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Oklahoma State University

Engineering Energy Laboratory

EEL Lab director poses with staff

Brief History

* Dr. William L. Hughes, Head of the School (1960-1976), initiated the organized energy research and development program in 1961 with sponsorship from local and regional electric utilities  It is in its 55th year at present.  Dr. Ramakumar joined the group in 1967.

* The Engineering Energy Laboratory (EEL) was officially constituted in 1975.  Dr. Hughes directed it until his retirement in 1987 at which time Dr. Ramakumar assumed the directorship.  Activities of this group are sponsored by the local and regional investor-owned electric utilities.  Over the past five-plus decades, the number of firms sponsoring the EEL and its predecessor programs has varied from 2 to 6, but support has been continuous.

* In the late 1960’s, six faculty members (Drs. Allison, Hughes, Lingelbach, McCollom, Ramakumar, and Summers) were actively involved in energy research in the School of Electrical Engineering.  By 2011, it dwindled down to one (Dr. Ramakumar).  Two new tenure-track facuty members at the Assistant Professor level (Drs. Ekneligoda and Guo) have been added in August 2014.

* The energy program has attracted over three million dollars in external funds during the past 55 years (2016) from electric utilities, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, United Nations, United States Air Force, etc.

* This long-standing effort has resulted in

  • 27 doctoral dissertations
  • Numerous MS theses
  • 7 U. S. patents
  • 1 text book
  • 1 named professorship
  • Two scholarship programs:  Frontiers of Power/Bill Hughes Scholarship and Ramakumar Family Energy Scholarship to encourage undergraduate and graduate students to pursure their studies in the energy/power area.
  • Development of a Unified Student Lab that includes Energy Conversion, Power Electronics, and Power Systems involving virtual instrumentation
  • Over 300 publications
  • An IEEE Society-level (Power and Energy Society) annual IEEE-PES Ramakumar Family Renewable Energy Excelence Award was established in 2011.

Major Research Areas Investigated (1961 – 2016)

  • Hydrogen production, utilization, and storage
  • Assessment of solar and wind resources
  • Variable-speed constant-frequency Field Modulated Generator System (FMGS) for harnessing wind energy using wind turbines operating in variable speed mode
  • Experimental wind-farm consisting of two turbines, feeding power to the grid (1975)
  • Conversion of biomass into useable fuels
  • Integrated use of several renewable energy resources (wind, insolation, biomass, water head, etc.) to supply a variety of needs, including electrical energy
  • Impact of distributed photovoltaic (PV) systems on the utility grid
  • Probabilistic models for wind, insolation, wind-electric conversion systems, and photovoltaic systems
  • Assessment of the performance of utility-interactive wind and PV systems
  • Integrated Renewable Energy Systems (IRES) for energizing remote areas
  • Development of a knowledge-based tool (IRES-KB) for designing IRES
  • Optimal Power Flow (OPF) including various contingencies, expected security costs, small-signal stability and security
  • Models for unified power flow controllers (UPFC) and FACTS devices
  • Selected topics in power system economics and regulation
  • Approaches to quantify the technical benefits of distributed generation (DG)
  • Smart Grid studies
  • Monitoring, control, and operational schemes for IRES
  • Markov models for IRES
  • Optimal planning and operation of combined gas and electric systems
  • Reliability assessment and impacts of wind electric conversion systems
  • Resiliency assessment of electric power grids
  • Smart Integrated Renewable Energy Systems (SIRES)

Click here to view EEL's Webpage.