IEEE Power and Energy Conference at Illinois going strong in second year

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By Reema Amin, ECE ILLINOIS
March 9, 2011

  • The second annual IEEE Power and Energy Conference at Illinois (PECI) was held at the end of February.
  • Organized by ECE students, the conference is a platform for research papers and innovative ideas in the field of energy.
  • PECI had about a hundred attendees, with students and faculty from about 15 different universities and representatives from nine different companies and organizations.

The future of electrical energy was showcased at the second annual student-led IEEE Power and Energy Conference at Illinois (PECI) on Friday, February 25, and Saturday, February 26.

PECI served as a platform for research papers and innovative ideas in the field of energy. ECE grad students Pradeep Shenoy and Sudipta Dutta, conference directors, said the two-day event highlighted new approaches in energy.

“It covered things like the smart grid, renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar, and innovations in electric machines and power electronics,” Dutta said.

She said the event was unique: it was student-led but provided the same resources for attendees that they can receive at other IEEE conferences.

PECI had about a hundred attendees, with students and faculty from about 15 different universities and representatives from nine different companies and organizations.

“We were excited that there were at least three international attendees, one from India, one from Colombia, and one from Germany who came to the U.S. to attend the conference,” Dutta said.

The opening keynote lecture at the 2011 PECI was by Dushan Boroyevich, president of the IEEE Power Electronics Society.
The opening keynote lecture at the 2011 PECI was by Dushan Boroyevich, president of the IEEE Power Electronics Society.

The conference provided a number of presentations, as well as three keynote speakers. Shenoy said this year’s speakers are considered “rock stars,” as they are highly regarded in the field of energy. The line-up included John McDonald, director of technical strategy and policy development at GE Digital Energy; Dushan Boroyevich, president of the IEEE Power Electronics Society; and Thomas Jahns, Grainger Professor of Power Electronics and Electrical Machines at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

People from all over the world submitted papers for inclusion at the conference.  From about 50 submissions, approximately 25 papers were presented. Dutta said many of these papers tackled new topics in power and energy.

“I think the whole power and energy concept is going through a revolution right now. Submissions are targeting all the catchy stuff,” Dutta said.

ECE graduate student Taylor Johnson won the Best Paper Award at PECI.
ECE graduate student Taylor Johnson won the Best Paper Award at PECI.

The papers were ranked by conference attendees, and one presentation was given the Best Paper Award. This year, ECE graduate student Taylor Johnson won the award for his paper “Turbo-Alternator Stalling Protectino Using Available-Power Estimate.”  Shenoy said that his favorite part of a conference is receiving feedback on his work, so the event allowed the audience to electronically provide feedback about each presentation.  All technical papers presented will be published on IEEE Xplore.

In addition to the papers presented at the conference, a tour on Saturday gave an overview of the campus’s power and energy highlights. A formula hybrid car was on display, and a tour was given both of the 2009 Solar Decathlon house near the I Hotel and of research and teaching labs.

The conference was supported by various industry partners, such as John Deere, G and W Electric Company, Com-Ed, Plexim, and SolarBridge Technologies. The Power Affiliates Program also supported the event by providing funds to allow students to be exposed to various power and energy industries. The technical co-sponsors for the conference were the IEEE Power and Energy Society and the IEEE Power Electronics Society.

ECE Professor Philip Krein Krein, adviser for the conference, said the conference proved to be useful for all that attended, especially students.

“It is something that would appeal to students, where they can get together and exchange ideas about things they are working on,” Krein said. “I think it’s a great thing because it gives graduate students and undergraduate students a chance to present their thoughts and ideas.”

Editor's note: media inquiries should be directed to Brad Petersen, Director of Communications, at bradp@illinois.edu or (217) 244-6376.

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