University of Minnesota professor Ned Mohan elected to the National Academy of Engineering

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NAE election is highest professional honor awarded to an engineer

Contacts: Rhonda Zurn, College of Science and Engineering, rzurn@umn.edu, (612) 626-7959
Brooke Dillon, University News Service, , (612) 624-2801

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (02/07/2014) —Ned Mohan, a long-time professor of electrical and computer engineering in the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities College of Science and Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Mohan received the honor for contributions to the integration of electronics into power systems and to innovations in power engineering education with the goal of making our nation’s power grid cleaner, smarter, and more reliable.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Only 67 new members nationwide and 11 foreign associates received the honor this year.

"This is a tremendous honor for a deserving researcher and a dedicated educator," said David Lilja, head of the University of Minnesota Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "Ned’s dedication to the field of power electronics and power systems is second to none. His development of a completely new curriculum for teaching power electronics and his dissemination of that curriculum through a national consortium of university instructors has become a national model to prepare our next generations for what lies ahead."

"This is a great honor to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering," Mohan said. "My desire to prepare students for a constantly-changing engineering field of power electronics has been my main driver. It’s through many partnerships, student input, and dedicated colleagues’ efforts across the country who have made my successes possible. I thank them all for their part in this achievement."

In 2010, Mohan headed up a $4.18 million project to revitalize electrical power engineering education by establishing a nationwide consortium of universities to meet immediate and near-future workforce needs for the nation’s efforts to improve the nation’s power grid.

The consortium helped to facilitate the implementation of labs at the university level that created a new education framework in power engineering that will transform undergraduate and graduate education and research in the areas of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, storage, and energy conservation. The ultimate goal is to make the power grid cleaner, smarter, and more reliable.

"Ours is a grassroots approach where all universities that wish to participate are welcome," Mohan said. "Each collaborating university acts as a nucleus disseminating this curriculum to other regional universities, technical colleges and communities."

During the past 15 years, Professor Mohan has worked with electrical and computer engineering professors Bruce Wollenberg, William Robbins, Paul Imbertson and Tom Posbergh on leading the education revitalizing efforts. With help from the U.S. National Office Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, NASA, and local partners Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, Great River Energy, Otter Tail Power, Dairyland Power, Alliant Energy , and Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, the University of Minnesota has been successful in disseminating this forward-looking curriculum to more than 120 educators in numerous universities and has been a significant factor in revitalizing power engineering education at these institutions.

Mohan, who has been a faculty member at the University of Minnesota since 1975, has focused his research on applying the promise of power electronics to power systems in facilitating grid-integration of renewables such as wind and solar. He has done this through several research grants, graduating 35 Ph.D. students to date and maintaining a large research group currently consisting of 12 Ph.D. students in various stages of graduation.

Mohan’s many other honors include :

  • Oscar A. Schott Professorship of Power Electronics and Systems (1993-Present)
  • IEEE Power and Energy Society Ramakumar Family Renewable Energy Excellence Award  (2012)
  • IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award (2010)
  • Utility Wind Integration Group Achievement Award (2010)
  • IEEE Outstanding Power Engineering Educator Award (2008)
  • University of Minnesota Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award (2007)
  • University of Minnesota George W. Taylor Teaching Award (1998)
  • IEEE Fellow (1996)                                      

Mohan received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1967 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India. He received a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1969 from the University of New Brunswick, Canada. He also received a master’s degree in nuclear engineering in 1972 and Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1973 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

This year’s NAE election brings the total U.S. membership to 2,250 and the number of foreign associates to 211. More information on NAE’s recent elections, including a list of the newly elected members and foreign associates, is available on the NAE website.

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