Universities Get $7.36M Navy Grant to Study Energy Generation and Storage for Microgrids

Two universities are working together to figure out how to make energy generation, storage and system operation more efficient and reliable, especially in "microgrid" settings. Researchers at New York's Stony Brook University and the University of Massachusetts Lowell have received a $7.36 million grant from the United States Navy Office of Naval Research, to do research in a number of areas: grid control, security and infrastructure monitoring, energy storage, materials and grid management and zero-carbon fuels.

Microgrids are energy systems that serve small geographic areas, such as a campus, a neighborhood or a business center.

The initiative will also include the creation of new training approaches, with the help of two regional energy grid operators: National Grid and PSEG Long Island. A number of other industry partners will also participate in the research program.

The funding, which will be equally shared between the two institutions, will run through fall 2022.

"This research program comes as the energy industry is experiencing greater technological change than at any time in the last century," said Yacov Shamash, co-principal investigator, a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Stony Brook and vice chair for the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center, in a statement. "That's why the Stony Brook and UMass Lowell projects leverage deep energy research experience with academic knowledge and long-time institutional collaborations with utilities in their states."

"The partnership...is unique in that we bring together energy experts from both universities along with industry partners who will collaborate to advance the next generation of energy systems. The work will surely help the Navy, but advances will also spill over to domestic energy systems for the public's benefit," added Christopher Niezrecki, professor and chairman of the UMass Lowell Department of Mechanical Engineering and co-director of the Rist Institute for Sustainability and Energy. Niezrecki will lead the UMass Lowell portion of the project.

"Thanks to this funding, the research expertise of faculty at UMass Lowell and Stony Brook University will be brought together to tackle challenges in energy resiliency," noted UMass Lowell Chancellor, Jacquie Moloney. "This important work will address needs in energy generation, storage and system operation that ensure a secure and efficient future for the nation's energy systems."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.