Research aims to keep critical services humming after disaster

Aug 06, 2020
Dr. Mohammad Reza Khalghani

Dr. Mohammad Reza Khalghani, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, received a Southeast Center for Electrical Engineering Development Fund Grant to design and simulate a new, resilient way to provide temporary power to critical services in an emergency.

When disaster strikes, critical facilities like hospitals, police stations, and military bases can’t afford to be without power for long.

Dr. Mohammad Reza Khalghani, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Florida Polytechnic University, is hoping to find  novel and practical ways to provide  emergency power to these important entities. The project has been funded by Southeast Center for Electrical Engineering Education (SCEEE) Development Fund Grant.

“We are witnessing more intense and frequent natural hazards like extreme severe weather, hurricanes in Florida, massive wildfires in California, and Texas tornadoes. These incidents can drastically damage our energy infrastructure.” Khalghani said. “Thus, the design of resilient scheme is significantly required to recover the power grid to energizing critical loads such as hospitals, data centers, and telecommunication stations.”

For the given budget of $55,000, which includes Florida Poly’s contribution, Khalghani will work on the design and simulation of mobile emergency resources – essentially a truck-mounted energy storage system. He believes the giant battery-like equipment could quickly respond and provide power in the event of a significant power outage.

“There are many concerns over how we can manage the energy and interface this energy storage to the grid and make sure there are no concerns in terms of cybersecurity,” he said.

He said the one-year project is working to create not only a unique design, but also a new way to simulate the system to accurately determine the amount of batteries needed and how to optimally interface the power device to the electrical grid.

“Then, we can reach out to energy utilities to overcome any challenges,” Khalghani said.

By partnering with utilities like Lakeland Electric and Duke Energy, Khalghani said the quality and volume of these important research endeavors can grow.

For his current project, Khalghani is looking for talented undergraduate and graduate students to help him advance the research.

“Many undergraduates do not know how important the energy sector is,” he said. “They get excited when they know the type of concerns we have, the requirements we need, and the great studies we can do here.”

The experience for these students can increase their chance of getting well-paid jobs at energy corporations, Khalghani said.

“This project will enhance students’ skills in terms of simulation and design,” he said. “With these stronger skills, they will hopefully be hired by well-known companies in the energy sector after graduation.”


Lydia Guzman
Director of Communications