EPRC Student Scoop: Jinqiang Liu

During his time at Iowa State University, Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate student Jinqiang Liu has collaborated with multiple individuals to help develop a solar crate.

The Electric Power Research Center (EPRC) at Iowa State has received a grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority to develop a solar power crate to be installed at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa.

“Imagine a green box, a shipping crate, that a truck brings to your neighborhood, a nearby gas station, your city hall, your grocery store, or maybe a cell tower after a disaster that led to loss of power and communications,” Kimber said

Liu is one of three graduate students in the student senior design team for this project. Other students involved in this project include electrical engineering undergraduate student intern Hoang Dang and recent doctoral graduate Nick David.

Liu said that he has been collaborating with many people to get the project on its feet.

“On the ISU side, I’ve been working with Dr. [Anne] Kimber, Dr. [Chao] Hu and Nicholas David, and Hoang Dang, an undergraduate student in our department. I’ve also been working with Dolf Ivener who primarily built the solar crate based on our design,” Liu said.

Kimber and Hu invited him to participate in the solar crate project in 2019.

“I felt that it would be a practical and interesting project, so I started to get involved with it,” Liu said.

In the project, Liu assisted in designing the electrical circuit and protection of the solar crate by building a simulation model of the crate for dynamic simulations and doing tests on the crate for evaluating its dynamic response by switching different working scenarios.

“The solar crate is more reliable than the distribution power system in extreme weather, as proved in the Ames electricity outage event this summer. Also, the solar crate is more environmentally friendly than traditional fuel-based generators,” Liu said.