Al-Thaddeus Avestruz receives CAREER Award to advance sustainable energy storage

Using retired electric vehicle batteries, the project plans to enable widespread and equitable access to sustainable power and energy through sustainable energy storage.
Al-Thaddeus Avestruz

Prof. Al-Thaddeus Avestruz received an NSF CAREER Award for a project that aims to recycle used electric vehicle (EV) batteries to optimize power processing in battery energy storage systems, which is important for sustainability. The project is titled, “Optimizing Power Processing for Heterogeneous Energy Storage Systems.”

Globally, the number of used EV batteries is rising exponentially. Although second-use EV batteries contain approximately 80% remaining energy capacity, the diversity in their energy and power capabilities, and resulting degradation rates, leads to higher cost and power losses. The goal of this project is to reduce the cost of power processing and dramatically improve the feasibility of using retired EV batteries for stationary battery energy storage. This would allow for grid and EV fast charging applications.

The broader impacts of the project include enabling widespread integration of renewable energy sources while maintaining a more robust grid and reducing the cost of energy. It could help advance energy justice through improving the affordability and availability of energy in a sustainable fashion. It could also help speed the proliferation of EVs by reducing the cost of fast charging.

Avestruz’s main research focus is in the area of high-performance power electronics and wireless power transfer from milliwatts to megawatts for energy storage, mobility, electric grid, medicine, and the Internet of Things. He’s also interested in circuits, systems, feedback, controls, and modeling for sensing, electromagnetic systems, renewable energy, automotive, aviation, biomedical, and consumer applications.

Avestruz has over a decade of industry and entrepreneurial experience, and is author of 10 issued U.S. patents, with several more pending. He is the chair of TC1: Technical Committee for the Control and Modeling of Power Electronics for the IEEE Power Electronics Society. He is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Open Journal of Power Electronics. He earned his PhD, SM, and EE in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and SB in Physics, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the University of Michigan as an Assistant Professor in 2016.