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Moura Earns 2 SEI Grants

Institute of Transportation Studies affiliate and civil and environmental engineering assistant professor Scott Moura recently earned two Siebel Energy Institute grants for his projects that aim to improve the availability and efficiency of modern energy systems.

He is one of 12 UC Berkeley faculty members who won a portion of 24 grants totaling nearly $1 million, eligible to faculty from SEI’s eight research institutions: UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, Ecole Polytechnique, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Politecnico Di Torino, Princeton University and University of Tokyo.

A consortium for innovative and collaborative energy research, SEI funds cooperative and innovative research grants in data analytics to accelerate advancements in the safety, security, reliability, efficiency and environmental integrity of modern energy systems. This round of grants, worth $25,000 or $50,000, will fund preliminary research that could lay the foundation for larger grants later and catalysts for new technology.

"Leading universities are beginning to dedicate research teams to this area, but we have the opportunity to accelerate innovation," said S. Shankar Sastry, UC Berkeley College of Engineering Dean and director of the Institute. "The grants we announced today are a catalyst for research that could ultimately break new ground in energy systems analytics."

Moura serves as a lead researcher on a $50,000 and a $25,000 grant, respectively, for two separate projects: Understanding the Impact of Electric Vehicle Charging on the Power Grid: An Urban Mobility Perspective and Data-Driven Techniques for Assessing Current and Future Grid Reliability.

With Marta González, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Emre Can Kara, University of California, Berkeley, Moura will study interactions between EV charging, human mobility needs, the transportation network and power infrastructure.

Traditionally, power and transportation infrastructures operate independently of each other. However, the electrification of transportation introduces a strong tie between transportation and power infrastructures through electric vehicle (EV) charging. The main objective of this project is to understand how transportation electrification impacts the power distribution system at a sub-load aggregation point when transportation network constraints and human mobility needs are considered.

With Laurel N. Dunn, University of California, Berkeley, and Michael D. Sohn, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Moura will research data-driven techniques for assessing current and future grid reliability.

Specifically, the research identifies specific technology, environmental, and human factors that drive grid reliability, as most outages are caused by stresses on grid infrastructure and ecosystems resulting from extreme or atypical weather. Additionally, grid modernization measures—such as renewables integration, undergrounding power lines, and demand response—may also impact grid reliability. With this grant, the team proposes to forecast when, where, and why outages are likely to occur in future climate and grid modernization scenarios, propose new grid reliability metrics, and examine differences in reliability by customer type, location, and outage cause.

The institute was established by the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation and officially launched with the announcement of the grants in early August. Read more about other UC Berkeley grants.