Although Arnav Bagga, an electrical engineering doctoral student in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, could not stay for the awards ceremony at the 2023 North American Power Symposium at Western Carolina University, he discovered later he’d won second place in the conference’s Best Graduate Paper Award category out of more than 150 entries.

“Winning the award is a good feeling,” Bagga says. “I will strive to continue to work in the same manner that I have been doing for the past couple years, but an award definitely motivates me.”

Bagga showcased his paper, “Impact of Detailed Parameter Modeling of Open Cycle Gas Turbines on Production Cost Simulation,” a 10-minute presentation on assessing grid impacts of detailed operational parameter modeling of natural gas turbines.

He says the topic is important because as the variability and uncertainty associated with renewable energy resources has increased over the last few years, the average yearly capacity factor, which represents the ratio of a power plant’s actual output to its maximum capacity, has also significantly increased for the natural gas turbine fleet throughout the U.S. The increased capacity factor means natural gas turbines are working harder than ever to supply reliable power to the country.

The paper was part of Bagga’s master’s degree work on a project to integrate gas turbines into the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory‘s Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems, or ARIES, platform, which simulates real-world power grid conditions for researchers. Bagga completed the work with his master’s degree advisors, the paper’s co-authors and Fulton Schools faculty members Sridhar Seetharaman, Fulton Professor of Industrial Decarbonization, and Zachary Holman, professor of electrical engineering and Fulton Schools vice dean for research and innovation.

Since completing the paper, Bagga finished his master’s degree program and returned to ASU for his doctoral degree in electrical engineering. He chose to expand his electrical engineering expertise by focusing his doctoral degree research on using state-of-the-art computational approaches to perform dynamic security assessment in power grids with high deployment levels of renewable energy resources under Amarsagar Reddy Ramapuram Matavalam, an assistant professor of electrical engineering in the Fulton Schools.

Bagga credits ASU as essential to his academic career’s accomplishments.

“The state-of-the-art software, facilities and variety of classes offered here in the power program are unmatched,” he says. “They are completely in line with real-world problems. The training and education I have received through our world-renowned power systems faculty helps me think of research questions such as those for this project.”