Faculty Members | Emera & NB Power Research Centre for Smart Grid Technologies | UNB

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Smart Grid

Affiliated faculty members and research associates

The University of New Brunswick is playing a key role in advancing the transformation of conventional power grids around the world. Researchers affiliated with the Emera & NB Power Research Centre for Smart Grid Technologies are leading that charge.

Because the technology of the smart grid intersects with the fields of big data, cybersecurity, economics, public policy and business, our members work collaboratively to build a true research supercluster in smart-grid tech and renewable energy and distribution.

Our people

Liuchen Chang

Dr. Liuchen Chang is a professor in the UNB Faculty of Engineering. He is leader of many multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, multi-granting agency research projects: e.g., served as NSERC Chair of Environmental Design Engineering for Atlantic Canada Region (2001–2007), and as Scientific Director and Principal Investigator for Canada’s Wind Energy Strategic Network (WESNet: 2008–2014), a 16-university consortium that he initiated. He has played a leadership role in several international technical communities, most recently serving as general chair of 2016 IEEE 8th International Power Electronics and Motion Control Conference–ECCE Asia in Hefei (IPEMC 2016-ECCE Asia), as general chair of 2015 IEEE 7th Energy Conversion Congress & Exposition in Montreal (ECCE 2015), and as an executive of the Standards Committee and Sustainable Energy Systems Technical Committee of the IEEE Power Electronics Society. He is also one of four theme leaders for the NSERC Energy Storage Technology (NEST) Network, a collaboration among 15 universities and 26 industry/utility/government partners. 

Chris Diduch

Dr. Chris Diduch is dean of the Faculty of Engineering at UNB, with expertise in the fields of control systems and renewable energy systems. He pioneered the development of direct load control technologies in collaboration with utility companies, and played a key role in PowerShift Atlantic, notably in the demonstration and deployment of direct load control technologies associated with large-scale wind integration. This work led to important contributions in the adoption and deployment by a utility of one of the first large-scale control systems to not only manage load but also shape the load profile while simultaneously ensuring performance of end-use devices. His present research concerns the application of advanced estimation, detection, and control theory in electric power systems as it relates to renewable energy systems and aggregated load control.

Mary Kaye

Prof. Mary Kaye has been a faculty member in the UNB Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering since 1982. As co-project manager (load control) of the PowerShift Atlantic Project Prof. Kaye worked with other project managers and the project management team to review the proposed system architecture of a Virtual Power Plant and multiple aggregators, and to ensure that the project objectives were met in a timely fashion and within budget. As a researcher she was directly involved with supervising the research and development of the wind forecasting methods and in the research and development of load control algorithms for electrical thermal storage units (ETS) and aggregated domestic electric water heaters (DEWH) to facilitate the provision of ancillary services. As part of the load control research two demonstration projects were designed and implemented for residential DEWH customers which enabled the testing of the algorithms with industrial partners (SJE, MECL) and the NBSO system operator. Prof. Kaye is continuing the research on developing models and control strategies of aggregated loads for peak load reduction and ancillary services and on investigating the impact of direct load control on power distribution networks through partnerships with ACOA, NPEPC, Siemens and Emera in the design of power converters for distributed generation.

Eduardo Castillo-Guerra

Dr. Eduardo Castillo-Guerra has developed wind forecasting techniques that enable system operators to minimize power generation costs. This research has resulted in an automated forecasting mechanism that delivers forecasts to power utilities across the Maritimes, and a number of valuable research tools and algorithms for wind data analysis and forecast assessment. He has worked in a range of other research areas such as signal processing, instrumentation, pattern recognition, and data mining. As well, he has made contributions to wireless sensor network applications to microgrids and the monitoring of power generation assets. Dr. Castillo-Guerra formerly held a senior research position with Diaphonics Inc., developing commercial voice-driven authentication technologies. He also has made contributions to dilatometry by developing a commercial-grade, dual-channel, high-precision interferometer system. This latter work led to the development and transfer to an industry partner of a full dilatometer system and a number of algorithms for fringe detection, counting, and tracking based on image processing and pattern recognition.

Julian Meng

Dr. Julian Meng is chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UNB. Before joining UNB he held R&D positions with Canadian labs and companies such as Alcatel Canada; Defence Research and Development Canada in Ottawa; Communications Research Centre; and MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates. His work in industry has had a significant impact on both the theory and the implementation of effective narrowband interference suppression filters for high-frequency systems. Dr. Meng has extensive signal processing and communications expertise that can be applied to many facets of engineering dealing with signals. Over the past six years, his research efforts have focused on signal processing areas such as noise suppression in communication systems, artificial neural networks applied to wind power prediction, distributed communication systems, and image processing of hyperspectral imagery. His current research interests include communication and signal processing applications for smart grid deployment and wireless sensor technologies. Dr. Meng was Principal Investigator for PSA. He has published approximately 60 journal and conference papers in the areas of signal and image processing, wind forecasting, fault detection in microgrids, and communications.

Saleh Saleh

Dr. Saleh Saleh is an associate professor in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UNB. Dr. Saleh’s expertise lies in the fields of power systems, power electronics, electric machines, microgrids, renewable energy systems, and application of signal processing in power systems. He came to UNB in 2011 after working as a researcher and instructor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, NL (2001–2011). Dr. Saleh has won several awards, including the Harrison McCain Young Scholar Award (2015) and the Dr. Balasubramanian Excellence in Teaching Award (2014 and 2015). His research work has resulted in several patents to date, including a technology to detect, isolate, and prevent faults in power transformers; and a wavelet modulation technique for three-phase voltage source inverters. He also was involved in the PSA project, specifically in the application of phaselet analysis in power systems. Dr. Saleh currently leads one of the projects associated with the NSERC Energy Storage Technology project.

Ali Ghorbani

Dr. Ali Ghorbani is a professor in the UNB Faculty of Computer Science and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Cybersecurity and Director of Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity. He is the former dean of the UNB Faculty of Computer Science. Under Dr. Ghorbani’s leadership, the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity (CIC) is home to a number of large industry-sponsored and/or government-funded interdisciplinary R&D projects within the area of cybersecurity. Dr. Ghorbani is also the director of the Laboratory for Intelligence and Adaptive Systems Research and an IBM Canada Faculty Fellow. His current research focus is Network & Information Security, Complex Adaptive Systems, Critical Infrastructure Protection, and Web Intelligence.

Monica Wachowicz

Dr. Monica Wachowicz is currently the NSERC/Cisco Industrial Research Chair in Real-Time Mobility Analytics aiming to engage a multidisciplinary team at UNB. Her team is capturing value from big data, deploying the Internet of Mobile Things in Smart Cities, and paving the way to develop an "analytics everywhere" ecosystem for improving quality of life, reducing carbon footprints, and addressing  socio-economical innovation . She has an extensive experience in operating in multidisciplinary teams from government, industry and research organizations that has been essential for leading a research work on machine learning on graphs, streaming automated analytics and mapping for AI.

Herb Emery

An advisor to federal and provincial policymakers, Dr. Herb Emery focuses his research on the development of the Canadian economy and the persistence of long-standing regional disparities. Aside from understanding the economic fundamentals of growth in a small open economy, Dr. Emery’s work incorporates political, historical, cultural and other institutional factors that have shaped Canadian development processes. Dr. Emery's academic career began at the University of Calgary where, from 1993 to 2016, he assembled a track record of demonstrated excellence in research, teaching and leadership. Dr. Emery began as the Vaughan Chair in July, 2016. The Vaughan Chair in Regional Economics has a mission to enhance understanding of key economic issues in New Brunswick and the Maritimes, and to help develop policies to increase the overall prosperity of the region. The Chair works with governments, the private sector and non-profit organizations, and provides leadership and capacity in policy development for the region.

David Foord

Dr. David Foord is an associate professor in the Faculty of Management. He has been working in technology management since 1993 and led technology transfer and innovation at the University of New Brunswick from 1999 to 2009. He has professional experience in techno-economic and carbon dioxide emission modelling. Dr. Foord conducts research on scientific and technological innovation. He has undertaken research and prepared manuscripts on the history of bionic hands, carbon black production, natural gas decomposition, water wheels, steam engines, gas lighting, electrical power grids, and wind, water and gas turbines. His research contributes to scholarly and public policy debates on scientific research, invention, development and innovation. His work has been applied in firm and organization level management of research and development.

Kush Bubbar

Dr. Kush Bubbar is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Engineering at UNB and is an instructor in the J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship.  Kush is an accomplished product design professional having held senior engineering roles at both SCIEX™ and BlackBerry™ where he was a key player in the development of award winning, state-of-the-art biomedical technologies and complex high-volume flexible manufacturing systems respectively.  Kush’s research focuses on the application of model-based design tools and techniques to modularly represent the detailed physics of components within complex systems.  Kush has successfully applied this approach to mathematically model a novel ocean wave energy converter device and is employing the approach to energy storage and energy conversion technologies within the context of a smart grid network.  Kush has a strong propensity for exploring research problems in the sustainable energy domain, in particular marine renewable energy.  With an established career in the private sector, Kush is a strong proponent of establishing mutually beneficial industrial partnerships.

Bo Cao

Dr. Bo Cao is a Research Associate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UNB. His expertise lies in the areas of power electronics, renewable energy conversion, distributed generation systems, electrical vehicle integration, and wind forecasting techniques. Dr. Cao is closely involved as both a theme leader and a leading researcher in a number of multi-partner research projects at UNB including distributed renewable generation system design part of NSERC Engage Grants and NSERC NEST, and development of wind forecasting technologies for the NRCan funded project that focuses on development and validation of advanced wind forecasting method. Most recently, Dr. Cao is focusing on electric vehicle integration as part of the AIF Atlantic Digital Grids project as well as grid support function development of DER inverters for the AIF application-focused, Integrated DER Solutions for Smart Grids project. 

Julian L. Cardenas Barrera

Dr. Julian L. Cardenas Barrera is a registered Professional Engineer in the Province of New Brunswick and has been a Research Associate at the Centre since 2017. He received his PhD degree in electrical engineering from Universidad Central de Las Villas (UCLV), Cuba, in 1994. He worked at UCLV as a professor for over 25 years and has been a visiting professor and researcher at numerous universities in Canada, Latin America and Spain before joining UNB. At UNB, he has used his expertise in digital signal processing, pattern recognition and network communications to conduct research in areas of energy forecasting, wireless sensor communications, smart grid communications and control of distributed energy resources. Dr. Cardenas Barrera currently works in several projects related to smart grid technologies; developing new load forecasting methods for the smart grid era, direct control techniques for using aggregation of user appliances as alternative energy resources and co-simulation technologies to study the impact of communications on power system operation.

Brent Petersen

Dr. Brent Petersen is a tenured associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UNB and supervises postgraduate research. Dr. Petersen is the co-author of several successful research sponsorships from the Atlantic Innovation Fund for wireless communications as well as the Canada Foundation for Innovation for fibre-optic communications. Dr. Petersen is also a Senior Member of the IEEE and a Registered Professional Engineer with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick. His present research interests are multi-user multiple-input multiple-output wireless communications systems and communications for smart-grids. Dr. Petersen is also a co-principal investigator of the CubeSat NB project, which is one of the 15 teams in the Canadian CubeSat Project being initiated by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).