College of Engineering assistant professor Tao Yang earned the prestigious 2018 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from the Oak Ridge Associated Universities for his research into microgrids, the future of electrical distribution. UNT has had 11 Powe award recipients since 1991.
“Traditionally, electricity is provided through one central distribution network. This means a problem in one area will affect the entire grid, causing power outages and blackouts,” Yang says. “Now imagine if each user had a microgrid. People would be able to manage their own power distribution so if the main grid goes down they will still have power.”
While a microgrid does draw power from the central grid, it can break away and operate using its own generators and other power sources such as solar and wind.
Yang's research led to his designing a microgrid that has its own generator and draws power from renewable energy sources currently in use on campus.