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Message from Dr. Mazzola
It has been an exciting few months, with "EPIC time" starting to compress every day it seems. This is just as well because becoming faster, better, and even more affordable are our clients' expectations.  The grid-connected energy storage community is about to get a transformational dose of the EPIC time scale with the rapidly building success of the C-Ion supercapacitor application development project led by ZapGo, Inc. ZapGo is a start up company from the United Kingdom, with U.S. offices in Charlotte, that was part of the recently graduated Cohort 3 businesses to participate in the Joules Accelerator program.

But EPIC's most important product is not made or tested in our research laboratories, but educated in our energy program. So I am most proud to report that UNC Charlotte engineering graduate student Milad Doostan took first place at the Duke University Energy Week poster event. Milad is advised in his Ph.D. studies by Dr. Badrul Chowdhury, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Assistant Director at EPIC. Given that this is the second year in a row that this statewide meeting has awarded it's first prize to an EPIC student, then EPIC must be well along toward achieving our goal of leadership in energy scholarship. And there are a number of other important and interesting news item in this edition. We hope you will enjoy learning more about our activities and please do not hesitate to contact us with comments or requests for information.
Engineers from EPIC Flexible Energy Lab,  FlexGen, and certification agency Intertek work on inverter testing
EPIC Provides Testing Services for North Carolina Based Power Electronics Systems Manufacturer
One of the primary objectives of the Flexible Energy Laboratories Suite in EPIC is to provide testing services to our industrial partners. The lab consists of the newly installed and commissioned 1 MVA rated highly flexible grid simulator, which is ideal for testing power electronic and power systems components and devices.

In February, the lab hosted FlexGen, a Durham, NC, based company specializing in modular, scalable high efficiency hybrid power products for industrial, oil & gas, grid, and grid-edge applications. The products designed and manufactured by FlexGen are certified according to UL safety standards, and EPIC was glad to support FlexGen in their UL 1741 certification testing requirements. Using the lab's grid simulator, tests such as frequency ride through, voltage ride through, and anti-islanding tests were performed. These tests are instrumental in ensuring power grid stability in a scenario where there is a high penetration of distributed energy resources. Upon the successful completion of the tests, FlexGen's Power & Controls Lead and Manager, Ben Yang, remarked, "EPIC's Flexible Energy Lab provides the great flexibility and capability to accomplish power test goals. It is a great energy test and research hub for industrial partners." We tend to agree with Ben and are looking forward to continued collaboration with FlexGen and other partners.
Gov. Cooper signs EO80
EPIC part of  North Carolina Clean Energy Plan stakeholders group
In October 2018, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 80, which calls for the state to transition to a clean energy economy. EO80 affirms North Carolina's commitment to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 2005 levels by 2025. The order directs the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to develop an North Carolina Clean Energy Plan to encourage the use of clean energy. The plan will be submitted to the Governor by October 1, 2019. To meet this goal, DEQ is holding a series of workshops over the next several months.

The first stakeholder workshop was held in Raleigh on February 25th. Each of the leading research universities in the state was asked to present on a different aspect of the plan. EPIC was asked to present on Grid Modernization, with the task of educating stakeholders on the meaning of the term, providing examples of modernization efforts underway in North Carolina, and suggesting pathways for establishing a modern grid in the state. Several working groups were also formed during the first workshop, and these groups were charged with summarizing input from key constituencies throughout the state. EPIC volunteered to lead the higher education workshop throughout the rest of the stakeholder engagement process, which is expected to conclude in July.
L to R: Charles Resnick, president of ZapGo, Mike Mazzola and Jim Gafford, of EPIC, Mike Rowland, director of Technology Development of Duke Energy
New C-ion Test and Development Laboratory opens
EPIC was excited to host visitors from Duke Energy, ZapGo, Inc., and Joules Accelerator for a demonstration of the ZapGo carbon-ion (C-ion) energy storage cells, which have been assembled into prototype large format packs designed by the engineering team at EPIC. Each pack consists of a large number parallel cells. The successful exercise demonstrated the industry leading energy density of this technology. The development of C-ion based systems at EPIC are targeted for grid-tied energy storage in high discharge rate applications such as ultra-fast charging of electric vehicles. This meeting was also the opportunity to celebrate the official opening of the C-ion Test and Development Laboratory with our industry partners from ZapGo and Duke Energy.
L to R:Chondon Roy, Nathaniel Belles, Dr. Babak Parkhideh, Wallace Obey, William Halaburda, Dr. Robert Cox, Namwon Kim present the teaching lab project
Team presents at Power America Annual Meeting
In mid-February, a team of students and faculty attended PowerAmerica's 2019 Annual Meeting.  Dr. Madhav Manjrekar's PhD student, Muhammad Foyazur Rahman, presented a p oster on "Introduction of WBG devices for solid-state circuit breaking at medium voltage level " co-authored by Muhammad Foyazur Rahman, Nazmus Sakib, Tiancan Pang, and Drs. Manjrekar, Shoubaki, and Mazzola.

A presentation on a PowerAmerica funded project "Power Electronics Teaching Lab Incorporating WBG Semiconductor Switches and Circuits",  that featured a live hardware demonstration with a prototype of the Plug & Play modular power electronics education board was conducted. The Plug & Play modular power electronics education board is designed to provide students with a hands-on opportunity to learn about the operation of wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductor switches and to apply them in real closed-loop power converters. The reconfigurable architecture allows students to easily construct different power electronics circuit topologies from basic DC-DC converters to isolated and ZCS/ZVS converters such as the dual-active-bridge (DAB). The modular design allows students to construct converters with SiC, GaN, and Silicon MOSFETs so that they can experience and compare the operation of WBG and Si-based semiconductor switches. The system is designed to allow testing up to 1kW at 400V, and provides a real-time control interface using MATLAB/SIMULINK and the TMS320F28335 microcontroller.
L to R: David Young, Somasundaram Essakiappan, Madhav Manjrekar, Shenen Chen
On Feb. 5-7, 2019, a group of EPIC faculty attended the IEEE Decentralized Energy Access Solutions (DEAS) Workshop. The goal of DEAS is to begin building a community around the challenging issues of decentralized control and energy access.

Drs. David Young and Shennn Chen made a panel presentation titled "Hurricane Maria Damage Assessment for Integrated Forensics of Grid Performance", co-authored by Drs. Baez, Chen, Irizarry, Manjrekar, Pando, Tang, and Ng. As academic sponsors, EPIC's Drs. Madhav Manjrekar and Somsundaram Essakiappan were also in attendance to promote the work of EPIC.
Milad Doostan receiving 1st place award at Duke University Energy Conference
Student Wins at Duke University Energy Conference
Congratulations to Milad Doostan, Ph.D. student under Dr. Badrul Chowdhury, who won first place at the Duke University Energy Week Research Poster Presentation! This is the second year in a row that a UNC Charlotte student has won first place. The event gave students, faculty, and professionals the opportunity to showcase their research ideas in the field of energy. UNC Charlotte had 3 of the 25 posters presented.
Participants from UNC Charlotte were:
Milad Doostan - 1st Place winner of $3000
Topic: "A Data-Driven Approach for Predicting Vegetation-Related Outages in Power Distribution Systems"
Kombiz Salehi
Topic: "Mitigating the Effects of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Plant for a Typical BWR on a Coastal Site"
Ricardo Aguiar, Antonio Gonzalez, Omar Mina-Blanco, Jonathan Stevens, Miguel Valeriano-Cabrera
Topic: "Automated Electroluminescence System"
Planning an Affordable, Resilient, and Sustainable Grid in North Carolina
A two-year project has been proposed by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality State Energy Program (NC DEQ-SEP) in partnership with EPIC and NCCETC and is in response to DE- FOA-0001644 sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Energy State Energy Program. The goal of this project is to develop a road map to be used during the integrated resource planning process to support investments that enhance grid resiliency, improve reliability and maintain affordability.  It will combine an analysis of technological improvements with economic valuations to inform and guide investment decision-making to enhance grid resiliency while improving reliability and maintaining affordable energy for North Carolina communities.
In the News
EPIC provides T&D World content for their online publication on a bi-monthly basis. The mission of T&D World is to provide utility executives, managers, engineers, supervisors, operators, and linemen with must-read information on the design, engineering, construction, operation, and maintenance of the electric power-delivery system. 

IEEE Power Electronics Magazine publishes peer-reviewed articles related to power electronics and its applications which encompass the effective use of electronic components, application of control theory and circuit design techniques, and the development of analytical tools used in efficient and effective energy conversion, control, utilization, and conditioning of electric power. Dr. Madhav Manjrekar and Clint Halstead's article A Critique of Little Box Challenge Inverter Designs, was featured in a recent issue.

A paper by Dr. Badrul Chowdhury and recent graduate student Mahfuz Shuvra, was selected for publication in the Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET)  Renewable Power Generation J ournal, titled Distributed Dynamic Grid Support Using Smart PV Inverters During Unbalanced Grid Faults.
Poster presenters L to R: Shelby Tomassi, Bhaskar Mitra, Rasik Sarup,William Halaburda, Mesbah Maruf
DistribuTECH 2019
DistribuTECH is the utility industry's leading smart grid conference and exposition, covering automation and control systems, energy efficiency, demand response, renewable energy integration, advanced metering, T&D system operation and reliability, power delivery equipment, and water utility technology -  and EPIC was there! We were well represented by five  students who  presented posters and as an exhibitor interacting with over 12,000 attendees and sharing our impressive  capabilities
EPIC video
EPIC has a new "About EPIC" video, which highlights the work taking place in our labs, the quality of our students and faculty, and the partnerships we have with industry. Please take a moment to watch and share with whomever you think might enjoy learning more about EPIC! 
EPIC Affiliates logo
EPIC Affiliates news
EPIC Affiliates Program welcomes PIKE Engineering
As part of the Pike Corporation, Pike Engineering is a national engineering, technical services, and consulting company uniquely positioned to meet the demands of the power engineering and energy delivery sectors of the utility industry. 
Pike Engineering provides a wide array of engineering and project management services in all areas of the electric utility industries. Some examples of these services are: Smart Grid study, engineering, and implementation; PUC mandated System Hardening initiatives; New Business and System Improvement engineering; GIS data input and integration; Transmission and Substation Engineering, Facility Planning and Siting, EPC Projects, Fiber Optic engineering; Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) Engineering, System Planning and Consulting Services, Technical Training, Storm Damage Assessment and Engineering Response Services, and most importantly, helping clients with solving their day to day, year after year repetitive, non-discretionary spending challenges.

EPIC Innovator program rolls out
The EPIC Innovator program (sponsored by EPIC Affiliates) aims to identify and recognize entrepreneurial engineering students and faculty with a focus on energy. Individual participants or teams were encouraged to submit ideas, projects, technology concepts, or prototypes that they believe worthy of further exploration and funding. 

Affiliates will review submissions and decide on 5 teams/individuals who will present their ideas during a private event towards the end of the semester.  The Affiliates Program has also partnered with UNC Charlotte's  Ventureprise , an innovation and entrepreneurship center serving the campus and Charlotte region where EPIC Innovators will be eligible to participate in the Ventureprise Launch NSF I-Corps program.

Energy Concentration Panel
A important goal of the EPIC Affiliates Program is energy workforce development. On January 29, 2019, EPIC in collaboration with the UNC Charlotte Career Center, held a panel discussion on the College of Engineering's Energy Concentrations.  Energy concentration alum John Medina, and current energy concentration students Brian Hobbs, Donovan Gurganus, and Erin Jebsen, discussed why they decided to focus on the energy industry, their experience with the concentration, the benefits of declaring it, and career paths thus far. Approximately 45 students from all disciplines attended.  We thank our panelists for helping us reinforce the importance of the energy industry and the opportunities it presents to engineering students! 
EPIC staffing updates
EPIC is pleased to announce the following staff changes at EPIC. 

Dr. Behnaz Papari joined EPIC in December, 2018 as Assistant Professor of Practice in Power Electronics & Engineering, and the Manager of the Duke Energy Smart Grid Lab. She received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Florida State University. She has expertise in power systems with an emphasis on modeling, analysis, control, planning, and optimization.




Shannon Jenkins joined EPIC in January, 2019,as Administrative Support Specialist/CAPER Admin. Prior to joining EPIC, she was an Engineering Administrator for RBI, Purchasing Agent for Victory Bolt & Specialties and Administrative Manager for an automotive retail dealership.

EPIC out and about
EPIC will exhibit at the following conferences in the upcoming months. These conference will focus on areas ranging from energy storage to power electronics. Stop by and say hello!

State Energy Conference - Raleigh, NC, April 30 - May 1, 2019
Energy Storage Association - Phoenix, AZ, April 16-18, 2019
Upcoming Events
Speaker:  Brandon Grainger, Assistant Professor and Assoc. Director, Electric Power Systems Laboratory, University of Pittsburgh

Speaker: Andrew Lemmon. Assistant Professor, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

Ben Vollmer, Development Associate, Strata Solar
Joel Olsen, CEO, O2 Energies
Luke Rogers, Director of Business Development, Birdseye Renewable Energy

The Center for Advanced Power Engineering Research (CAPER) is holding the 5th Annual Spring Meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina on the campus of N.C. State University at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, March 27-29, 2019. The Spring Meeting will provide a venue for power electronics experts to present the results of their cutting-edge research and learn what is in store for the future of power engineering.

EPIC faculty is collaborating with The Center for Advanced Power Engineering Research (CAPER) in offering a summer course on the Fundamentals of Power Engineering and the Integration of Distributed Energy Resources, May 13 - June 14, 2019. This course is geared mainly towards industry professionals who have a BS in Electrical Engineering or equivalent work experience. The course will consist of two weeks of on-site instruction in Charleston, as well as three weeks of self-study.
EPIC generates the interest of industries, organizations, and educational institutions from across the US and countries around the world. We'd welcome a visit from you! Contact Christina Kopitopoulou to schedule your visit.
Ardent Edge
Brian Iversen & Associates LLC
Duke Energy
Electrify America
LS Energy Systems
PIKE Engineering

About EPIC: The Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at UNC Charlotte, serves as a state-of- the-art research center that provides  education  and applied research opportunities to students with energy related interests. Our industry-education partnerships unite students, faculty and industrial partners to collaborate on interdisciplinary research and learning.
9201 University City Blvd. Charlotte, NC  28223 704.687.5614