Modernization of Electrical Power Networks

February 29, 2012
12:30pm-1:30pm
Mudd 227
Hosted by: Columbia Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering Departments
Speaker: Dr. Javad Lavaei (Stanford University / CalTech)

Abstract

The idea of upgrading today's electrical power grid into a Smart Grid has been seriously considered by the electric power industry, regulators, and government agencies to improve efficiency, reliability, economics, and sustainability of electricity services. Smart grid architecture should support distributed generation units, renewable energy, electric vehicles and demand-response mechanisms. In this talk, I will first outline my research projects on different aspects of the smart grid, namely control & stability of distributed generation units, renewable & storage, operation planning, and electricity market. I will then focus mainly on the operation planning problem.

Optimization problems for the operation planning such as resource allocation, state estimation and scheduling, are hard to solve due to the nonlinearity introduced by physical laws. I will show that there is an efficient method to tackle this nonlinearity by exploiting the physics of a power circuit. In particular, I will talk about the optimal power flow (OPF) problem, which has been studied for nearly 5 decades. Despite the fact that OPF is NP-hard in the worst case, I will prove that practical OPF problems are likely solvable in polynomial time due to the passivity of transmission lines and transformers. I will derive various theories by studying distribution and transmission networks separately. Finally, I will talk about our recent solver for large-scale OPF problems, which is able to solve a 10,000-bus OPF problem in less than 1 second on a single-core machine.

Speaker Biography

Javad Lavaei received the B.Sc. degree in electronics engineering from the Sharif University of Technology in 2003 and the M.A.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from Concordia University in 2007. He obtained the Ph.D. degree in control & dynamical systems from the California Institute of Technology in 2011, and is currently a postdoctoral scholar jointly at the Electrical Engineering Department and the Precourt Institute for Energy of Stanford University. He is the recipient of the Milton and Francis Clauser Doctoral Prize for the best university-wide Ph.D. thesis, entitled "Large-Scale Complex Systems: From Antenna Circuits to Power Grids". He has worked on different interdisciplinary problems in power systems, networking, communications, circuits, distributed computation, optimization, and control.

Javad Lavaei is a senior member of IEEE and his professional activities include serving as a co-chair for the Control & Robotics Symposium in both 23rd and 24th IEEE Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering. He has won several prestigious awards, including the Governor General's Gold Medal given by the Government of Canada, Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools Master's Thesis Award, Postgraduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), New Face of Engineering in 2011, and Silver Medal in the 1999 International Mathematical Olympiad.


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