.

Help characterize path forward for nonlinear control design.

Tasks:

1) Review dynamic programming interior point method (DPIP) for feedforward/optimal reference trajectory,

2) HSSPFC (Hamiltonian Surface Shaping Power Flow Controller (nonlinear dynamic structure for feedback),

3) Preliminary assessment of nonlinear wave model and impact on power absorbed.

Awarded Amount: $88,645

Control System Design for Cargo Transfer from Offshore Supply Vessels to Large Deck Vessels

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Gordon Parker
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Introduction

There is a wide range of hydraulic extending-boom and knuckle-boom cranes in use on marine vessels. These cranes are often used in dynamic motion environments for cargo transfer and small boat handling. The ability to safely launch and recover small boats in elevated sea states for naval, Coast Guard and oceanographic purposes is currently a focus of investigation within these communities.

The purpose of this investigation is to extend the research begun under SBIR topic N06-

057, "Cargo Transfer from Offshore Supply Vessels to Large Deck Vessels" to improve the performance of hydraulic marine cranes in the dynamic offshore environment. In addition, the lessons learned during the development of the Integrated Rider Block Tagline System (IRBTS), the Platform Motion Compensation System (PMC) and the Pendulation Control System (PCS) for the rigid-boom, level-luffing marine cranes used for container handling on sealift ships will be incorporated into a final integrated, modular kit to improve cargo transfer with these extending-boom and knuckle-boom cranes.

Phase II Technical Objectives

The goal of Phase II is to develop and demonstrate a modular solution for crane pendulation and motion control suitable for a wide range of existing U.S. Navy ship cranes. Phase I clearly showed that pendulation control can be modularized by implementing ship motion cancellation using the crane's existing drive system and active load damping using a retrofit damping device. In that work, a specific crane design was considered and the study was strictly proof-of-concept through simulation.

Phase II focuses on identifying the range of cranes for which the modular approach is feasible, developing the analysis and design work flow needed to design and deploy the modular solution, and demonstrating both the process and the performance on a particular crane. The incremental technical objectives of Phase II are listed below.

    1. The analysis and design process for implementing modular pendulation and motion control on any crane,

    2. The development of a modular crane control system (MCCS) "kit" including refinement of the key subsystems (sensors, actuation, algorithms),

    3. A phased demonstration of MCCS using 1/12th and larger scale testbeds.

At the conclusion of Phase II, the objective is to have a fully functioning MCCS system demonstrating ship motion cancellation, active payload damping on an articulated crane similar to those currently deployed on numerous U.S. Navy and civilian ships. The Phase II Option will focus this development on a design that can be implemented on the hydraulic extending-boom crane, currently proposed for use on the JHSV.

Awarded Amount: $268,953

Understanding the Cavity Mode of Tires

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jason Blough
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Background:

The purpose of this research is to be able to predict the natural frequencies associated with the cavity modes of tires mounted oil wheels. Ford has experienced difficulties in the past when these natural frequencies have aligned themselves with the natural frequencies of other vehicle components and hence caused an objectionable noise in the vehicle. The goal of this project is to provide the tools to Ford to allow them to make decisions in advance of mounting tire/wheel combinations on vehicles by estimating what these tire cavity natural frequencies will be. It is anticipated that to fully understand the frequencies of the tire cavity modes will require a combination of modeling and experimental testing.

Approach:

To meet these objectives start with a finite element model of the cavity of a tire mounted on a wheel. The initial model includes effectively a rigid tire and wheel. This model is not a coupled vibro-acoustic model but instead just an estimate the natural frequencies of the tire cavity itself with zero velocity boundary conditions. This model will be modified to simulate the change in the tire cavity shape when the wheel is loaded in a static configuration. The results of the loaded and unloaded models are compared to help to understand the effects of changing the tire cavity's shape. If the results of this model show promise, simpler modeling methods will be explored.

The next step in the modeling process includes a flexible tire and wheel and be a fully coupled vibro-acoustic model. In this model, the wheel will have actual material properties assigned while the tire will be modeled as an isotropic material with estimated material properties that will be iterated to achieve natural frequencies of the coupled system similar to those measured in the laboratory of a stationary tire. This model will then be modified to a statically loaded condition and the model re-run to observe the effects of loading the tire on the natural frequencies.

Models will be validated experimentally by testing a tire/wheel assembly in the laboratory at MTU. Testing will be done in the both the unloaded and the statically loaded case by exciting both the wheel and the tire patch in separate tests. Natural frequencies will be estimated from all tests and used to validate the models. Models and testing will be performed on several different tire/wheel combinations to assess the ability to estimate the natural frequencies of different configurations. Based on the results of the modeling and testing the final deliverable from this project will be the simplest approach that can be determined for estimating the natural frequencies of a tire cavity based on a minimum set of information or data.

Awarded Amount: $64,000