Dr. Parker specializes in control system design and correlation of nonlinear dynamic models to experimental data. A key area of his research is the optimal control of microgrids with particular attention given to networked topologies. Closed loop control and real-time optimization for harmonizing use of available energy generation and storage assets, while satisfying loads, is the main theme. Applications requiring temporary or remote power motivate much of his funded research along with disaster relief scenarios. Development of a scalable, optimal control solution is critical for allowing the interconnection, in both power and communication, of separately deployed microgrids. The main challenge stems from a microgrid’s ever-changing energy asset and load portfolio and their effect on the system models used for optimal planning and control system design. Rational segregation of distributed versus centralized optimization and control is another research area. In the past year Dr. Parker and his colleagues formed the Agile and Interconnected Micrgorid (AIM) Center to bring together faculty from Computer Science, Mathematics, Cognitive Sciences and Learning, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering to focus an interdisciplinary team on this technical area. More generally, nonlinear control, system simulation, nonlinear system parameter identification and optimization, are present in most of Dr. Parker’s ongoing projects. Examples include active control of diesel engine aftertreatment systems and at-sea control of naval equipment.
A microgrid may consist of many interconnected energy assets to improve reliability efficiency. Two or more microgrids can also interconnect to share resources to further improve reliability and efficiency. The scalable microgrid project is aimed at creating a hardware test-bench capable of developing and testing technologies for control and optimization in large numbers of interconnected microgrids. It is also aimed at studying how these technologies can scale up to high and higher numbers of interconnected microgrids. Development of power conversion nodes that adapt and connect to an expanding interconnected microgrid structure to create a large, decentralized power distribution network that can adapt to changing resources and demands.
Active Research Projects
- Communication protocols
- High penetration renewable
- Agile grid controls
- Control of interconnected microgrids
- Scale model explorations