Indian Exchange Students and Faculty Visit COE CESR

If you’ve seen some unfamiliar faces around the Center for Energy Systems Research these last couple of weeks, there’s a good reason for that.

As part of the 2013 Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Award Program, Tennessee Tech has been able to invite faculty and students from India’s Annamalai University for an exchange program; the move puts TTU in the company of such schools as Harvard School of Public Health, Ohio State University, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Ganapathy is working closely with P.K. Rajan, Interim Director of TTU’s Center for Energy Systems Research. He is also having discussions wih faculty in the power area Drs. Alouani, Bhattacharya, Belkacemi, Mahajan, Ojo and Radman and their graduate students. He also made a seminar presentation on Load Frequency Control Strategies in Power Systems.

“In much of India, we have an abundance of wind and sunlight,” said visiting professor Somaskandan Ganapathy. “What we do not have is a strong network or infrastructure to make good use of it in generating electrical power, or much public awareness of the potential here. We hope to be able to use this opportunity to set up studies and collaborative efforts toward these goals.”

Ganapathy is joined by students C.K. Murugan, D. Kalaichelvi and R. Hiemaja, all of whom are doing thesis work on energy systems. Ganapathy is in the United States on a month-long visit, while his students will be staying for six weeks. Along with their research into the potential of wind and solar power, the group is also working on how to incorporate smart grids and smart metering into existing electrical infrastructure. The target of the initiative is for Annamalai to launch a Master of Science program in Smart Energy Systems. It’s hoped that in the spring semester of 2014, five students will come for the entire semester, along with three faculty members who can engage in collaborative research. This program will continue for a total of three years and it is hoped the contacts established will lead to continued collaboration between the two universities.

Among other activities, Ganapathy and students were able to visit Schneider Electric in Nashville, for a good look at the solar farm and a wide range of products and services the company has to offer. They also visited the control center of Nashville Electric Service.

Annamalai University is one of India’s most respected institutions; founded in 1929, the university has ten colleges, with 49 programs of studies and over 3,000 faculty members. Annamalai boasts roughly 30Annamalai University_Students_Photo_-_Edited,000 students, with ten times that number engaged in distance learning or online studies.

“Along with studies, this visit is a great opportunity for cultural exchange,” said Ganapathy. “We’re learning a lot about southern American customs and traditions, and people are so polite and friendly and helpful wherever we go.”

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