ECE graduate student selected to investigate the future of offshore wind in New Jersey

Written by
Colton Poore, for the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
Oct. 25, 2023

The Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment has selected four graduate students, including Mian Liao from ECE, to participate in the 2023-2024 New Jersey Wind Institute Fellowship.

The fellows will conduct independent research projects in collaboration with a Princeton faculty adviser during the 2023-2024 academic year, as well as the following summer. As a part of the program, they will meet regularly with other fellows from universities and colleges across New Jersey to discuss offshore wind research challenges, explore regulatory processes applicable to offshore wind, meet with wind industry experts, and visit operating offshore wind facilities. They will also present their findings at an Offshore Wind Energy Symposium, which will take place at the end of the spring 2024 semester.

One of the critical design challenges for offshore wind farms is the often-uneven flow of wind through each wind turbine, which can introduce stability issues related to power generation, especially for large-scale wind farms. Liao, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, will work alongside his adviser Minjie Chen, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, to develop a new grid forming power inverter architecture and a comprehensive machine learning-based impedance analysis method to enhance the stability of offshore wind power generation. Liao will design a device to inject small disturbances in the electricity signal coming from the offshore wind farm in order to collect measurements of the system’s resistance to electrical flow. He will then train a machine-learning model with the impedance measurement data to characterize impedance patterns across a wide range of operating conditions. The analysis will help grid operators to understand the system’s ability to absorb and dissipate energy, allowing them to make informed decisions and implement control approaches to enhance the reliability of the power grid.

Now in its second year, the Wind Institute Fellowship Program, established by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), supports students at select New Jersey institutions of higher learning with the goal of advancing knowledge and expertise around the offshore wind industry in New Jersey and the surrounding region. Princeton University joined the Wind Institute Fellowship Program in 2023.

This article was adapted from an Andlinger Center news release.