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NMSU hosted seminar by director of Sandia energy program

As part of New Mexico State University?s Centers for Research Excellence in Science and Technology grant from the National Science Foundation, the Electrical Engineering Department in the College of Engineering recently hosted a seminar given by the director for an energy storage program at Sandia National Laboratories.

Stan Atcitty is the project lead of the Energy Storage Power Electronics Program, a program at Sandia National Laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Energy?s Office of Electricity (OE). The focus of his one-day seminar at NMSU was power conversion systems for grid-tied energy storage systems.

His program primarily researches transferring electricity through stationary grids, such as a city?s electric utility grid.

?Sandia National Labs is the lead researcher in power electronic systems,? Atcitty said.

Atcitty was invited to host a seminar at NMSU by Electrical Engineering Department Head Satishkumar Ranade. As a 1993 and ?95 graduate of NMSU, Atcitty said he was excited to come back down to Las Cruces and share his knowledge with a packed room of 107 in Foster Hall.

?While the seminar focused on energy storage conversion systems, it provided a wide view of the energy sector,? Atcitty said.

Atcitty said electrical engineering allows for a broad array of career paths.

?My focus is on energy systems,? he said. ?But one can choose to focus on computer programming, vehicle programming. There are so many different fields you can focus on.?

Atcitty first got involved with this project at Sandia after representatives from the DOE asked him to research power conversion and storage systems for grid applications. He published his report in 1998, after which the DOE established the Power Electronics Program at Sandia.

Power Electronics pursues the research outlined in Atcitty?s report, to develop more sophisticated energy storage and conversion systems, Atcitty said.

?I have a passion to advise students, to provide information and to encourage their pursuits in STEM careers,? Atcitty said.

He said he hopes NMSU students who attended have a deeper appreciation for the world of energy storage and conversion, and hopes it excited some students enough to choose the energy sector for their careers.