Laboratory for Energy Smart Systems (LESS)

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CAIT project no.: CAIT-UTC-056

Fiscal Year: 2014/2015

Status: Final

Rutgers-CAIT Author(s): Mohsen Jafari, Ph.D., Patrick Szary, Ph.D

External Author(s): F. Farzan, Ph.D.

Sponsor(s): FHWA - RITA, DNV GL Energy


This project will provide seed funding for the newly established Laboratory for Smart Energy Systems (LESS) at CAIT to partially support its ongoing research activities and to develop a roadmap that will help to achieve the following long-term goals and objectives:

1. Partnership with energy related industry for the purpose of identifying technology barriers and challenges of DER and DSM, to jointly develop solutions to adopt these new technologies and to ensure that legacy power grid is maintained in Good State of Repair.

2. Collaboration with public agencies to develop tools and analytics to identify policy and regulation barriers of DER and DSM, and to support policies that incentivize the adoption of these technologies by communities and industry.  The focus of this work will be mainly on alternative fuel transportation and built environment.

3. In partnership with other units at CAIT and industry partners, LESS will create a collaborative research program on DER and DSM analytics and enabling technologies, new asset management techniques for legacy and emerging power systems, and  energy hubs.

a. On DER LESS will focus on automation and control of distributed resources and investment strategies for communities and industrial complexes. This will include load and production forecasting; design configuration, capacity planning, integration to grid, day-ahead scheduling and the same day control, and financials.

b. For DSM  research LESS will focus on built environment (commercial, residential and industrial) and transportation. In the former application area, the focus will be to bring advances in control and automation to building energy management and to allow for buildings to participate in energy market to take advantage of price dynamics and quantity risks to optimize their own consumption and reduce their energy bills. In transportation, the emphasis will be given to taking advantage of ITS and connected vehicles technology to reduce fuel consumption. Fueling infrastructure  for electric and hydrogen fueled vehicles will be also at the core of LESS research.

c. Asset management for legacy grid and emerging distributed resources will also be at the forefront of LESS’s long-term research goals. LESS will be active on health condition monitoring of these assets using advanced tools, such as Unmanned Areal Vehicles (UAV), LIDAR technology, and large scale distributed sensors. LESS will also work on developing of reliability and maintenance models that take advantage of Big Data.

d. Energy hubs and interaction between power and natural gas and other natural resources will be emphasized and investigated.

4. A forum to raise public awareness on energy efficiency and the need for public and private investment in DER and DSM solutions. This will be also a forum to train professionals on related new and advanced techniques.


The deliverables for this project will be geared toward the long-term plans of LESS and will include the following:

1. Two proposals and/or concept papers, preferably prepared jointly with industry;

2. Preliminary corporate partnership program with one or more participating companies;

3. Preliminary outreach program to townships and cities in New Jersey and plans to extend it to other states;

4. One or research papers with plans for dissemination through conference and journal publications;

5. A workshop with participation from industry, academia and government agencies;

6. A roadmap to long term R&D plans of LESS, including funding sources and partnerships.