(Sept. 18, 2019) -- Beginning in the Fall of 2019, faculty members at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) will conduct research to enhance green power generation and smart grid security. Through the strategic alliance between the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute (TSERI) at UTSA and CPS Energy, three new projects totaling approximately $750,000 will focus on improving grid security and resilience, solar energy generation and more efficient technology for power generation.
“We are thrilled to embark on these three new projects that aim to contribute to CPS Energy’s position as a key player in the new energy economy,” said Krystel Castillo, TSERI Director.
“We have been able to build knowledge and grow innovation through our partnership with UTSA over the past decade,” said Cris Eugster, CPS Energy’s Chief Operating Officer. “We expect these new projects to also bring new insights that will help us plan for the future of energy.”
The first project will develop a solar tracking system made of soft silicon rubber for building- integrated photovoltaic applications.
“This light-weight robotic system can be integrated into buildings’ facades, rooftops or windows to optimize solar energy collected by solar panels while regulating energy flow between indoor and outdoor environments. It will also provide privacy,” said Wei Gao, project lead and assistant professor in the UTSA Department of Mechanical Engineering. Gao will partner with Yongcan Cao, assistant professor in the UTSA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to complete the project.
The second project will produce a prototype of a clean energy technology for steam turbines, which currently generate over 80% of the nation’s energy. UTSA researchers set a goal to replace the water used in this cycle with supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2).
“A supercritical fluid behaves like both a gas and a liquid at the same time. The phases are indistinguishable and sCO2 happens to have some very convenient properties for power generation that lead to higher efficiency and smaller turbines compared to steam,” said Christopher Combs, the assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering who will lead this effort along with his co-investigators, Karan Bhanot (Finance), Sara Ahmed (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Kiran Bhaganagar (Mechanical Engineering).
The third project will design data-driven and artificial intelligence approaches to better identify and mitigate cyber threats occurring on edge-cloud applications. The UTSA researchers will, particularly, focus on Internet of Things (IoT) devices including smart meters to verify the correctness and identify any security vulnerabilities in existing IoT devices as they interact with the smart grid. This project will be led by Paul Rad and Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo, associate professors in the UTSA Department of Information Systems and Cyber Security in collaboration with Krystel Castillo.
CPS Energy has collaborated with TSERI for close to a decade on multiple efforts such as smart grid cybersecurity, solar forecasting, energy storage, smart buildings and clean energy technologies. These research projects have created learning and workforce development opportunities for UTSA students through summer internships that help them better transition into next-generation energy jobs and sustainability fields. CPS Energy employees will also serve as mentors to the professors and students who will be participating in these newly-announced projects.
TSERI was founded by UTSA in 2010 to leverage the university’s diverse knowledge in energy and related areas. The institute integrates scientific discovery, engineering innovation and policy deliberations with pragmatic implementation to realize the promise of tomorrow’s America as a global energy leader.
Celebrate UTSA’s 50th Anniversary and share social media posts about the 50th using the hashtag #UTSA50.
Emerging artists work in the full range of traditional methods and materials as well as in interdisciplinary and new media. Themes range from social and cultural critique to investigations that are challenging and exquisite explorations in creative form and image.UTSA Art Gallery, Arts Building, Main Campus
Juan Vallejo’s art conveys his experience as a childhood migrant worker. Opening reception: Thurs, Dec. 5, 6–9 p.m. Free and open to the public.UTSA Terminal 136, Blue Star Arts Complex, 136 Blue St., San Antonio
Portions of Cook Road will be closed for construction related to the new Student Success Center project and Americans with Disabilities Act sidewalk upgrades.Cook Road, Main Campus
Out of the violence comes a silence, then a song. Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music and peace. A remarkable true experience, told in the words and songs of the men who lived it. UTSA partners with The Public Theater for this event. Contact the theater at (210) 458-3288 for scheduling requests.Buena Vista Theater, Downtown Campus
Forty-six modular units will be delivered to Main Campus as part of the new Student Success Center project. The units will enter campus at Brennan Avenue and will travel to their final destination, south of the North Paseo Building and Graduate School and Research Building via Tobin Avenue, Bauerle Road and Devine Avenue.Brennan Avenue, Tobin Avenue, Bauerle Road, Devine Avenue, Main Campus
Enjoy two classic holiday performances. Children’s Ballet of San Antonio will present two of The Nutcracker. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church will perform a traditional Pastorela play, a morality tale about shepherds going to Bethlehem and the snares the devil uses to dissuade them. Performances are included with regular ITC admission.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. César E. Chavez Blvd., San Antonio
Celebrating graduating students from the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal and Fine Arts. Guest speaker: Susan Pape '86, chairman of the San Antonio Express-News.Alamodome, 100 Montana St., San Antonio
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