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Prof. Leon M. Tolbert.jpg
Reconfigurable Power Electronics Based Electric Grid Emulator
Prof. Leon M. Tolbert
University of Tennessee, USA
IEEE Fellow

Abstract: This presentation will describe a power electronics based hardware testbed that can emulate an electric grid’s generation, loads, storage, and transmission network and perform several real-time scenarios while incorporating real measurement, control, communication, estimation, and actuation in the system. The system can be used to represent faults, future grids with high levels of renewable penetration, and a multi-terminal HVDC overlay. The testbed has been used to represent a future North American grid model that has high penetration levels of renewables (>80%) and also for representing a distribution-level microgrid that has a flexible boundary and multiple points of grid connection. The tool has been useful in developing control, protection, and measurements needed for the future electric grid. Also, a brief introduction will be provided about the NSF/DOE Engineering Research Center headquartered at The University of Tennessee called CURENT (Center for Ultrawide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Network). The goals of CURENT are to develop controls and technology that enable the integration of a high penetration level of renewables into the electric transmission network and to enable wide area monitoring, control, and actuation of the U.S. electric grid.

Biography: Leon M. Tolbert received the Bachelor’s, M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech. He worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN, from 1991 until 1999 on electric distribution and power quality projects. He joined the University of Tennessee in 1999, and he is currently the Min H. Kao Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He is a founding member for the National Science Foundation/Department of Energy Engineering Research Center, CURENT (Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks). He is also a part-time Senior Research Engineer with the Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Research Center, ORNL.

Dr. Tolbert is a Fellow of the IEEE and a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Tennessee. He was the recipient of the 2001 IEEE Industry Applications Society Outstanding Young Member Award, and six prize paper awards from the IEEE Industry Applications Society and IEEE Power Electronics Society. He was an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics from 2007 to 2013. He was the Paper Review Chair for the Industry Power Converter Committee of the IEEE Industry Applications Society from 2014 to 2017.  He conducts research in utility applications of power electronics including microgrids, interface with renewable energy sources, and medium voltage multilevel converters incorporating silicon carbide power devices.