How Aerospace Research Is Helping Energy and the Smart Grid

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How Aerospace Research Is Helping Energy and the Smart Grid

Jon Arnold gives an introduction to an ITEXPO session titled 'A Systems Approach to Energy / Grid Security', which you can see in the video below. As he points out and asks me for confirmation, this is the 11th year for ITEXPO. The session continued to fill-up until it was standing room only in the back of the room.

Ron Sega was the primary speaker. He is the Woodward Professor of Systems Engineering for Colorado State University (CSU). Additionally, he is Vice President for Energy, Environment and Applied Research for Colorado State Research Foundation (CSRF)

Ron explained that the modern Smart Grid is the intersection of these 3 disciplines:
  • Aeorospace
  • Cyber/information technology
  • Energy

Ron Sega is a former Space Shuttle astronaut and he gave an interesting talk about how the space shuttle is an 'energy island'. Then he explained how when his shuttle mission docked with the Russian Mir space station it became a plugin-hybrid. He went onto explain security and reliability in the smart grid. A lot of the research and development of the smart grid has been done in the U.S. military, the benefits of which are starting to spread into the private sector.

He explained that the U.S. power system is the most complex system ever built by man - a hodge-podge - ad-hoc system built back in the 1930s. Ron is currently working on doing systems engineering to merge aerospace smart grid engineering into the U.S. power system to modernize and transform the electrical distribution system resulting in improved efficiency and reliability. He also talked about the Rocky Mountain Secure Smart Grid "Test Bed" which traverses several Air Force bases and a large geographic footprint.

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