ISU receives $450,000 for crucial role in $3.6 million solar research project

Iowa State University’s Mehl Professor Manimaran Govindarasu from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) is playing a part in a research project awarding Arizona State University (ASU) $3.6 million. Researchers are planning to begin this project in the summer of 2019, lasting roughly three years.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Tech Office (SETO) awarded ASU the project to boost advancements to solar energy. The project revolves around solar energy’s resiliency and reliability of the nation’s electricity grid. Building enhanced grid models and technologies is the focus of this project, in order to increase the amount of operational renewable energy.

When focusing on the mechanics of the grid, Iowa State ECpE’s contribution to the project is critical. ISU received a $450,000 portion of the $3.6 million and is planning on developing a methodology and tool for attack surface analysis and intrusion detection system for an electric distribution grid. This methodology will be able to detect malicious measurements and control commands. All of these tools will be prototyped, tested and validated within ISU’s PowerCyber testbed before being deployed and tested in the field with project partners including ASU.

Not only is this work important for the furthering of solar energy, but it allows a crucial collaboration opportunity for ISU as well.

“This project provides an opportunity to expand our interdisciplinary collaboration with leading power engineering researchers in academia and industry, and we are really excited about it,” Govindarasu said.

Funded by the Advanced Systems Integration for Solar Technologies (ASSIST) program, this project is one of the first ten projects selected for the advancement of solar situational awareness.