The University of Texas at Dallas

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science


Students Named Semi-Finalists in Global Competition

Students Named Semi-Finalists in Global Competition

Two Jonsson School students were recently chosen as one of seven North American Region semi-finalists in a worldwide competition sponsored by Schneider Electric.

The 7th annual “Go Green in the City” global case challenge offers the chance to revolutionize energy management and gain unique insights into one of the world’s leading energy management companies.

Mallory Bing, a graduate student in the systems engineering and management program, and Moinak Pyne, an electrical engineering PhD student, entered their ideas to the energy storage and efficiency category. Their proposal, titled “Improved Battery Management Systems,” aims to protect batteries from damage, extend battery life and maintain batteries in specified states. “We submitted two solutions. The first was how we would improve the efficiency of Lead acid based energy storage systems. The second examined how to reuse or recycle Li-ion batteries in an environmentally friendly way,” Pyne said. “We believe there are also possible commercial applications for our idea.”

Their solution to solving the efficiency problem came in two-stages. First, the pair suggested that capacity fade estimation, which is a vital aspect in energy storage systems, could be improved by the use of adaptive and next-gen machine learning techniques with operational data from the batteries. Second, the pair suggested a hybrid system of batteries and super-capacitors in order to reduce the stress levels on the batteries when high current spikes are required.

Both these solutions combined leads to improved efficiency of the energy storage system.

For the Li-ion re-cycle issue, the pair suggested that Li-Ion battery packs that no longer have the required energy density to be used in a vehicle can easily be used for stationary applications such as microgrids, as space and weight are not as big of a constraint.

Pyne is a member of the Energy Storage and Systems Lab, which is led by Dr. Stephen Yurkovich, who holds the Lewis Beecherl, Jr. Distinguished Chair in Engineering at the University and is head of the Department of Systems Engineering.

The Energy Storage Systems Lab is home to faculty and students, both graduate and undergraduate, working on problems related to energy storage for vehicle applications, as well as stationary applications for larger, complex systems.

“The doctoral research of Moinak, using machine learning and systems theory, has thus far provided very promising results in the area of battery pack capacity fade estimation. With the addition of Mallory to the team, as a systems engineer she brings an additional valuable perspective. Our hope is that the team can continue to move forward in the competition and make an impact in the research community as well as in areas of interest for our industrial partners in commercial applications,” Yurkovich said. The twelve finalist teams selected for the global challenge will travel to Paris where they will compete for a job offer from Schneider Electric and an opportunity to visit Schneider Electric offices worldwide.

Moinak Pyne (pictured far right) is a research assistant in the Energy Storage Systems Laboratory. He is shown here with other members of the lab and Dr. Stephen Yurkovich (center).