Graduate Student Wesley Cole Wins CAST Student Presentation Award

Graduate student Wesley Cole won the recently announced Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) Student Presentation Award for his presentation in the Modeling and Control of Energy Systems II Session at the 2013 Wesley Cole, winner of CAST Award, is standing in a chemical engineering lab, wearing a dark blue pin striped shirt.AIChE Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Wesley’s presentation, “Community-Scale Residential Air Conditioning Control for Effective Grid Management”, showcased research he has been conducting with Professor Thomas F. Edgar. The paper presents an innovative method in which a model predictive controller is used to control residential home air conditioning units in a simulated community in order to mitigate peak demand issues.

Wesley and his research team developed a model of a nine hundred home community using local smart grid data from the Pecan Street Research Institute. They were able manage the air conditioning loads across the community in order to reduce the electricity demand in the afternoon and relieve the strain on the grid.

“One of the things that I really enjoyed about the CAST competition is that it gave me the opportunity to present my work to a broader audience,” said Wesley Cole. “The competition brought in other engineers besides those doing work related to energy systems.”

The annual CAST award recognizes the best presentation given by a graduate student doing research in one of the division’s areas: process control, process design, applied mathematics or process operations.  Cole was one of the five competition finalists and the recipient of a CAST travel grant, which supported him to attend and present his work at the 2013 AIChE Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

This is the second year in a row in which a graduate student from the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering was chosen as the recipient for the CAST award. In 2012, Cara Touretzky, a researcher working with Professor Michael Baldea, won the award for her presentation on a model reduction and energy management framework for buildings.

“Wesley Cole has demonstrated outstanding research ability and has set himself apart as an authoritative source of information and collaboration among his peers,” said Thomas Edgar. “His recent discoveries will prove to be increasingly important to the future of energy storage in our country.”


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