Assistant Professor Mingxi Liu
Assistant Professor Mostafa Sahraei-Ardakani

Electrical and computer engineering Ph.D. candidate and graduate research assistant in the Ardakani Research Lab, Fatemehalsadat Jafarishiadeh, was awarded Best Paper at the 52nd North American Power Symposium. With ECE professors Mostafa Ardakani and Mingxi Liu, Jafarishiadeh co-authored the winning paper entitled “Preventive Unit Commitment for Transmission Line De-icing in Changing Weather Conditions.”

“This award is a great honor,” Jafarishiadeh said. “When you are conducting research, you experience doubts and wonder if it will work or be helpful, so for our work to be recognized is a great encouragement to continue.” 

Jafarishiadeh’s research focuses on increasing power transmission system’s resiliency to ice storms. Severe weather conditions can cause ice to form on power lines increasing their weight and likelihood of significant damage. A half-inch accumulation alone can add 500 pounds of extra weight to the line. Jafarishiadeh’s work introduces software that would maintain sufficient power flow through the line during a storm, ensuring that enough heat is generated to stop ice formation.

“Ice storms that have happened in the past have been defining moments in the history of these countries. The power loss has led to a lot of deaths and the cost of repairs also has a huge economic impact,” Jafarishiadeh said.  

Storms of this kind occur in countries around the world and have the potential to be catastrophic. In 2008, an ice storm struck China, immobilizing millions of people for several weeks without power. It ultimately caused billions of dollars in damage and killed 129 individuals.

While completing her research, Jafarishiadeh collaborated with multiple departments to create the best version of her software. She spent a semester as a research assistant in the department of atmospheric sciences and worked with civil engineering students to develop her work. 

“I think the future of engineering research is interdisciplinary,” Ardakani said. “I hope that in the future we can create a center where people from all different fields who are interested in the intersection of weather can make contributions to this research.”

Ardakani and Liu have successfully proposed to host the NAPS conference at the University of Utah in 2022. NAPS provides a forum for students, faculty, and industry representatives to discuss research ideas for next-generation power grids and highlights the work of graduate student’s research outcomes.