Prof. Murti Salapaka to Lead $3.8 Million Energy Innovation Project Funded by ARPA-E

The University of Minnesota will receive nearly $4 million in funding from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA‑E) to develop a load management framework that can support grid infrastructure and implement coordinated management during power contingencies. The project will be led by Prof. Murti Salapaka as principal investigator (PI) and Prof. Donatello Materassi as co-PI.

The project is titled “Rapidly Viable Sustained Grid” and will focus on developing ways to rapidly re-energize, i.e. restore power after a black out, and maximize and stabilize power supply. The team’s research could potentially introduce sweeping changes in the way power contingencies are managed. Power systems and electric grids are critical infrastructure, and large scale instability and failure in them could be life-threatening, and adversely affect national security, and economic stability.

The project could initiate changes in the way power networks are currently managed and coordinated, transforming this critical infrastructure from a fragile network to one that is robust and resilient, using intelligent self-organizing control for coordinated resources, and marked by increased use of renewable energy resources. The communication and control component in conjunction with the rapid decision-making methods for managing local power units and loads will coordinate and leverage resources to better support the infrastructure during equipment failure or other contingencies.

The University will partner with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Alaska, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Dynapower Company, LLC. Research outcomes will be tested at NREL, and the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and its emergency medical service, and the Cordova Community Medical Center have agreed to cooperate in these tests.

Funding for this project comes from OPEN 2018, ARPA-E’s funding opportunity that “selects Innovative Technologies to Advance Energy Security and Competitiveness.” $98 million were awarded to 40 projects across 9 technical categories, including transportation, electricity generation and delivery and energy efficiency.