Electrical and Computer Engineering
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Systems Seminar - ECE

Systems Guest Speaker Seminar

Scott BackhausDesign of Resilient Electrical Distribution GridsDOE Office of Electricity and DHS Critical Infrastructure

Natural disaster such earthquakes, hurricanes, and other extreme weather pose serious risks to modern critical infrastructure including electrical distribution grids, as evidenced by recent events like Superstorm Sandy. To improve resilience to these events, recent U.S. government studies suggest that component and system-level hardening and resilience upgrades are needed, including adding redundant circuit segments, hardening transformers and other exposed components, adding switching and microgrid generation for flexibility. All of these upgrades are expensive. New methods are needed to design cost-efficient, high-performance combinations of upgrades. A network-centric resilience design approach is described and used to highlight several areas in need of fundamental research to improve the functionality of this and related resilience design tools.

Scott Backhaus received his Ph.D. in Physics in 1997 from the University of California at Berkeley in the area of macroscopic quantum behavior of superfluid 3He and 4He. He came to Los Alamos in 1998 as a Director's Funded Postdoc from 1998 to 2000, a Reines Postdoctoral Fellow from 2001 to 2003, and a Technical Staff Member from 2003 to the present. While at Los Alamos, Backhaus has performed both experimental and theoretical research in the area of thermoacoustic energy conversion including fundamental topics such as several thermoacoustic streaming instabilities, streaming assisted heat transfer, and acoustic power manipulation. He holds seven patents in the area of thermoacoustics, and his work has been recognized with several awards including an R&D 100 award in 1999, a Technology Review's "Top 100 Innovators Under 35" award in 2003, and a "Best Paper of the Year" award in 2011 from the journal Cyrogenics. He is currently the principal investigator for several LANL projects funded by the Office of Electricity in the U.S. Department of Energy, is LANL Program Manager for Office of Electricity and DHS Critical Infrastructure, and leads LANL's component of the DHS National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Group.

Sponsored by

ECE - Systems

Faculty Host

Ian Hiskens