Michael Baldea Receives NSF CAREER Award for Research on Energy-Intensive Processes

Michael BaldeaProfessional headshot of Michael Baldea wearing a navy blue suit and tie with a gray background, assistant professor of chemical engineering, is working to improve the efficiency and economic performance of chemical processes that interact with the power grid. His research was recently selected for a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award.

CAREER Awards are highly competitive and prestigious grants given to young faculty who effectively integrate research and teaching. Baldea was awarded $500,000 over five years to pursue his research and deliver educational outreach programs.

Baldea’s work  aims to provide a new demand response framework that optimizes production scheduling while accounting for the ability of the process control system to marshal the transition between different products and operating points. The goal is to better synchronize the operation of energy-intensive chemical processes with the state of the grid by increasing production at off-peak hours and lowering production rates at peak times when grid demand is high. Integrating the operation of production facilities with the operation of the grid is a multi-scale problem, and the proposed research introduces new model reduction and scale-bridging concepts to resolve the challenges posed by scale multiplicity.

The award will also support Baldea’s education and outreach efforts, which aim to introduce middle school students from low-income families to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, and assist their efforts to become first-generation college graduates. The CAREER award complements Baldea’s existing research support from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and corporate sponsors.

Baldea has received several research and service awards, including the Model-Based Innovation Prize from Process Systems Enterprise,  the ICES W. A. “Tex” Moncrief Grand Challenge Award, and the Best Referee Award from the Journal of Process Control.  He has co-authored one book, three book chapters and 60 peer-reviewed journal and conference articles. Prior to joining the department in 2011, he held industrial research positions with Praxair and GE Global Research.

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