A team led by Nanpeng Yu, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been awarded a $300,000 prize from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for developing a data-driven planning platform for the nation’s largest electrical utility. This platform predicts electric vehicle adoption, charging profiles, and various impacts to electricity distribution in the grid.
The funds are part of the American-Made Digitizing Utilities Grand Prize won by Yu and his team members Wenyu Wang and Zuzhao Ye and are provided by the DOE's Office of Electricity. The prize money will support further research by Yu and his team at UCR's Bourns College of Engineering.
The award honors teams of software developers and data scientists that connect with utilities to transform the energy sector through grid-use innovations.
Competing against 38 other teams from the U.S., Yu’s team collaborated with Exelon, the nation's largest utility, to create a data-driven planning platform facilitating the integration of electric vehicles into the nation's power distribution systems. The team delivered user-friendly software to Exelon, consisting of three modules that can function independently or build off each other.
Yu’s work also encompasses vehicle-to-grid technology, enabling electric car batteries to store electricity generated from distributed energy sources like solar panels during the day. This stored electricity can go back into the grid during peak hours when electricity prices are higher.