Hometown: Peoria, Arizona, United States
Graduation date: Fall 2021
FURI | Spring 2021
Algorithms for Maximum Power Point Tracking through Load ManagementLoad Managing photovoltaic (PV) system is proven to be an efficient systematic approach to extract the maximum available PV power. The direct-coupled load-managing PV system controls and matches the number of loads with the connected PV array to extract the maximum amount of power throughout the day. The project focuses on developing a feedback-based control algorithm and analyzes its improvement for the load-matching PV system. The results prove the viability of maximum power point tracking through this methodology and presents ample opportunities for future improvements.
Mentor: Meng Tao
Featured project | Spring 2021
Kelvin Tan is an electrical engineering senior in the FURI program. He is developing an efficient algorithm for load management to accelerate the development of photovoltaics for the energy sector with his mentor, Professor Meng Tao.
What made you want to get involved in FURI?
My aspiration to get involved in this program was to explore and evaluate my future decisions as a graduate student. I have always wanted to make an impact in the sustainability movement and this was a great opportunity for me to see which sector I should dedicate myself to — either research or industry. The project and this program was the perfect opportunity for me to involve myself in research that quickly answered my uncertainty from before.
Why did you choose the project you’re working on?
Research on renewable systems, like solar, is a great way for me to be as impactful as possible for the clean energy movement; designing and improving the technology to increase the incentives will drive the integration of clean energy. The project I am working on directly relates to this.
What has been your most memorable experience as a student researcher in this program?
My most memorable experience as a student researcher would have to be when my professor requested that I publish a paper for the 48th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference. Professor Meng Tao put me in an open-ended project where I could choose how much and what direction I planned to take in the project. This really pushed me to learn about the system and to make the project my own. After a lot of dedication, I felt that my work is on par with my colleagues and I am doing impactful research.
Have there been any surprises in your research?
There have been many surprises in my research. For all of the variables I analyze, I will always have an educated guess on what the results are going to be. As the project escalated and I got to look more into sophisticated processes, these results began to be unpredictable at times. They were always welcoming surprises.
How will your engineering research project impact the world?
My research project will increase the opportunities in solar photovoltaic systems. The proposed system will be able to reduce the overall cost while increasing the efficiency of direct-coupled photovoltaics. Promoting renewables and energy storage is the gateway to a sustainable future. There are many roadblocks to clean technology; the goal of this project is to eliminate these obstacles and pave the way for a future society powered by clean energy.
What is the best advice you’ve gotten from your faculty mentor?
Take a step back and organize my efforts. I have a habit of rushing through all of my tasks as most academic projects have directions and end goals with just enough time in between the two. My faculty mentor made me truly analyze the basics and have a procedural approach to everything. In the end, this approach saved more time and will help improve the quality of my research findings.
Why should other students get involved in FURI?
There are so many opportunities in engineering today, and I feel as if most students will never be able to experience everything before they enter the industry. This program will help students better understand the different pathways out there and allow us to make decisions without regret. The experience and mentorship are things that cannot be taught in classes and so this is definitely an experience I’d advise students to take.
FURI has been very impactful for me as a senior, but I would have liked to have experienced it earlier in my degree. I appreciate the opportunity, as I have had trouble finding an activity I was passionate about until I joined the FURI program under Professor Tao.