Center for Electric Power

Mission Statement

The mission of the Center for Electric Power is to advance and apply scientific and engineering knowledge associated with the generation, trnnsmission, distribution, and use of electric power, while supporting the instructional program of the University in academic areas associated with electric power.

Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of the Center for Electric Power are fourfold:

Educate. Graduate education is an integral goal of the center. Center projects enable graduate students to perform "real uorld" research. This opportunity enhances their educational experience and better prepares them for entry into the job market.

Facilitate. Center research focuses on solving the problems of our sponsors. It is the matching of center faculty, who each excel in various areas of electric power research to the needs of a particular sponsor which achieves effective results.

Disseminate. The scientific and academic communities are enriched when faculty present research results at seminars and conferences around the world. In the past decade, faculty have made such scientific expeditions throughout the United States, as well as to Europe, Asia and Africa.

Enrich. An overall goal of the center is to support economic development in the state. Center research developments permit sponsors in the State of Tennessee to become more efficient. New technologies create employment opportunities for Tennesseans.


The Center for Electric Power at Tennessee Technological University began operation in the summer of 1985. Since that time, the center has proven its worth as a first rate re- search facility which provides cutting edge technology in Tennessee, as well as through- out the United States.

Strategic Research Areas

In pursuing its goals, the center works with electric utilities, state and federal agencies, private industries, nonprofit organizations and other universities on a wide spectrum of projects, Research efforts, both theoretical and experimental, are focused on solving problems currently faced by the electric power industry. Advanced concepts for electric power generation are also under investigation to ensure that future electric power needs are met.

The electric utility industry, although faced with competitive and legislative pressures, strives to supply reliable electric service at the lowest possible cost. The center is pre- pared to assist the industry in meeting this goal by providing timely research results. Other sponsors such as state and federal agencies, research organizations and private industries, are also confronted with complex issues. The following strategic research areas have been developed to serve the needs of our sponsors in a changing business environment.

  • Power Systems Performance Improvement
  • Environmental Issues and Energy Conservation
  • Advanced Technologies
The overall objective of these three research areas is to closely link center capabilities to industry needs.

Solving electrical transmission and distribution problems is a major concentration of Center for Electric Power research.

Major Contributions

The impact of center research cannot be overstated. Much of the information obtained from such research has been incorporated into real world technologies:
  • Development of analytical techniques to enhance the power transmitted in overhead lines using the same right-of-way without exceeding the environmental limits of radio noise, and the electric and magnetic fields.
  • Development of innovative shielding methods to reduce the effects of lightning strikes on power systems.
  • Development of a procedure to balance coal flow to burners to improve boiler perfor- mance and reduce emissions.
  • Implementation of a temperature measurement technique using thermographic phosphor materials, with primary applications in otherwise inaccessible locations.
  • Performance of energy audits and development of a computer model to predict energy and cost savings related to energy conservation activities.
  • Application of finite element analysis techniques to assess the structural integrity of turbine rotors and a main steam line.
  • Development of an Expert System that will diagnose power quality problems and recommend mitigation measures to the utility.
  • Incorporation of thermoeconomic concepts into the design of advanced gas turbines and integrated gasification combined cycle systems to assist utilities in making cost- effective decisions.
  • Development of original software which allows coal plants to calculate heat rate using data from continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS).
  • Scale model stack testing which predicts best possible placement of CEMS monitor- ing equipment.

Building for the Future

Although coal and other fossil fuels will continue to be predominant sources for electric generation, other supply alternatives such as different fuels and new technologies must be evaluated. The center will continue to make its research strengths (improving system performance, assessing environmental impacts, evaluating energy conservation measures and validating advanced technologies) available to utilities and private industry.

Research results will continue to be transferred to the classrooms through the addition of new courses and the revision of existing courses. As a result, future students will reap the rewards associated with outstanding research conducted by the faculty and staff.

An integral part of our modern lives has always been electricity. To build on past research and improve future results remains the overall challenge and goal of the Center for Electric Power.