Search, View and Navigation


Sustainable Grid Integration of Distributed and Renewable Resources


Stephen Bourne

steve01Steve attended the University of California at Berkeley to earn both his BS (2007) and MS (2009) degrees in Civil Engineering. He is currently a third year Ph.D. student in Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas, working under Dr. Atila Novoselac. Steve’s research interests include the integration of phase-change thermal storage and desiccant moisture storage media into building materials, and their impact on peak energy demand. Current projects include the development and construction of a small scale thermal energy store and control system to be integrated into the Façade Thermal Lab at the University of Texas School of Architecture, for which Steve provides primary engineering support. The introduction of the thermal store to the lab’s capabilities will enable advanced study involving peak energy use and load shifting related to building environmental systems.

Steve's research slide

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Robert Fares

robert fares headshot 01-2013

Robert Fares received his BS in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in writing from Washington University in St. Louis in 2010. He is a fourth year graduate student in the Thermal Fluid Systems division of Mechanical Engineering. Robert’s research focuses on the cost-benefit tradeoffs associated with grid-based battery energy storage. He has worked to analyze the value of different battery energy storage technologies used for grid applications in the Texas organized electricity market. As part of Pecan Street Inc.’s ongoing smart grid demonstration project, Robert’s research looks at how energy storage models can be used with large-scale data and optimization for economic operational management of battery energy storage. In 2012, Robert earned his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas. As a Ph.D. student, Robert hopes to develop novel operational methods and business models that help to integrate distributed energy generation and energy storage technologies with restructured electricity markets and retail electric tariffs.

Robert's research slide

Contact Robert

Corey James

coryjames headshotCorey James is a Chemical Engineering PhD student at the University of Texas, co-advised by Dr. Tom Edgar and Dr. Michael Webber. Corey is an Army officer and AH-64D aviator with a variety of operational experiences. After serving his first eight years in the Army, he was selected to teach at the United States Military Academy. He received his Chemical Engineering MS from the University of Texas in 2009 and then served three years on the faculty in West Point, New York. While teaching at West Point, he served as an adviser for undergraduate research and as the co-director and founder of the Cadet Advanced Science and Technology Learning Environment (CASTLE). For outstanding performance as an educator and leader among the faculty, Corey was selected to be an Academy Professor and return permanently to educate at West Point. After a short two year operational assignment to Germany, he is now beginning his PhD work in preparation for that endeavor. He will graduate in June 2017 and move to West Point, New York. Corey is married with two sons and enjoys flying his airplane, fitness, and fishing.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Kriti Kapoor

croppedKriti Kapoor is a PhD candidate in Dr Edgar’s group in the department of Chemical Engineering since fall 2009. She completed her undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Technology) from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.  She is working on ‘energy efficient systems for sustainable semiconductor manufacturing’ as part of her dissertation, funded by Texas Instruments Inc. She is also a part of the group working on developing an optimal operation strategy for UT Austin power plant and cooling system.

Kriti's research slide

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Harsha Kumar

BioHarsha Kumar MC is a graduate student in the Electrical and Computer engineering department at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical engineering with a concentration on power systems in India. His Interests are in energy management and efficiency and hopes to improve management of energy in residential applications. He is currently a part of the Home Energy Management Systems team. Before coming to graduate school Harsha worked for Schneider Electric Industries as a design engineer.

Harsha's research slide

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Abigail Ondeck

headshot abbyAbigail Ondeck is a Ph.D. student in the Chemical Engineering department at the University of Texas. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she previously attended Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) where she conducted research on the synthesis of nanoparticulate catalyts to be used in the production of syngas via the Fischer-Tropsch process, and the creation of gold nanoparticles for chiral drug separation. She graduated in May 2012 from CMU with a dual degree in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. During her senior year of undergraduate education, Abigail gained a keen interest in process control and modeling, with a specific concentration in energy production, delivery, and reduced environmental impact. Her current research concentrates on modeling and optimization of a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant for a residential neighborhood. The model will also incorporate renewable energies and other electricity producing devices.

Abby's Research Slide

Contact Abigail

Krystian Perez

krystianperezheadshotKrystian Perez is a PhD student in chemical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin working under Drs. Edgar and Baldea. He earned his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Brigham Young University in Utah. He is interested in developing a residential neighborhood model based on the human activity patterns, weather trends and first principles of an individual home. From this model he would like to determine the most efficient means to use alternative energy sources (e.g. photovoltaics) and energy storage devices (e.g. thermal storage tanks) to mitigate peak energy demand at the level of an entire residential community.

Krystian's research slide

Krystian's Research Slide

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

Charles Upshaw

charlie_head_shotCharles Upshaw is a PhD student in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, from which he also received his B.S. and M.S.  in mechanical engineering.  His research interests span a wide range of topics, from renewable energy systems analysis, to residential smart grid and home resource management.  He as worked with fellow researchers on the data collection and visualization of electricity, water, and gas data from homes in Pecan Street Smart Grid Demonstration Project.  His PhD work will focus on quantifying and analyzing the flows of water and energy into and out of the home.  He hopes to use the data collected by Pecan Street to assess the thermodynamic and economic potential for various advanced water and energy management systems in the context of residential homes in Austin, Texas.

Charlie's research slide

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

2015 Affiliates


From left to right: Sean Wood, Bonnie Roberts, Hunter Esters, Daniel Urieli

2014 Affiliates



From left to right: Steve Bourne, Kate McArdle, Kristen Cetin. Not pictured: Krystian Perez, Abigail Ondeck, Robert Fares, Corey James, Harsha Kumar, Charles Upshaw

2013 Affiliates

igert affiliates

From left to right: Krystian Perez, Robert Fares, Abby Ondeck, Wesley Cole, and Stephen Bourne.  Not pictured: Joshua Rhodes, Kriti Kapoor, Amir Toliyat, Charles Upshaw and Harsha Kumar.

2011 Affiliates


From left to right: Stephen Bourne, Kody Powell, Robert Fares, Charles Upshaw, Wesley Cole and Amir Toliyat. Not pictured: Joshua Rhodes, Kriti Kapoor and Harsha Kumar