Urbana Campus Research Calendar

Back to Listing

"Power Electronics and Energy Access"

Event Type
Arijit Banerjee, Ph.D., & Alejandro Dominguez-Garcia, Ph.D.
https://illinois.zoom.us/j/83100308817?pwd=REthWUxsTktiNlFzY2hyUmNLa2JIQT09 Meeting ID: 831 0030 8817 Password: 900968
Nov 5, 2020   4:00 - 5:00 pm  
Deepak Divan, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Distributed Energy, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
Alejandro Dominguez-Garcia, Ph.D.
Originating Calendar
Illinois ECE Distinguished Colloquium Series

Deepak Divan, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Distributed Energy,

Georgia Institiute of Technology, Atlanta, GA



Ensuring universal, affordable and sustainable energy access for everyone is one of the biggest societal
changes of our time. Over a billion people worldwide live without electricity, and another two billion
have  access  that  is  so  unreliable  that  it  severely  impacts  their  life  and  livelihood.  For  these communities,  the  centralized  grid  uses  20ᵗʰ  century  technology  and  does  not  meet  the  capital or operating cost  recovery  goals  needed for economic  viability. Decentralized solutions,  such  as solar home systems and microgrids present an alternate approach, but have fallen short of meeting key requirements and cost targets for viability and sustainability in remote areas with a poor technical workforce.

Exponential technologies such as power electronics, communications, computing and IoT, represent 
key enabling technologies for realizing solutions that can positively impact energy access. However, these solutions  require  a  new  holistic  approach  that  is  based  on  solving  ‘life-problems’  for  these communities, not simply realizing marginally better technical solutions. This includes broader issues of affordability,  sustainability,  social  issues,  livelihood  and  entrepreneurship,  as  well  as  digital  and financial inclusion into the mainstream of society. Exponential technologies allow us to rethink how these solutions can be meaningfully delivered.


This presentation will focus on energy access solutions based on power electronics, and will identify
key attributes that are needed for realizing reliable, interoperable and affordable solutions. Possible topics include DC nanogrids, self-organizing microgrids, solar home systems, productive energy use appliances, transactive energy for microgrids, bottom-up clustered microgrids, autonomous inverters, improving battery life, simple easy to use and easy to scale systems.


The IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) identifies Energy Access as a key area of activity, including
through a new Technical Committee (TC-12). IEEE PELS also organizes the recurring global competition in Energy Access -  Empower a Billion Lives (EBL).


Dr. Deepak Divan is Professor, John E Pippin Chair, GRA Eminent Scholar and Director of the Center 
for Distributed  Energy  at  the  Georgia  Institute  of Technology  in  Atlanta,  GA.  His field of research is in the areas of power electronics,  power  systems,  smart  grids and distributed control of power systems. He works closely with utilities, industry  and is actively  involved in research, teaching, entrepreneurship and starting new ventures.  Dr.  Divan also serves as Founder and Chief Scientist at Varentec, in Santa Clara, CA, and was President and CTO from 2011-14, leading the company as it developed its suite of innovative distributed real-time grid control technologies. Varentec is funded by leading green-tech Venture  Capital firm, Khosla  Ventures and renowned investor Bill Gates.

Dr. Divan is an elected Member of the US National Academy of Engineering, member of the National 
Academies Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, a member of the NASEM Committee on Future 
Grid, a Fellow of the IEEE, past President of the IEEE Power Electronics Society, and is a recipient of the IEEE William E Newell Field Medal. He also led the IEEE Empower a Billion  Lives, the global competition on Energy Access. He  has 40  years of  academic and  industrial experience, 65 issued and pending patents, and over 400 refereed publications. He has founded or seeded several new ventures including Soft Switching Technologies, Innovolt,  Varentec and Smart Wires, which together have raised >$160M in venture funding. He received his B. Tech from IIT Kanpur, and his MS and PhD degrees, from the University of Calgary, Canada.

link for robots only