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ECE Faculty Spotlight: Mahesh Illindala

When he isn’t teaching upper level courses in power electronics or sustainable energy, electrical and computer engineering associate professor Mahesh Illindala is probably conducting in-depth research on micogrids at The Ohio State University. And when he isn’t finding the answers to the future of electrical engineering, he’s probably giving his time to the university's outreach program, Translating Engineering Research to K-8 (TEK8). An opportunity which allows young students to the get involved with engineering research.

In the midst of everything, Illindala took time to speak about his current research, his professional responsibilities and why he loves Ohio State.

What made you want to take the position here at Ohio State ECE?

Prior to joining Ohio State, I was employed in the research division of Caterpillar. At that time, during a visit to Columbus, I felt an instant attraction to the Ohio State campus on seeing its lively and vibrant culture. There are experts in all technical fields and the campus is always buzzing with activity.

What is your favorite part about being a faculty member?

I enjoy working together with students in the development and dissemination of new knowledge. The constant stream of learning opportunities with diverse perspectives is very refreshing and offers a win-win situation to everyone.

Apart from teaching courses, what other responsibilities do you have at Ohio State?

In addition, I am the supervisor of the undergraduate lab, ECE 3047 Sustainable Energy and Energy Conversion Lab. This lab course… has undergone a major upgrade in 2017. We purchased new equipment that is exceptional in terms of student safety, technology, and didactic solutions. The ECE 3047 lab benches are unique in providing a blended learning experience by giving students the ability to play with electrical machines in a fail-safe manner, and do computer-aided analysis through an interactive software lab assistant.

What are your current areas of research?

A major area of current research is microgrid systems, which helps in making the power system more resilient to extreme conditions. In particular, I look for different ways of enhancing the robustness, reliability, controllability, and survivability of microgrid systems. This research was published in many articles and has won awards, not to mention the 2016 IEEE Industry Applications Society Magazine Prize Article and the 2016 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program awards.

Can you explain more in terms of microgrid systems?

Numerous solutions are available on microgrid development for different customers like industrial, commercial, residential, military, aircraft, shipboard, campus, community, etc. Nowadays, many customers are interested in microgrid solutions for their electric power distribution. They also include university campuses, villages, and cities in the U.S. and around the world. Incidentally, we might see in the future several microgrids in Columbus that have won the Smart City Challenge recently. Therefore, it is important that we conduct extensive studies to resolve the major challenges and help in achieving their ambitious goals.

Article by: ECE Public Relations Student Writer, Lydia Freudenberg