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Prof. Amro M. Farid gives invited lecture at MIT Transportation Seminar Series

On December 5, 2014, Prof. Amro M. Farid gave an invited lecture at the MIT Transportation Seminar Series (Cambridge, MA, USA).   The presentation entitled:  “Intelligent Transportation-Energy Systems for Future Large Scale Deployment of Electrified Transportation” featured the LIINES’ latest research in transportation electrification.

The presentation advocates an integrated approach to transportation and energy management.  At its core, the intelligent transportation energy system (ITES) requires a new transportation electrification assessment methodology that draws upon microscopic traffic simulation, power grid dynamics, and Big Data-Driven use case modeling. Such an ITES would come to include coupled operations management decisions including: vehicle dispatching, vehicle routing, charging queue management, coordinated charging, and vehicle-to-grid ancillary services.  The presentation also featured the results from the first full scale electric vehicle integration study which was recently conducted for a taxi-fleet use case in Abu Dhabi.   The study suggests a close collaboration between the Abu Dhabi Department of Transportation and the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority in future large scale deployments of electrified transportation.

The presentation draws heavily from several LIINES publications including the UAE State of Energy Report, the UAE State of the Green Economy Report, the first hybrid dynamic model for transportation electrification.  The results of this first full-scale study were first presented publicly at the 2nd IEEE International Conference on Connected Vehicles & Expo held December 2-6, 2013 in Las Vegas, NV, USA, and the Gulf Traffic Conference held December 9-10 2013 in Dubai, UAE.  These presentations demonstrated a successful collaborative project between Masdar Institute, the Abu Dhabi Department of Transportation, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

In depth materials on LIINES research on transportation electrification can be found on the LIINES publication page:  http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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Hybrid Dynamic Model for Transportation Electrification Published at the 2014 American Control Conference

Having studied the Abu Dhabi transportation systems for several years, it became clear to us that the true success of electrified transportation was its successful integration with the infrastructure systems that support them.  Left unmanaged electric vehicles may suffer from delays due to charging or cause destabilizing charging loads on the electrical grid. While many works have sought to mitigate these effects with advanced functionality such as coordinated charging, vehicle-to-grid stabilization, and charging queue management, few works have assessed these impacts as a holistic transportation-electricity nexus. To this effect, the 2014 American Control Conference (ACC) has recently published our paper on a hybrid dynamic model for transportation electrification.   Unlike traditional microscopic traffic simulators, this model considers stationary charging and online charging (while moving) as an integral part of the model rather than add-on functionality.  Thus is lends itself to usage by EV fleet operators to not just assess but also improve their operations & control.  It may also be used to coordinate the planning and operation transportation and electrical power infrastructure.

In depth materials on LIINES research on transportation electrification can be found on the LIINES publication page:  http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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Dr. Amro M. Farid contributes to Published 2015 UAE State of Energy Report

Following on the heals of the 2015 UAE State of the Green Economy Report,  we, at the LIINES, are happy to announce the release of the 2015 UAE State of Energy Report.  It is the premier benchmark publication for the nation’s energy sector.  This annual report is published by the UAE Ministry of Energy, and is created in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Dubai Carbon. The work opens with states from his highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan President of the United Arab Emirates, his highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, his excellency Ban Ki-Moon Secretary-General of the United Nations, his excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, his excellency Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad Minister of Environment and Water, his excellency Saeed Mohammed al Tayer Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, his excellency Dr. Matar Hamed Al Neyadi Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Energy. Also in the report, Dr. Amro M. Farid has authored  “Key Technical Challenges to Electric Vehicle Adoption in the UAE”.  It summarizes many of the conclusions from our transportation electrification research and mentioned in our previous post. The report also includes the work of LIINES alumna Reshma Francy.  She has co-authored two articles. “What are GHG Emission Estimation Methodologies?”  and “Energy Planning, Analysis and Policy Making around GHG Emissions”. For further information on how the LIINES continues to produce energy research relevant to the UAE landscape can be found on the LIINES publication page:   http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu WhiteLogo2 LIINES Website: http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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Dr. Amro M. Farid Contributes to Published 2015 UAE State of the Green Economy Report

We, at the the LIINES, are happy to announce that the 2015 UAE State of the Green Economy Report has not only been published but has also gone viral!  #stateofgreeneconomy.

The Dubai Carbon Center of Excellence coordinated the publication of the UN-backed document which describes opportunities and challenges for the green economy in the global market; focusing on the leadership of the United Arab Emirates.

The work features the commitments and support of his highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, his highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, his excellency Ban Ki-Moon Secretary-General of the United Nations, His Excellency Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs in the Federal Government, his excellency Dr. Rashid bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, his excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai Water & Electricity Authority, and her excellency Helen Clark Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme.

Also in the report, Dr. Amro M. Farid has authored “Electric Vehicles:  Energising the Adoption of Electrified Transportation in a Smart City”.  It summarizes many of the conclusions from our transportation electrification research.  The include five key considerations to energy the adoption of electrified transportation in the Dubai Smart City:

  1. Getting the electric transportation use case right
  2. Getting the charging infrastructure right
  3. Strengthening the existing power infrastructure
  4. Coordinating the planning of transportation and energy infrastructure
  5. Coordinating the operation of transportation and power infrastructure

In depth materis on LIINES research on transportation electrification can be found on the LIINES publication page:  http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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Turkish Electric Car w/ 500km Driving Range Hits Roads

At the LIINES, we have been conducting research on Transportation Electrification for quite some time.

At heart of the research is the electric vehicle, and its challenge is that it is both a transportation artifact that exists on our everyday roads as well as an electrical artifact that must connect to the power grid.   In the first full-scale case study of its kind, we have shown in Abu Dhabi that managing this dual nature means ensuring vehicle availability through charging while not imposing overly heavy demands on the grid.

One main challenge of electric vehicles is their driving range.  Many commercially available EVs only have a range of 150km — thus requiring charging once or twice a day.   With charging times of several hours, this means that a typical driver has to think very carefully how and when this EV will be practically used.

In contrast, a recent Turkish Electric Car developed at Istanbul University has demonstrated a 500km driving range in a tour from Istanbul to Ankara.  The “T-1” as the vehicle is called weighs a mere 500 kilograms and has a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour.  And while the vehicle looks sporty sleek, it has not neglected practicality with four seats and enough room for luggage.

With the T-1, the development team builds upon earlier successes including their 8th place finish in the 2009 global electric car competition held in Australia.

 

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LIINES Research Opportunities

As the Fall 2014 academic semester begins, graduate students begin to shop for classes and thesis research topics.  To help guide junior researchers to the research opportunities at the LIINES, we have posted a new research opportunities page.

Good luck to all as we kick off the Fall Semester.

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Congratulations & Welcome to Masdar Institute’s ESM 2014 Incoming Class

As the Fall 2014 academic semester begins, graduate students begin to shop for classes and thesis research topics.

Today, the Engineering Systems and Management Faculty met to present their research topics to the incoming class. If you missed it, get in touch with the ESM Department Head: Prof. Mohammad Omar.

We also presented the LIINES research overview and you can find the powerpoint slides powerpoint slides here. It includes four research themes:

More information on each of these can be found on the LIINES research page.  Additionally, we have written several blog posts on each of these topics.

Good luck to all as we kick off the Fall Semester.

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Engineering systems as the continued evolution of engineering to real world problems

In a recent blog post entitled:  “Systems Engineering is just plain old Engineering — not more and certainly not less“, the author questions and discusses systems engineering, engineering systems as part of engineering.

Deeper insight is gained by looking at the definition of engineering itself.  One good definition of engineering is:  “Engineering is the professional art of applying science to the optimum conversion of the resources of nature to benefit man.”  In the same book, we find: “Engineering is an art requiring the judgement necessary to adapt knowledge to practical purposes, the imagination to conceive original solutions to problems, and the ability to predict performance and cost of new devices or processes.”  (D. W. Oliver, T. P. Kelliher, and J. G. Keegan, Engineering complex systems with models and objects. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997, pp. 25.)

The real question is whether engineering — as it stands today — does indeed meet these definitions.  Any discipline when analyzed traditionally is two things:  a core of methodological activities and a set of typical applications.   So the question becomes whether these methodological activities are sufficient for the applications; the practical problems that when solved would benefit man.

One challenge of modern engineering is its division into multiple disciplines.  Mechanical, electrical, civil and chemical are but a common few.  Each of these comes with their own core of methodologies and typical applications.   Therefore, it becomes increasingly difficult even within engineering itself to apply methodologies from one engineering discipline into another.  It is equally difficult to apply core methodologies in atypical applications.

Coming back to the definition of engineering, some practical problems are simply so big that they require methodological activities from multiple engineering disciplines and in of themselves are the union of multiple typical domains of application.  Here, it is important to recognize the common adage:  “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts“.

And so traditional systems engineering was born shortly after World War II.  Defense applications like jet fighters and satellites clearly draw from mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering.   Astronautical and Aeronautical engineering departments naturally recognize the need for cross-disciplinary activity and have often included the Systems Engineering Handbook within their curricula. Similar trends emerged in nuclear power plants and even highly automated production facilities.

The four research themes at the Laboratory for Intelligent Integrated Networks of Engineering Systems are further examples of this continuing trend.  The energy-water nexus draws heavily from electric power engineering and water resources management.  The electrification of transportation draws heavily from transportation engineering, electric power engineering, and the mechanical engineering of cars and trains.  Smart (power) grids — as cyber-physical systems — recognize that electric power engineering must expand to include new developments from control systems, optimization, signal processing, communications and information technology.  Similarly, reconfigurable manufacturing systems are cyber-physical and integrate similar subjects.

While integrating knowledge from multiple engineering disciplines is helpful, it is insufficient to meet the original definition of engineering as above.  What if the engineering application requires natural resources that are deemed too large by society?  Till today, people ask this of the Big Dig project in Boston.  Another question.  Does the engineering application truly benefit mankind?  We ask this today in the context of nuclear disarmament.  These questions draw heavily from economics, management, political science and ethics.  And they are relatively subjective as compared to the typical methodological activities found in the engineering disciplines.  And yet, it is naive to think that their solution does not require engaged participation of engineers and their disciplines.

These types of questions dominate 21st century problems as compared to those of the 20th century.  In the 20th century, traditional engineering disciplines began from a set of requirements and ended with some product or service as a solution.  These requirements represented the economics, regulations, policies and ethics as an operating box for engineers.   This role, however, is changing.  In the 21st century, engineers no longer take these “requirements” as given but instead have an expanding role of influence. Chief technology officers have increasingly important roles in the innovative success of modern companies.  Government regulators often seek engineers within their ranks.  And many nations are finding engineers within their legislative and executive branches of government.  We’ve moved from a decomposed top-down world to one that is innovative and bottom-up.

It is from this lens that the field of engineering systems finds itself.  It’s still the same engineering definition but the nature of the problem has changed.  This is a good sign.  Engineers are increasingly bringing pervasive solutions to benefit mankind.  As they do, they will increasingly interface with the disciplines devoted to people and society:  the humanities and social sciences.  As that happens, adhering to the definition of engineering will require engineers to converse with these disciplines.  Common definitions and methods are likely to develop as all of these disciplines collectively work to solve mankind’s techno-economic-social problems.

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Abu Dhabi Department of Transportation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries & Masdar Institute Joint Workshop

Following on the heals of their back-to-back conferences, Reem Al Junaibi and Prof. Amro M. Farid presented the results of their Abu Dhabi Electric Vehicle Technical Feasibility study in a joint workshop including participants from the Abu Dhabi Department of Transportation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.  They were joined by Mohammad Al-Hadrami and Prof. Sgouris Sgouridis who also investigated the socio-economic barriers to electric vehicle adoption.  The workshop was held on the Masdar Institute campus on December 17th 2013 and marked the official end to what has been a tremendously successful project demonstrating collaboration between public, private, and academic entities.

After the day-long workshop, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries hosted Masdar Institute and the Abu Dhabi Department of Transportation in a two-day workshop in Malaga, Spain on December 19-20 2013.  Malaga, Spain proudly marks itself as one of Europe’s leading smart cities. The Zem2All project, with the largest deployment of Electric Vehicles, is a testament to this achievement.

Prof. Farid continues to advocate Intelligent Transportation-Energy Systems.  In other words, the intelligent system consisting of monitoring, decision-making and dispatching functionality should have a transportation as well as energy management function.  Efforts are currently underway at the LIINES to develop models and control solutions which may be directly integrated into Intelligent Transportation-Energy Systems.  A full reference list of energy-transportation nexus research at the LIINES can be found on the LIINES publication page: http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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Reem Al Junaibi & Prof. Amro M. Farid present results of Abu Dhabi Electric Vehicle Technical Feasibility Study

In back-to-back conferences, Reem Al Junaibi and Prof. Amro M. Farid presented the results of their Abu Dhabi Electric Vehicle Technical Feasibility study.  Ms. Al Junaibi attended the 2nd IEEE International Conference on Connected Vehicles & Expo held December 2-6, 2013 in Las Vegas, NV, USA.  There, she presented the first published results of the study in the paper entitled:  “Technical Feasibility Assessment of Electric Vehicles : An Abu Dhabi Example”.  Meanwhile, Prof. Farid was invited to speak at the Gulf Traffic Conference held December 9-10 2013 in Dubai, UAE.

Both presentations revolved around the same theme.  The true success and feasibility of electric vehicles depends not just on the vehicle itself but also how it interacts with three large scale infrastructure systems:  the road transportation system, the power grid, and the intelligent transportation system.

Ms. Al Junaibi specifically presented some of the results of the study.  It considered twelve potential scenarios in which EV taxis were rolled out at a penetration of 3, 5 and 10% of road traffic with four possible charging system designs.  The results showed that if EV Taxi are to be deployed then their dispatching, queue management, charging and vehicle-2-grid stabilization activities must be simultaneously considered.  The ramifications of not doing so would be either degraded vehicle availability or high variable loads on the electric power grid or both.

Prof. Farid consequently argued that given the rapid push to transportation electrification and connected vehicles, intelligent transportation systems would better be considered as Intelligent Transportation-Energy Systems.  In other words, the intelligent system consisting of monitoring, decision-making and dispatching functionality should have a transportation as well as energy management function.

Efforts are currently underway at the LIINES are currently underway to develop models and control solutions which may be directly integrated into Intelligent Transportation-Energy Systems.  A full reference list of energy-transportation nexus research at LIINES can be found on the LIINES publication page: http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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