UT Austin graduate student takes first prize in Pike Powers Research Fellowship Competition
UT Austin’s Krystian Perez, a Ph.D. student in chemical engineering, was awarded first place in the Pike Powers Research Fellowship Competition, sponsored by the Pecan Street Research Institute. The fellowship was awarded to a student or faculty member of the research consortium that developed the most impactful research using Pecan Street’s unique dataset to answer a question of critical importance to industry. The first place award came with a $10,000 cash prize.
Krystian’s work is supported by a fellowship from the National Science Foundation and is co-sponsored by Dr. Thomas Edgar and Dr. Michael Baldea, professors in UT’s Department of Chemical Engineering.
Krystian’s research, titled “Meters to models: Using smart meter data to predict and control home energy use,” centered on developing simplified, dynamic models of air-conditioning use in residential houses, which account for a large and variable load on the electric grid. Employing controls strategies developed for the chemical industry, Krystian used a centralized controller to adjust thermostat settings for a community of houses to spread energy use throughout the day.
Competitors for the Pike Powers award submitted a research proposal in December 2013. The Industry Advisory Council (IAC) reviewed proposals and 10 competitors were selected to complete and submit a draft of their research papers to the Pecan Street Institute prior to a March 2014 technical workshop. Draft findings of the finalists’ proposals were presented to IAC members for industry review (similar to peer review), and award winners were announced June 2014.