Center for Energy Systems and Control (CESaC)


CESaC is an interdisciplinary research center aimed at research and education in electric energy systems and control, power, environment, economics and energy markets sponsored by federal agencies, industry and national laboratories. Our current sponsors are:

  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO)
  • Power Systems Engineering Research Center (PSERC)
  • Department of Energy (DOE)


Approach Lighting Systems (ALS) Protection for Aviation Systems

This project presents simulation and experimental testing being performed on electrical protection systems for Approach Lighting System (ALS) used in major US airports. The main focus of the investigations is to validate selected protection topology needed to safeguard critical Individual Control Cabinet (ICC) used by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in their ALS. The approach used is based on (a) selection of appropriate protection topology, (b) simulation of protection systems with practical ground resistance sensitivity values, and (c) testing of a scaled model based on laboratory setup and testing. PSpice simulation was used to provide insights to ALS protection. The experimental work via hands-on destructive tests is being used to provide practical results to confirm the effectiveness of suggested protection schemes. (Sponsor: FAA)

Development of Optimization Techniques

Development of optimization techniques for solving the Locational Marginal Price challenges of the Real and Reactive Power markets in deregulated power system environment to improve the overall efficiency of the system. (Sponsor: NSF)

Optimization Technique for Arc Fault Control on the Navy Integrated Power System (IPS)

The Navy IPS is a highly complex network that is often times subjected to high-impact contingencies during operations. Cases that result in arc faults, which pose threats to life, mission, and/or ship components, require effective mitigation with minimal manning. This project is aimed at developing an optimization strategy for quenching arc faults. The approach is based on (a) nonlinear optimization for optimal allocation of remedial control resources, and (b) discrete optimization that incorporates engineering heuristics using an intelligent system. In the latter case, intelligent decisions are structured into the proposed algorithm to handle discrete control variables. The project extends the capability of other techniques for solving arc fault control such as rule base systems (RBS). The scheme for improving IPS control and protection against arc fault threats was investigated on a modified Navy IPS.

Real-Time Control for Enhancing Voltage Stability Margin in Power Systems using PMUs

The stability and security of power systems are of utmost importance to planning and operation engineers. As demand on grid resources increase, and contingency impacts on the interconnected power grids become more threatening/severe, real-time determination of power system operation and control is needed. This project therefore develops an integrated strategy for handling the challenging problem of maintaining voltage stability for online applications in power engineering. The proposed method builds on recent advanced in the areas of real-time voltage stability monitoring and control. It is based on the use of real-time measurements via phasor measurement unit (PMU) technology. The design strategy will allow the real-time computation and controls, such as adjustments of voltage regulators or controllable series/shunt compensators, to arrest voltage instability at its onset. (Sponsor: NSF)

NSF SGER: Framework for Dynamic Stochastic Optimal Power Flow (DSOPF) of the Future Electric Power Grid

The project outlines smart grid intelligent functions that advance interactions of agents such as telecommunication, control, and optimization to achieve adaptability, self-healing, efficiency and reliability of power systems.

The work presents a special case for the development of dynamic stochastic optimal power flow (DSOPF) technology as a tool needed in smart grid design. (Sponsor: NSF).

Multi-Agent Intelligent System for Navy Ship Power System Reconfiguration & Control

Rule-Based System for Fault Detection, Location, and Optimal Restoration of Ship power system subject to support critical systems functions. (Sponsor: NSF/ONR)

Multi-Agent Technologies for Power System reconfiguration and control for ship power systems, applicable to aerospace and utility energy systems. (Sponsor: NSF/ONR)

Detection, Diagnosis, Location, & Recommendations of Remedial Actions for Corona & Soft Faults in Space (NASA)

Detecting and diagnosing of corona and soft faults in space power system, using Artificial Neural Network, wavelet and advanced interior point quantization.

Locate and initiate control action to reduce the impacts of faults on control components of ship and space power system.

MATLAB and LAB VIEW are used to simulate results. (Product to serve as design guide for NASA Aerospace Engineers)

Distribution/Automation and Cost Effective Monitoring and Control of NASA Space PMAD Systems (NASA)

NASA spacecraft Power Management and Distribution (PMAD) fully operational system is critical for the survival of present and future spacecrafts. A self-aware, self-diagnostic and control scheme is designed to support the detection of faults on board the spacecraft. The pre-college students, using knowledge of energy systems, electronics, digital logic and Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed a smart controller capable of detecting load location and setting of relay switches that ensures maximum usage of the energy supplied. The project helped to provide a framework for engaging in the applications of plug and play electronic controls. The project has many other applications such as health monitoring in humans, machines and systems.

Performance optimization of power supply networks using renewable energy resources

This project is focused in the area of power quality and network performance improvements utilizing Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) in power systems. The work particularly addresses the optimization of switching and selection of installed DERs within the network and the analysis of their impacts on the power quality; particularly, performance measures related to the voltage deviations in the network.


Real Time Measurements

The research work involves the development of a real time measurement for voltage stability assessment and control. This scheme proposed is based on development using real time system parameters to compute voltage stability margin. Given these margins a real time advanced optimization control scheme is needed to mitigate the voltage problems.

Renewable Energy

There are challenges in developing renewable generation technologies, such as reducing the capital costs and improving energy efficiencies of the various types of renewable resources, such as wind, solar PV, solar thermal, and wave. CESaC is currently working on Hydrogen Economy - Development of Hybrid Renewable Energy Management and Control, and Advancing Photovoltaic technologies, Hydrogen & Fuel Cells.

Sustainable Energy Development

PV and Intelligent Power Management (PMAD) to achieve optimum power quality and reduced losses.

Tracking and forecast of Dynamic/Stochastic Load.

Efficient and Reliable Hybrid PV - Fuel Cells technologies and Micro-Grid applications.

Intelligent Smart Grid for Efficient Power Delivery

The modernization of the US electric power infrastructure, especially in lieu of its aging, overstressed networks; shifts in social, energy and environmental policies, and also new vulnerabilities, is a national concern. Our systems are required to be more adaptive and secure more than ever before. Consumers are also demanding increased power quality and reliability of supply and delivery. As such, power industries, government and national laboratories and consortia have developed increased interest in what is now called the smart grid of the future. Our Center is working on smart grid intelligent functions that advance interactions of agents such as telecommunication, control, and optimization to achieve adaptability, self-healing, efficiency and reliability of power systems.

Areas of research interest:

  • Real-time control devices to improve grid stability and reliability
  • Incentives for investing in transmission upgrade
  • Multi-Agent (MA) based reconfiguration scheme to coordinate controls and optimization techniques to improve performance
  • Renewable Energy Resources (RER) and transmission grid interactions and impacts


Commemorating the Lives of Esteemed Architecture Faculty

Fri, August, 9 2019

We commemorate the lives of several former Department of Architecture faculty members who have recently passed away. Three former faculty members, Jose J. Mapily (B.Arch. ’65; MCP ’72), Ahmed Elnaggar, Ph.D., and Philip Freelon, FAIA, passed away this July, and Oswald Glean Chase, B.S.Arch., MScs, within the past year. Read More >>

Meet Bison STEM Scholar Cameryn Burnette

Wed, May, 29 2019

Born at Fort Hood military base in Killeen, Texas into a Howard family, Civil and Environmental Engineering Rising Sophomore Cameryn Burnette was always inclined to one day attend Howard University, as her mother did. Burnette would have it no other way. Read More >>


No Events