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Elaine Liu: Leading the Way | MIT News

MIT Senior Elaine Siyu Liu: Solving the Energy Puzzle of Electric Vehicles and Renewables in the Grid

Title: MIT Senior Tackles Energy Puzzle of Electric Vehicles and Renewables on the Grid

MIT senior Elaine Siyu Liu is on a mission to solve the energy puzzle of electric vehicles (EVs) and renewables impacting the grid. With the rapid increase in public and private EV charging ports and the growing demand for electricity due to EVs, data centers, and industry, Liu’s work is becoming increasingly crucial in navigating a system in flux.

Studying mathematics and electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, Liu is focusing on distribution – how to efficiently get electricity from centralized locations to consumers. Her research, supported by the MIT Energy Initiative, involves predicting and preventing grid failures caused by factors such as renewable energy gaps and EV charging demands.

One of Liu’s projects involves developing a model to predict cascade failures in the grid, especially with the increasing unpredictability of renewables like wind and solar. By analyzing data from European industry and running experiments on a simulated power grid, Liu aims to help system operators strategically intervene before potential failures occur.

In addition to her work on renewables, Liu is also delving into the challenges posed by EVs on the grid. By analyzing the movement and behavior patterns of EVs in major energy hubs, she aims to optimize a market-based solution that would dictate pricing and availability of charging stations without restricting consumer choice.

Liu’s innovative research has the potential to revolutionize how EV charging stations are managed and could help prevent grid overload and extra costs to operators. After graduation, she plans to pursue further studies in EECS, applied math, and operations research, continuing her quest to solve the complex energy puzzle of the future grid.

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