College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Hugo Villegas Pico receives NSF CAREER award to cement research of long-term electromagnetic-transient simulations

Portrait of Hugo Villegas-Pico.

Department of electrical and computer engineering Harpole-Pentair Assistant Professor Hugo Villegas Pico has been selected for a 2023 National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award for his project “Advances to the EMT Modeling and Simulation of Restoration Processes for Future Grids.”  

CAREER awards are the NSF’s most prestigious awards given to early-career faculty. The support aims to build a firm foundation for leadership in integrating research and education. Villegas Pico will receive over $500,000 to develop and execute his project over the next five years.

This project aims to cement the foundations of a new research branch, namely, long-term electromagnetic-transient (EMT) simulations. This project will bring transformative advances to accelerate long-term EMT simulations by engineering unique dynamic models and numerical approaches for converter-based electric grids. These advances are instrumental in addressing modern reliability requirements for EMT simulation tools.

This project will engineer EMT models of transmission lines and renewable resources as well as a unique numerical integration approach and its implementation using parallel computing, which can be compatible with existing EMT models and solution techniques. These advances are critical to expediting the EMT simulation of restoration processes of converter-based power systems to ascertain their reliability and resilience to blackouts caused by thunderstorms, for example. 

As with all CAREER awards, Villegas Pico has developed an educational component too, with plans to leverage virtual-reality technology and 3D animation for personal real-time interactions with EMT animations.