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Staff Accomplishments

PNNL Engineer Wins Brodzinki Award for Early Career Achievement

Kalsi's methods are solving problems for future energy systems

October 2018
Karan Kalsi

Karan Kalsi

Karan Kalsi, a PNNL power systems research engineer, has received the Lab’s 2018 Ronald L. Brodzinki Award for Early Career Exceptional Achievement. He received the honor for accomplishments in developing and applying control strategies for enhanced security, reliability and efficiency of large-scale complex infrastructure energy systems.

The award is part of a suite of PNNL Laboratory Director Awards launched in 2005 that recognize excellence in science, engineering, lifetime achievements, and early career accomplishments.

As PNNL conducts research and development to help modernize the U.S. power grid, researchers like Kalsi are critical to the effort’s success. Since joining PNNL in 2010, Kalsi has established himself as a visionary researcher and leader in projects focused on making energy systems more cost-efficient, compatible with renewable resources, secure, and stable.

DOE has laid out aggressive goals for the next 30 years of the nation’s energy use, and Kalsi’s work directly aligns with these targets. When applied at scale, the hierarchal robust distributed control strategies he developed for complex electricity infrastructure systems are expected to reduce energy reserve costs by 33 percent, increase integration of renewable energy by 50 percent, and decrease rolling blackouts by 70 percent.

With projects focusing on solving problems previously not addressed because of the nation’s reliance on outdated methods, Kalsi has specialized in three key areas of energy systems control and optimization:

  • Robust distributed controls for enhanced transmission system stability
  • Robust hierarchical distributed controls for enhanced distribution system reliability and resilience
  • Transactive control and coordination for buildings-to-grid integration.

Now a principal engineer for PNNL, Kalsi has published more than 50 papers in high-impact journals with more than 1,100 citations to his credit. He recently became a visiting faculty member at the California Institute of Technology, where he partners with staff on control theory for large-scale complex systems. Kalsi has organized special sessions at three flagship control conferences, is a member of five Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers committees, and is a reviewer for multiple journals and conferences. He holds one U.S. patent, with ten more patents filed.


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