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Energy Systems



The Energy Systems group conducts research related to renewable energy, motors, generators, adjustable speed drives, power electronics, power supplies, power quality and industrial process equipment and controllers.

The Energy Systems lab is the Wallace Energy Systems & Renewables Facility (WESRF). With a 750kVA independent utility power supply, comprehensive testbeds up to 300hp including a unique wave energy linear test bed, and a 120kVA fully programmable AC source, and a wind/energy storage in-lab grid, WESRF has the highest power ratings and is the best equipped university laboratory in the nation, serving industry, utilities and students. Our industrial clients have found WESRF to be an excellent resource for the recruitment of graduates that are well trained and exposed to industry practices.

Research Thrusts

  • Control and modeling
  • Electric vehicles
  • Machines and drives
  • Power electronics
  • Power systems
  • Renewable power
  • Renewables & their interface to the power system
  • Smart grid

Related Courses

  • ECE 331: Electromechanical Energy Conversion
  • ECE 431/531: Power Electronics
  • ECE 432/532: Dynamics of Electromechanical Energy Conversion
  • ECE 433/533: Power Systems
  • ECE 438/538: Electric and Hybrid Vehicles
  • ECE 530: Contemporary Energy Applications


Ted Brekken

Ted Brekken
Control, power electronics and electric drives, renewable energy systems modeling and control

Annette von Jouanne

Annette von Jouanne 
Ocean wave energy and wind energy renewables; power electronics; power quality; power systems

J. Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez

J. Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez
Cascading outages in power grids; complex systems & complex networks; chaos & nonlinear dynamics; big data & high performance computing; PMU-supported power system stability monitoring

Julia Zhang

Julia Zhang
Electric machine design; electric machine drive control; power electronic circuits power electronics for various renewable energy conversion applications



Wallace Energy Systems & Renewables Facility

OSU’s Energy Systems lab, the Wallace Energy Systems & Renewables Facility (WESRF), is the highest power and best equipped lab of its kind in any university in the nation. The WESRF lab assets include a 750kVA dedicated power supply, rotary test beds up to 300hp, full capabilities to regenerate back onto the grid, an in-lab wind/energy storage grid, and a state-of-the-art wave energy linear test bed that is unique to the world.

Collaborating Facilities

Hatfield Marine Science Center (Newport, Oregon)

The HMSC brings OSU's diverse marine science programs together for effective collaboration and higher national and international visibility. The Center plays an integral role in marine and estuarine research and instruction, as a unique laboratory facility serving resident scientists and graduate students, and as a base for oceanographic research.

O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory

The O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory together with the Coastal and Ocean Engineering Program at Oregon State University is a leading center for research and education in coastal engineering and nearshore science.


Direct-Drive Wave Energy Technologies

The direct-drive research has been focused on a simplification of processes, i.e., replacing systems employing intermediate hydraulics or pneumatics with direct-drive approaches to allow generators to respond directly to the movement of the ocean. The term “direct” drive describes the direct coupling of the buoy’s velocity and force to the generator without the use of hydraulic fluid or air. OSU’s direct-drive approaches have included devices employing magnetic fields for contact-less mechanical energy transmission (flux-linkage), forms of mechanical linkages, and hybrids.

Research Partners

Bonneville Power Administration logo Central Lincoln PUD logo Columbia Power Technologies logo U.S. Department of Energy logo
Drive Oregon Electric Power Research Institute logo FINE (Fishermen Involved in Natural Energy) logo Ford logo
O. H. Hinsdale Wave Research Lab logo University of Illinois-Champaign logo U.S. Navy - Naval Facilities Engineering Command logo Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center logo
National Renewable Energy Lab logo Office of Naval Research logo Oregon Department of Energy logo Hatfield Marine Science Center logo
OTREC: Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium Pennsylvania State University logo Pacific Power logo PacifiCorp logo
Portland General Electric logo SAIC logo Sandia National Laboratories logo Oregon Sea Grant logo
University of Minnesota logo  University of Vermont logo  University of Washington logo  


Novel Direct-Drive Wave Energy Generators
(von Jouanne, Brekken, Tumer, Yokochi)

  • Have investigated a variety of different direct-drive wave energy technologies, collaborating on the development of 11 different prototypes.
  • Through collaborations, have conducted a series of very successful bay and ocean testing.
  • OSU’s continuing wave energy technology research will be multi-faceted, including partnering with developers in a supporting/research role to assist in the development of full-scale (utility-scale) wave energy devices.
  • As device power levels approach utility-scale, it is no longer appropriate (or safe) for graduate students to be leading these efforts as part of their M.S. or Ph.D. thesis research. Therefore, OSU’s technology development will focus on the 100W – 10kW range.
  • OSU is currently developing a 12th wave energy buoy prototype, a contactless force transmission system (at the 200W continuous level), and is also collaborating with developers that are pursuing full-scale applications.

Ocean Test Berths
(von Jouanne, Brekken, Paasch)

  • Currently, the U.S. marine energy industry is challenged by the lack of proper and standardized infrastructure to test and deploy WEC devices in the ocean.
  • NNMREC ocean test berths will provide wave energy conversion (WEC) system developers with a resource to perform ocean testing, demonstration and advancement of subscale and full-scale pre-commercial devices.
  • First phase ocean test berths will be “mobile,” with future plans to include both mobile and grid connected capabilities.
  • Mobile ocean test berths consist of a power analysis and data acquisition (PADA) device and an adjustable load bank.

Lab Wave Energy Linear Test Bed
(Brekken, von Jouanne)

  • Comprehensively research, test, evaluate and advance wave energy conversion devices, OSU has developed a 20kW Linear Test Bed (LTB) in their Energy Systems Laboratory – WESRF.
  • LTB is designed to generate the relative linear motion created by ocean waves to optimize wave energy device technologies.
  • Simulating ocean waves requires very high forces, thus, for this LTB system, driving forces of up to 20,000N (4500 lbs) at speeds of 1m/s are required, 10,000N (2250lbs) at 2m/s, and up to 3 m/s with lighter loads.
  • LTB operations continue to be improved with advanced force control.

Ocean Wave and Current Monitors
(Haller, Barth, von Jouanne)

  • Wave monitoring equipment to capture wave magnitudes, periods and currents are essential, e.g., for ocean observing prior to, and after, wave installation development.
  • Wave monitors also collect data during buoy deployments to correlate the performance with the wave climate.
  • Wave data is also used to control OSU’s wave energy linear test bed.
  • OSU’s wave energy program currently has two wave monitoring devices:

1) The AWAC (Acoustic Wave and Current) unit is designed to be mounted on the seafloor to capture both wave magnitude, period and current information.

2) The second device is a Waverider directional wave monitoring buoy that rides on the surface of the ocean, and captures wave magnitude, period and direction.

Large-Scale Renewable Energy Integration

  • Study the behavior of the grid with large-amounts of variable renewable energy
  • Determine the reserve requirements for different types of renewable energy (wind, solar, wave, tidal, etc.)
  • Research mitigation strategies to allow increased use of renewable power
  • Develop test systems for studying large-scale renewable power penetration
  • Funded by the National Science Foundation CAREER program

Wave Energy Conversion Modeling

  • Develop generic time-domain models for ocean wave energy conversion systems for industry and academic research
  • Develop means of generating high-resolution wave park power time-series data for use in utility integration studies

Wave Energy Converter Array Investigations
(Haller, Ozkan-Haller, Yim, Brekken)

  • Study the interactions between wave energy converters in an array
  • Study the effects of an array on the wave climate around and in the lee of the array

Wind/Energy Storage Integration
(Brekken, von Jouanne, Yokochi)

  • WESRF is researching improved wind energy integration through more effective coordination of traditional generation resources and energy storage systems (including analysis and control) to optimize wind energy production while also increasing the predictability of wind farm outputs.
  • An in-lab research grid has been developed in WESRF featuring the emulation of several high-power grid sources and loads, including a wind farm, energy storage system, hydro resource, and local loads.
  • The energy storage system is a 25 kW, 50 kWh Zinc-Bromine flow battery made by ZBB.
  • The wind farm is emulated using an Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG), which functions as a 120 kVA externally controlled source.
  • The in-lab grid systems are connected together via the Modbus protocol, enabling control of the Zinc-Bromine battery and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories 751A Feeder Protection relays, which protect each of the components on the grid from standard fault conditions.
  • The entire lab is under the control of a dSPACE rapid-prototyping system, which enables the researchers to create and test control algorithms in MATLAB/Simulink and rapidly implement them in the laboratory.
  • The energy storage power electronics converter enables a hybrid power conversion system that can integrate various energy sources (e.g., wind and traditional generation such as hydro) with the energy storage system, and manages power and energy, with a single point of connection with the utility grid.