Imagine a future where you could share electricity generated through your rooftop solar panels with your neighbor across the street. The power you and your neighbors generate would keep the lights on during arctic storms that knock out power because of overwhelming demand of the electric grid.
That’s the type of scenario that CU Denver Electrical Engineering Professor Jae-Do Park, PhD, and his former student Md Habib Ullah, PhD, researched and wrote about in “Peer to Peer Trading in Transactive Markets Considering Physical Network Constraints,” a paper that outlines how this would be possible and how it could potentially make our aging electric grid more resilient.
The research, which was partially funded by a National Science Foundation Career Grant that Park received in 2016, was published in The IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid. The journal, which is among the most respected in the power and energy field, ranked the paper among its top five papers from 2021 to 2023.
“There are several benefits to this model,” Park said. “With the skyrocketing demand of energy, this peer-to-peer trading could help meet demand, make our system more resilient by not relying so heavily on the main centralized power generation systems. The peer-to-peer trading concept, which has undergone testing by numerous pilot projects, also enhances accessibility to renewable energy and optimized utilization.”
Park’s approach was to connect real-world issues with forward-thinking questions. “This is what we do,” Park said. “We [identify] problems and come up with potential solutions.”
He uses the same approach in classes at CU Denver, which is where he began working with Ullah, who was a doctoral student. “Dr. Park provided phenomenal assistance in preparing my research and teaching,” said Ullah, who after graduating in 2021, obtained an assistant professor position at Penn State Harrisburg. “The paper’s contributions advocate green energy initiatives with proper incentive algorithms to motivate small-scale energy resources for local energy sharing while ensuring power grid security and reliability.”
Now that the paper has been published, Ullah is continuing the research and focusing on blockchain and quantum computing in peer-to-peer energy trading. What he learned at CU Denver is also fueling other research interests in power outage management, machine learning in power systems, and renewable energy integrations.
Park is pleased to watch his former student advance his career and become a colleague in the field. He said that it is important to give students hands-on opportunities along with establishing a solid theoretical foundation to conduct meaningful research, which can lead to better jobs in academia or in industry.
Inspired in his youth by anime that featured robots (think Robotech), Park worked at Pentadyne Power Corp and LG Industrial Systems before shifting to higher education and joining CU Denver in 2009. His research has primarily focused on energy systems applications, such as microgrids, renewable energy sources, energy harvesting, and storage systems. He is broadening his scope to include intelligent mobility systems research. He also led the creation of an electric vehicle technology micro-credential program at CU Denver in 2022.
Park holds two U.S. patents, has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles, and is a frequent speaker at conferences. He has received funding from the National Science Foundation, DARPA, the Office of Naval Research, and private industry throughout his career, which is balanced by his time in the classroom. “I really love my job,” he said.
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