Gannon University: Gannon awarded $240,000 Met-Ed/Penelec Sustainability Energy Fund grant

Gannon University was awarded a $240,000 grant from the Metropolitan Edison Company and Penelec Sustainability Energy Fund to enhance power grid resiliency in rural Pennsylvanian communities. Gannon was the only institution in the 2021-22 review round to be awarded this grant, which supports applied research and developmental efforts across the state annually.

The grant will support Gannon’s three-year proposed project entitled, “Adaptive Virtual Fault Current Limiters for Rural and Power Electric-Based Microgrid.” The project addresses the critical need for secure and reliable sources of energy for microgrids in rural communities using advanced and more cost-effective technologies.

According to The Center of Rural Pennsylvania, nearly 26% of Pennsylvania’s population live in rural communities.

The outcomes of this project will demonstrate the key role that seamless operation and control of microgrids play in the increased adoption of renewable energy sources and energy storage in Pennsylvania’s rural energy network. It will also address challenges and benefits of renewable, on-site power sourcing and energy storage systems within households.

The project will be directed by Gannon’s Ahmed AbuHussein, Ph.D., assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Fong Mak, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering. A team of students from Gannon University will assist them to carry out the modeling, simulation and testing throughout the project.

“Today it is estimated that 1.2 billion people live without reliable access to electricity,” said AbuHussein of the significant of this project. “This generous grant is an excellent opportunity for Gannon University to expand its research to advance the energy sector nationally and globally.”

“I am excited about bringing the results of an applied research ideal to a commercialized product,” Mak said.

Karinna Vernaza, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering and Business, said this is the first Met-Ed/Penelec award received by Gannon University.

“The award will provide us with the opportunity to develop and implement a solution that can significantly impact the rural energy network and continue to engage our students in research and development,” she said.

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