Future Power

With a strong history in controls, significant investment in power engineering, and a recognized ability in energy storage, regional and national partners are actively engaged in addressing grid sustainability and building efficiency in Northern Ohio. Using the Case Western Reserve campus microgrid as a “living laboratory” to test next-generation hardware and software, the Future Power team is in a unique position to pursue interdisciplinary research, development, and demonstration opportunities for transformational smart grid solutions.

In 2017, Case Western Reserve University, NASA Glenn Research Center and the University of Toledo began working together on the Northern Ohio Building-to-Grid Integration Demonstration after receiving an investment from the DOE exceeding $1 million dollars. Administered by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), the project was an expansion of transactive control demonstration activities ongoing at PNNL. Corporate partners FirstEnergy, Eaton Corp., Siemens, and Johnson Controls also participated in this three-site activity. The project developed and demonstrated strategies which incorporated smart building technologies on the three campuses with traditional, solar and wind power sources; batteries used for backup power, meeting peak demand and for non-peak storage; electric vehicle charging stations and more. 

Furthermore, Siemens is working with the Case School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science to develop an experiential learning curriculum that aims to better educate students to address the needs of a 21st-century power grid. The new academic track prepares students for this shifting energy landscape by providing them with both new classroom curriculum and hands-on learning via real-world software and hardware tools in a new state-of-the-art Digital Grid Lab. Updated classes also are also offered across several focus areas including the advanced control of energy systems, reliability engineering and power-system analysis, among others. The total value of the partnership, which began in 2018, is about $1.2 million, including in-kind and monetary gifts.

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Future Power research builds on numerous strengths and assets:

  • Expertise in distribution system modeling, protection schemes, analysis and control

  • Forecasting and modeling energy markets

  • Experience incorporating emerging technologies and platforms including the Department of Energy’s VOLTTRON package

  • A campus microgrid with multiple renewable energy sources

  • Utility perspective with multi-state energy presence

  • Experience accelerating tech-to- market transition


Opportunities for transforming the grid include robust co-development and integration of:

  • Demand response and load management
  • Agent-based communication
  • Forecasting and modeling
  • Advanced relay protection
  • Distributed energy resources
  • Building energy management


  • Grid integration of hyper-connected, intelligent and distributed resources, including storage and renewable energy, easing the adoption of new technologies
  • Regional and national leadership in the grid and electricity market


Future Power Research is Being Led By:

Kenneth Loparo

Arthur L. Parker Professor, Department of Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering

Co-Director, Internet of Things Collaborative (IOTC)

Develops real-time data analytics and control algorithms for industrial, energy and physiological systems

Mario Garcia-Sanz

Professor, Department of Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering

ARPA-E Program Director, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington DC. (2019-Jan 2022)

Director of the Control and Energy Systems Center (CESC).

Focuses on bridging the gap between advanced control theory and applications, with special emphasis in energy innovation, wind energy, spacecraft, water quality, environmental and industrial applications. Internationally recognized for work in control co-design theory.

Marc Buchner

Associate Dean, Academics

Director, Virtual Worlds Gaming and Simulation Lab

CSE Faculty Director, Program Evaluation and Assessment

Director, Siemens Digital Grid Education Program

Focus on computer gaming and simulation, virtual reality, software-defined radio, wavelets & joint time-frequency analysis