The mission of the Center for GRid-connected Advanced Power Electronics Systems (GRAPES) is to accelerate the adoption and insertion of power electronics into the electric grid, in order to improve system stability, flexibility, robustness, and economy.
We plan to accomplish our mission by focusing on the following main objectives:
- Developing new technologies for advanced power electronic systems, including grid-connected distributed-energy resources, power-steering and routing devices, and intelligent load-side devices.
- Developing the software and tools for controlling embedded and grid-connected power electronics to benefit the grid as well as to control loads.
- Educating engineers to understand and utilize the power electronic technologies that will benefit our member companies and the stability of the power grid as a whole.
The electric power industry is critical to the economy and security of the United States. The demand for electrical energy is increasing, and political and environmental pressures are forcing adoption of new distributed generation resources, such as wind, solar, and tidal, that do not fit well into the traditional architecture and safety mechanisms of the electric power grid. Robustness of the national power infrastructure is threatened by aging equipment; by lack of integration between generation, transmission, distribution, and utilization; and by potential attacks.
Power electronics technology is key to enabling a “smart” power grid. Power electronics-based controllers enhance the controllability, flexibility, efficiency, stability, robustness, resiliency, safety, and economy of the power grid. These devices also provide innovative, economical methods to integrate renewable energy resources into the grid.
About the Center
GRAPES was founded in 2009 under the auspices of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) program. GRAPES is a collaboration among faculty, staff, and students at the University of Arkansas, the University of South Carolina, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; and our industrial and government members.
The NSF I/UCRC program provides funding for administration of the center, but industry members’ annual membership fees pay for the bulk of the center’s research in a pre-competitive, shared-intellectual-property arrangement.
Our Industrial Advisory Board plays an active role in the selection, direction, and review of our research projects. Our research focus areas are chosen by our Industrial Advisory Board from proposals submitted by our faculty members at UA, USC, and UWM. These project areas aim to integrate technological advances with projected industrial needs.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or are interested in joining our growing efforts in advancing power electronics technology.
GRAPES leadership is at the forefront of power electronics research and methodology, with over 250 total published papers, articles, and books in the Electrical Engineering field.
Our leaders bring both academic acumen and industry experience to bear on guiding GRAPES research, and on keeping GRAPES members, faculty, and students aware of current concerns, industry needs, and developments in power grid technology.
Associate Professor & Executive Director, UA
Dr. Yue Zhao received a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, USA, in 2014. He was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Richmond, USA, in 2014-2015.
Since August 2015, he has been with the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where he is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. He is also affiliated with NSF I/UCRC on GRid-connected Advanced Power Electronics Systems (GRAPES) and National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission (NCREPT) at the University of Arkansas.
Dr. Zhao's current research interests include electric machines and drives, power electronics, and renewable energy systems. His research is current sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and Industry. He holds 4 U.S. patents and co-authored more than 40 papers in refereed journals and international conference proceedings. Dr. Zhao is an Associated Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications.
Dr. Zhao was a recipient of 2018 National Science Foundation CAREER Award. He was a recipient of the Best Paper Prize of the 2012 IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference and Expo.
Ph.D., P.E., FIEEE
Distinguished Professor & Founding Director, UA
Alan Mantooth is the Center’s Founding Director. He has 24 years of academic experience in addition to eight years in industry. He has served in several leadership positions in both industry and academe, and currently serves as Founding Director for the Center for GRid-connected Advanced Power Electronic Systems (GRAPES) and Deputy Director for the NSF Engineering Research Center for Power Optimization in Electro-Thermal Systems (POETS). He is the Director of the UA Power Group, a team of 16 faculty, over 100 graduate students, and over a dozen full-time technical and administrative staff.
After returning to academe he has built a research group of 25 students, on average, with research expenditures of approximately $5M a year. Since its inception in 2005, he has served as the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission’s (NCREPT) Executive Director and overseen its research and building program.
Dr. Mantooth has published over 550 refereed publications in CAD, modeling and electronic design and packaging, as well as three books. He is an IEEE Fellow, has served on the IEEE PELS Advisory Committee since 2004, is a former President of the IEEE Power Electronics Society, and is currently serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Open Journal of Power Electronics.
Associate Professor & Site Director, UWM
Prior to coming to the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Dr. Cuzner worked in industry for 24 years developing systems for power generation, power conversion, and variable speed motor drives for both Navy and industrial applications. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is active in various IEEE committees, including serving as chair of the Industrial Drives Committee of the Industrial Applications Society from 2006-2008, participating in development of standards in the area of shipboard power conversion architecture for the IEEE, and co-editor for IEEE Electrification Magazine.
Dr. Cuzner’s research focus includes DC, Medium Voltage DC and hybrid AC/DC power distribution architectures for Naval shipboard, community microgrids, smart homes and buildings and industrial parks; micro-grid protection and distribution using solid state protection, solid state transformer and fault mitigating power converters; EMI mitigation and packaging of Wide Band Gap power semiconductor based converter systems; and development of power electronic topologies and systems that are simultaneously power dense and grid compatible for Low Voltage and Medium Voltage applications.
Professor & Site Director, UA
Dr. McCann is a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Arkansas. His research interests are grid-connected battery energy storage systems, electric power systems and power electronics, and feedback control systems.