Research Team

Pecan Street Inc. and its partners at the University of Texas at Austin are in the midst of one of the most advanced consumer energy research projects in the country.

The research team consists of dozens of experts in various energy-related fields, from electrical engineering, energy policy, electric vehicles, solar energy, standards and interoperability, architecture and others. Following is a list of many of the researchers that are involved in the Pecan Street Demonstration Project.

Many of the University of Texas researchers working on Pecan Street research do so through UT’s IGERT program.

Tom Edgar, Ph.D.
Dr. Edgar is the George T. and Gladys H. Abell Chair in engineering at The UT Austin, a board member of Pecan Street Inc., and the principal investigator for the demonstration project.  More »

Bert Haskell
Bert Haskell is the technical director of Pecan Street Inc., and leads the deployment of platforms and technologies used in the demonstration project.  More »

Bob Hebner, Ph.D.
Dr. Hebner is the director of the Center for Electromechanics at UT Austin. The former acting director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Dr. Hebner is co-leading the research work being conducted by members of the Pecan Street Consortium.  More »

Ross Baldick, Ph.D.
Dr. Baldick is a professor and Leland Barclay Fellow in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UT Austin. Dr. Baldick’s team of UT graduate students is working with Pecan Street Inc. to test and implement charging strategies for plug-in hybrid vehicles.  More »

Isaac Barchas
Isaac Barchas is the director of the Austin Technology Incubator at UT Austin and a board member of Pecan Street Inc. Isaac works closely with members of the Pecan Street Consortium to help catalyze the commercialization of smart grid and clean energy technology.  More »

Ulrich Dangel, Dipl.-Ing. Architekt
Ulrich Dangel is an associate professor at UT Austin’s School of Architecture and an architectural technology advisor on the Pike Powers Commercialization Lab team, which developed the lab’s project parameters. In collaboration with assistant professors Matt Fajkus and Tamie Glass, Dangel is also one of the design architects of the lab building, which is designed as a sustainable living prototype as well as an active lab facility. More »

Matt Fajkus, AIA, LEED AP
Matt Fajkus is an assistant professor at UT Austin’s School of Architecture and director of the UTSOA Thermal Lab. He is an architectural technology advisor on the Pike Powers Commercialization Lab team, which developed the lab’s project parameters. In collaboration with Ulrich Dangel and Tamie Glass, Fajkus is also a design architect for the lab building, which is designed as a sustainable living prototype as well as an active lab facility.   More »

Mitch Jacobson
Mitch Jacobson is co-director of the Clean Energy Incubator, part of the Austin Technology Incubator at UT Austin. The Clean Energy Incubator is a partner with the Pecan Street Consortium in finding new clean energy technologies and companies to work with the organization. In addition, ATI develops courses and events along side the Pecan Street team, like the Clean Energy Short Course at UT and the Clean Energy Venture Summit.  More »

Alexis Kwasinski, Ph.D.
Dr. Kwasinski is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UT Austin. He is participating in several initiatives within Pecan Street Inc. He is co-leading the “customer side of the meter” team and participating in the “utility side of the meter” team and the home research lab. His experience and interests include customer-oriented smart grid technology topics, such as integration of renewable and alternative energy sources, advanced loads (e.g. electric vehicles), microgrids, reliable and efficient power distribution architectures, power electronic interfaces and home energy management systems.   More »

Atila Novoselac, Ph.D.
Dr. Novoselac is an associate professor in architectural engineering at UT Austin. Dr. Novoselac’s work with Pecan Street Inc. includes building environmental control and thermal energy management systems that reduce peak electric load and take advantage of dynamic energy pricing. For development of these systems, he is using computer modeling methods as well as experiments in his building environmental system lab at UT and the Pike Powers Commercialization Lab.  More »

Michael Webber, Ph.D.
Dr. Webber is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UT Austin, co-director of the Clean Energy Incubator, and associate director of UT’s Center for International Energy & Environmental Policy. Dr. Webber is leading Pecan Street’s “data team” and manages three of the researchers and graduate students working on the Pecan Street demonstration project.  More »

Steve Bourne
Steve Bourne is a Ph.D. student in civil, architectural and environmental engineering. He will be assisting the design process by researching and modeling potential systems using modern simulation tools and the integration of phase-change materials (PCM) into building components, the specialized control systems required to manage this PCM thermal capacity, and the combined effect of these systems on peak energy use.  More »

Robert Fares
Robert Fares is a mechanical engineering graduate student at UT Austin and works with Dr. Michael Webber. He is investigating how energy storage could be used to strengthen the grid and/or increase the penetration of intermittent renewables such as wind and solar. More »

Akshay Sriprasad
Akshay Sriprasad is a third year Ph.D. student in chemical engineering and an NSF IGERT Research Fellow at UT Austin. He is currently investigating demand response and optimization and modeling of community energy storage systems. He is being supervised by Dr. Tom Edgar.  More »

Joshua Rhodes
Joshua Rhodes is a Ph.D. candidate at UT Austin. His research with Pecan Street includes analyzing the copious amounts of data that are recorded with the deployment of smart meters in Mueller and greater Austin. He is examining how building physics play a part in efficiency, and if we can be more efficient in the way we construct and operate homes. He has recently published the first academic journal article to come out of Pecan Street (DOI: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2011.08.032).  More »

Amir Toliyat
Amir Toliyat is an electrical engineering graduate student at UT Austin. He is a member of the Pecan Street “modeling task group,” and is involved in developing the necessary models to better understand the effects of a smart grid. In particular, he is studying how energy storage and cloud movement affect availability and photovoltaic generation.  More »

David Tuttle
David Tuttle is a Research Fellow and Ph.D. student in renewable energy systems, the integration of plug-in vehicles and the grid, and the smart grid in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UT Austin. He is involved in the research of plug-in vehicles, their interactions with the grid, and smart grid technologies.  More »

Charles Upshaw
Charles Upshaw is a Masters student in mechanical engineering at UT Austin, where he works on research related to renewable energy and sustainability. He is working with Dr. Michael Webber on analyzing the effects of different energy management strategies and devices within a smart grid system. Currently, his main focus is on collecting and analyzing home energy use data, which will be used for development home energy management strategies, as well as provide a baseline comparison.  More »

Fabian Uriarte, Ph.D.
Dr. Uriarte is a research associate at the Center for Electromechanics (CEM) at UT Austin. He serves as a researcher and power systems and simulation specialists for CEM. He coordinates the modeling and simulation efforts for the Pecan Street research team to ensure the multi-disciplinary (electrical, mechanical, thermal, chemical) task of simulating the smart-grid at Mueller is a cohesive effort. Dr. Uriarte’s experience in modeling and simulation positions CEM well to support and coordinate the simulation efforts of a team of ten researchers.  More »