Dr. Song collaborates with OG&E to bring you smarter HVAC systems

The following article was released by OG&E in a recent newsletter. Are you smarter than your HVAC? In the near future, it may be a toss-up

If University of Oklahoma College of Engineering professor Li Song and OG&E Supervisor of Customer Support Jessica King have their way, your HVAC system soon will be smarter than you are – at least when it comes to energy management.

Song, an associate professor in the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and her colleague Choon Yik Tang, with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, have been working for the last five years to create a “smart” heating and cooling system that helps customers be more informed about their energy consumption and ultimately their energy bill.

Much of the success they’ve had so far is due to the partnership between OU and OG&E – and the relationship the two women have formed during the project.

Song’s original intention was to design for large, commercial buildings and reached out to Pat Saxton, Expert Account Manager for OG&E, who was working with Tinker Air Force Base. Song discovered the model for commercial buildings was “too cumbersome” to test outside of the lab and decided to use it for homeowners instead.

“Pat introduced me to Jessica, who gave me a perspective on what OG&E was doing with its SmartHours program and the company’s interest in helping make customers smarter energy consumers,” Song said.

Song is also working with Ecobee to put the smart HVAC technology in their thermostats. OG&E also is working with Ecobee to pilot their thermostats in 700 test homes, using the existing thermostat technology.

The new technology goes beyond the typical SmartTemp thermostats currently used in the SmartHours program in that it learns factors, such as humidity and air flow, within the home, customer energy consumption preferences and the performance of the HVAC system. It also takes into account outside factors such as temperature, wind speed, sunlight, weather forecasting and the cost of electricity during certain times of the day.

The technology also provides ahead-of-time forecasting so that customers know what their costs will be if they adjust their thermostat up or down.

Customers can control and monitor their thermostats using a smart phone app.

“We envision that customers in the future will receive personalized information about their home, their energy costs and their own energy consumption and will know it ahead of time or in real time,” King said. “In other words, they won’t be left in the dark about what their end bill will be.”

King assisted Song by writing letters in support of the project that were included in the application to get funding from the Department of Energy.

“After the success of SmartHours, we were asking ourselves ‘what’s next?’” King said. “And here was this great opportunity to support our local university and further our vision of being a trusted energy advisor for our customers.”

Song and her research team are now undertaking a two-year program to test the technology in an unoccupied home on the OU campus.

“We want complete control in these initial tests but will simulate the moisture, heat and other factors created by residents.”

In the third year, OG&E will recruit about 10 customers to participate as occupied test homes and, following this pilot, will expand the program to more homes.

Both women’s eyes light up when they talk about the technology and what it can do for OG&E customers.

“We envision expanding the technology to eventually all smart thermostats to give people more knowledge about how they use energy, what it costs and how small changes can impact their end bill,” Song said. “As well as helping predict the bill, the system will improve HVAC operations, detect AC problems earlier and possibly have an environmental impact as well.”

“The possibilities are endless,” King added. “We could work with home builders to create a true Positive Energy Home, and we’ve already formed a partnership with Ideal Homes to explore this possibility. Plus the data we get from the thermostats could help us target customers for energy efficiency programs, helping us provide energy assistance to those who need it most.”

Dr. Song Receives Multiple Awards for Current Research

Dr. Li Song, an associate professor at AME, received three awards for her current research projects. Two awards are from the Department of Energy, and the third award is from Battelle – Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Song is the lead PI for the development and validation of a home comfort system for total performance deficiency/fault detection and optimal control project, which received a DOE fund of $993,149. The research team will develop and validate a smart thermostat-integrated low-cost home energy management system, including a data connection framework; a computationally efficient, self-learning home thermal model; automatic fault detection and analysis algorithms; and home energy management information and controls based on in-situ measured efficiencies of heating and cooling equipment, the air distribution system, and the building envelope.

The second DOE fund is $551,566 for the performance demonstration of an occupancy sensor-enabled integrated solution for commercial buildings project. The research team will validate the performance and savings of three HVAC control (fan, cooling coil valve, outside air) algorithms integrated with occupancy sensing data to optimize ventilation delivery.

A $50,000 award was given to Song from Battelle – Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for her “Transactive-Control Based Connected Home Solution for Existing Residential Units and Communities” project.

This is a summary of Song’s research proposal sent to Battelle: To obtain the overall project aims, the development of machine learning techniques to calibrate the initial physical model that estimates and predicts energy use of a house and its response to control signals is extremely important. An effective home thermal model, that can predict the indoor air temperature dynamics under different weather, HVAC output and internal gains from appliances and occupants, is essential for the development.

BEEL initiated the development of a self-learning home thermal model two years ago. The BEEL home model, currently limited for a house with an A/C and gas-furnace heater, can automatically identify the model parameters with minimum data needed and precisely predict the space temperature and home HVAC energy uses for a house. To enhance the connectivity and compatibility of the platform proposed by PNNL, BEEL is committed to expand the home thermal model for a heat pump system and test enhanced home model using two houses located in Oklahoma through the partnership with OG&E. The challenge of modeling the heat pump is that the heating output from a heat pump is no longer constant as-is for a gas furnace heater. A correlation of the heating output of a heat pump and outdoor air temperature needs to be formulated and similarly, a correlation between cooling output of a heat pump and weather might be needed for cooling season as well.

Congratulations Dr. Song!

Additional News About Dr. Song’s Research:
Dr. Song’s Research is Promoted in the Press
Dr. Song Receives 2018 ASHRAE Technical Paper Award

 

Undergraduate Rocket Research Group has Successful Launch

The University of Oklahoma’s Undergraduate Rocket Research group launched a rocket in Argonia, Kansas on March 10th, 2019. Dr. Thomas Hays and his students are proud of the results.

The rocket had a maximum speed of Mach 1.15 and weighed 105 pounds. The students involved in the launch were Kaley Hassell, Jarod Manning, Alex Speed, and Scott Tesser. Congratulations on your successful launch!

Click here to watch the video of the rocket.

The Sooner Racing Team Competition Results are in!

The Sooner Racing Team had a successful competition at Formula SAE Lincoln, an engineering design competition for undergraduate and graduate students. The team traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska from June 19-22 and exceeded their goals for the competition.

The Sooner Racing Team received 14th in the cost event, 14th in fuel efficiency, 22nd in endurance, 26th in acceleration, 29th in design, and a 10th place award for the quality of their engineering drawings. They finished the competition 33rd overall out of the 80 teams. Additionally, the team got through technical inspections in the first two days with only minor adjustments needed, completed all of the static and dynamic events, and finished the endurance race. Overall, the team is very happy with the results and the way the car came out this year.

Congratulations Sooner Racing Team! Click here to learn more information about the team.

OU Boeing Engineering Days is Featured in The OU Daily

On July 20, 2019, the OU Boeing Engineering Days camp was featured in the OU Daily. Nancy Spears, senior news reporter, wrote about how high school juniors and seniors were able to learn more about the engineering program at OU in the article, “Potential OU students explore engineering programs, sink ‘battleships’ at OU Boeing Engineering Days.”

[from OU Daily Article]

Click here to read the full article.

2019 Capstone Fair Results are in!

The school of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering held the annual capstone fair on May 2, 2019. Forty one mechanical engineering teams and eight aerospace projects participated in the fair.

Overall 1st Place (tie)

“Sooner Off-Road”: Matt Muhlinghause, Haley Ricks, Devin Prochniak

Overall 1st Place (tie)

“B-52 Spoiler Fixture Redesign”: Morgan Wolfe, Tyler Thibodeaux, Alexandra Arment, Roshan Mathews, Alex Mudd

Overall 2nd Place

“Setup to Evaluate Debris-Scrapper Ring Designs”: Courtney Holloway, Nicholas Son, Alexander Nagy, Abel Rivera, Haydn Kirkpatrick

Overall 3rd Place

“Vehicle Mast: Raising/Lowering Methods”: Michael Evans, Armahn Roozbeh, Austin Petit, Sarah Mailot, Luke Starks

Aerospace Winners Overall:

Overall 1st Place Aerospace

“Boomer Rocket Team Analysis Team”: Abby Roper, Ryan GannonTanner Mann, Nick Cobb, Evelyn Webb, Shaik ZehadBen Shwaiko, Jordan Masterson

Overall 2nd Place Aerospace

“Boomer Rocket Team Manufacturing Team”: Nathan Cook, David Brown, Trevor Trevino, Joshua Hughes, Jalen Johnson, Levi Lunsford

Overall 3rd Place Aerospace

“Design Build Fly Aerodynamics Team”: Vann Wilkerson, Jake Ewing, Alex Bryant, Jen-On Fung

 

Category – Vehicle Design:

Vehicle Design 1stPlace

“Sooner Off-Road”: Matt Muhlinghause, Haley Ricks, Devin Prochniak

 Vehicle Design 2nd Place

“Sooner Racing Team”: Adam Flenniken, Ryan Cowdrey, Justin Porter, Jack Sartin

 

Category – Experimental and Testing:

Experimental and Testing 1st Place

“Setup to Evaluate Debris-Scrapper Ring Design”: Courtney Holloway, Nicholas Son, Alexander Nagy, Abel Rivera, Haydn Kirkpatrick

Experimental and Testing 2nd Place

 “Test Bench for ESP Seal Section Permeability”: Logan Vitello, Travis Wilbanks, Ifeanyi Ijioma, Marshall Thorpe, Logan Roys

Experimental and Testing 3rd Place

“Recording System for Animal Ocular Movement”: Spencer Gallucci, Shangru Wu, Venus Luong, Joshua McCraw

 

Category – Studies:

Studies 1st Place

 “B-52 Spoiler Fixture Design”:  Morgan Wolfe, Tyler Thibodeaux, Alexandra Arment, Roshan Mathews, Alex Mudd

Studies 2nd Place

 “Vehicle Mast: Raising/Lowering Methods”: Michael Evans, Armahn Roozbeh, Austin Petit, Sarah Mailot, Luke Starks

Studies 3rd Place

“Piezoelectric Sensors for HVAC Applications”: Joseph Nostrand, Ryan Perkins, Spencer Hinkle

Studies 4th Place

“FAA OSHA Compliant Climbing Methods for Human Safety”: Wesley Dale, Lauren Tangney, Brent Fenske, Jon Ballard

 

Category – Prototype Design:

Prototype Design 1st Place

“Gaming/Electronics Assist Equipment”: Pranav Mohan, Ashley Medice, Gerald Lance, David Carris

Prototype Design 2nd Place

“Robotic Arm System for Hospital Use”: Luis Donoso, Pum Mang, Tuan Vu, Aaron Vu

The Practical Engineering Award

 “Piezoelectric Sensors for HVAC Applications”: Joseph Nostrand, Ryan Perkins, Spencer Hinkle

 

Category – Presentation:

Presentation 1st Place

“Vehicle Mast: Load Analysis and Failure Modes”: Wesley Dale, Lauren Tangney, Brent Fenske, Jon Ballard

Presentation 2nd Place

“Setup to Conduct Permeation Experiments on Barriers”: Samuel Infanti, Katherine Faux, Karim Aznag, Austin McKee

Presentation 3rd Place

“3D Printing for Shape Memory Polymers”: Colton Ross, Ryan Bodlak, Luke Whitney, Wyatt Maney, Robert Beem

Boomer Rocket Team Receives 3rd Place at Competition

Boomer Rocket Team received 3rd place at the Argonia cup competition. The event took place in Argonia, Kansas from March 30-31, 2019.

The competition objective was to launch a rocket-powered vehicle in excess of 8,000’ AGL. The rocket had to contain a golf ball payload, and the team had to recover the payload safely at a predetermined location on the rocket range.

Congratulations Boomer Rocket Team!

Dr. Zuo Presents Seminar at OU

Dr. Jian Zuo gave a seminar over drug discovery for hearing loss on Thursday, March 14th at OU. Dr. Zuo is a chairman and professor from the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Creighton University School of Medicine.

Abstract: Hearing loss caused by aging, noise, cisplatin toxicity, or other insults affects 360 million people worldwide, but there are no Food and Drug Administration–approved drugs to prevent or treat it. We first performed high-throughput screens for small molecules that prevent cisplatin-induced hearing loss in a cochlear derived cell line. The hit compounds were further validated in cochlear explants, zebrafish lateral-line neuromasts in vivo, and eventually in mouse and rat’s cochleae in vivo. We have so far identified and characterized several potent compounds that exhibit protection against not only cisplatin but also antibiotics and noise-induced hearing loss. We further investigated several targets of top compounds in knockout mouse models. To treat hearing loss, we first developed genetic mouse models in which hair cell regeneration occurred at adult ages. Based on the genetic manipulations, we performed high-throughput screens of small molecules that mimic the genetics models. We further tested these top compounds in adult mice for hair cell regeneration. Combinatory applications of these top compounds could provide therapeutic intervention of hearing loss in clinics.

Biography: Jian Zuo obtained his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China in 1985. He then immigrated to the US for his Ph.D. in Physiology from UCSF in 1993. After postdoc training in Rockefeller University, he became a faculty at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis since 1998. After 20 years, he recently moved to Creighton University School of Medicine as the Chairman and Professor in the Dept. of Biomedical Sciences in April 2018. He has published >100 research articles and >20 reviews with high impacts. He currently has 2 R01 grants, 2 DoD grants, and one MRC grant. He has trained many successful students and postdocs and has interests in the commercialization of his discoveries.

AME Hosts Seminar by Dr. Srinivas Kolla

Srinivas Swaroop Kolla, Ph.D., a research associate at the University of Tulsa, presented a seminar Friday, March 8th at OU. He spoke about the design and performance of gas-liquid cylindrical cyclone compact separators.

Abstract: Compact separation technology has continuously improved significantly in recent years, due to its applications in a variety of industries, such as Oil & Gas, Chemical, Environmental, and Aerospace. The conventional separators that are based on gravity, are bulky, heavy and expensive, which are being replaced by compact separators that have smaller foot-print, higher productivity and are less expensive to procure and operate. Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone (GLCC©) separator is one such compact separator that is simple and easy to install and operate with more than 6800 applications including subsea. The presentation covers various aspects of design modifications of GLCC separators and quantifying its performance under the limiting conditions using control strategies. Details of experimental research conducted to investigate the two undesirable phenomena, namely, Liquid Carry-Over and Gas Carry-Under are presented. The Structural integrity analysis of the GLCC inlet section is conducted using the FEA and the design modifications are validated using CFD simulations. A comparative study of the FEA analysis results and Fluid-Structure Interaction analysis results is presented. In addition, different mechanistic models developed to quantify the LCO and GCU of the GLCC are discussed. Finally, short-term and long-term research goals are presented along with guiding principles of teaching philosophy.

Biography: Dr. Srinivas Swaroop Kolla received his B.S degree (2002) from Nagarjuna University in India and M.S. (2007) and Ph.D. (2018) degrees from The University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, all in Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Kolla has 9 years of experience pursuing a professional career working in cross-functional teams across Europe and India on industry projects including Oil & Gas, Medical and Automotive sectors. Between 2007 and 2015, he worked in various roles starting as a Research Engineer to Project Manager leading teams developing components and systems. During his career with FMC Technologies in France, he worked on the project “PRELUDE” an FLNG/FPSO unit being developed currently by Samsung Industries. Dr. Kolla has a multi-disciplinary background in mechanical and petroleum engineering and his research focus on Multiphase Flow, Separation Technologies, Pressure vessels, Flow Assurance, Pumps and Design of components & Systems using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) as well as Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI). He has published several refereed journal and conference papers, while some are under review.  He has also applied for 2 US patents and few more are being prepared for submission this year. He serves on executive committee of ASME Mid-Continent Section and Co-organizer of Multiphase Flow Technical Track in ASME Fluid Engineering Division Summer Conference and a member of FMTC, CFDTC, MFTC technical committees.  He also serves as a reviewer for several conferences and journals. Dr. Kolla has received several awards, scholarships, and fellowships during his career. His awards over the past 3 years include ASME Petroleum Division Scholarship, ASME Fluid Engineering Division-Graduate Scholarship, The University of Tulsa Distinguished Chapman Scholarship, Graduate Student Fellowship and Bellwether Fellowship.

Dr. Edward Guo Presents Seminar over Bone Bioengineering

Edward Guo, Ph.D., a Chair and Stanley Dicker Professor for the department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University, gave a seminar on Wednesday, March 6th at OU. His seminar was over bone bioengineering: microstructure, mechanics, mechanobiology and beyond.

Abstract: Bone Bioengineering Laboratory is developing innovative technology in microstructural assessments, biomechanical modeling, multiscale and mechanobiological approaches in skeletal research. Bone Bioengineering has both basic science and clinical significances in many medical fields, such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, or intervertebral disc degenerations. I will highlight our development of a three-dimensional imaging analysis and modeling technique for trabecular bone microstructure, its applications in basic science research of bone mechanics, and clinical applications in osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. We will discuss bone microstructural phenotypes in difference races and their implications in genetic and precision medicine, anthropology, evolution and mechanobiology of the skeletons. In parallel to these developments, we will also discuss our multiscale mechanobiological approaches in understanding the mechanisms of how bone senses and responds to mechanical loading and showcase how mechanobiology links to bone microstructure and mechanics.

Biography: Dr. Guo received his M.S. in 1990 and Ph.D. in 1994 in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics from Harvard University-MIT. In 1994-1996, Professor Guo did his postdoctoral fellowship in the Orthopaedic Research Laboratories at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor with Professor Steven A. Goldstein in orthopaedic bioengineering. In 1996 he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering and then Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2001, Associate Professor with tenure in 2003, Professor in 2007, and named as Stanley Dicker Professor in 2018. He directs the Bone Bioengineering Laboratory in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia focusing his research interests in micromechanics of bone tissue, computational biomechanics, and mechanobiology of bone. His past honors include Young Investigator Recognition Award from the Orthopaedic Research Society, National Research Service Award from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), a CAREER award from the US National Foundation of Science (NSF), Funds for Talented Professionals (Joint Research Fund for Overseas Chinese Young Scholars) from the National Natural Science Foundation of China. He is elected fellow of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineerin. He was one of the founders and served as co-Editor-in-Chief of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering (CMBE), an international journal of US Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). He has served many review panels for NIH, NSF, and NASA. His research has been supported by the Whitaker Foundation, the NSF, and the NIH. He served as President of International Chinese Musculoskeletal Research Society, the Society for Physical Regulation in Biology and Medicine, Member of Board of Directors of Orthopaedic Research Society, and Member of Board of Directors of AIMBE. He also founded the Special Interest Group (SIG) in CMBE in the BMES and served as its founding Chair.