Rasool Aghatehrani’s research in microgrids keeps energy stable
Who: Rasool Aghatehrani, doctoral student in electrical engineering
Early starts: Aghatehrani built his first electrical circuit when he was 12 years old. He moved on into small robots and participated in robot-building competitions in Iran.
Why electrical engineering: “Electrical engineering is very interesting for me because I can see that electrical engineers design and implement something which can help people live better and improve the life of humankind,” he said.
How he is doing just that: Aghatehrani’s research and dissertation describes controls that help small electric grids, known as microgrids, run on renewable energy with fewer problems due to things like wind variance.
Why it matters: Aghatehrani’s advisor, Rajaesh Kavasseri, uses an analogy about the Titanic to explain. Rearranging the chairs on the Titanic won’t have a noticeable effect on the ship’s distribution of mass. Rearranging the same chairs on a small, rickety boat will have a large effect. The same can be said with large and small electric grids. “We came up with a way to control and regulate the voltage fluctuations,” said Kavasseri, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. Numerical simulations showed that with their controls, they could regulate voltage to within 2 percent of nominal. Without the controls, voltages in the microgrid could vary by 7 to 8 percent. Such improvements in voltage regulation make a large difference in the operation of microgrids.