Newswise — RICHLAND, Wash. – Two global experts in advanced energy systems have joined the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to lead research related to the smart grid, smart buildings and more.

Former Cisco chief scientist Jeffrey Taft is now PNNL's chief architect for electric grid transformation and former professor Jakob Stoustrup, from Aalborg University in Denmark, now leads PNNL's Control of Complex Systems Initiative.

"We are tremendously excited to have Jeff and Jakob join our outstanding grid and buildings team," said Jud Virden, associate laboratory director of PNNL's Energy and Environment Directorate. "They each bring top-tier scientific expertise in advanced grid and control architecture, which are critical to realizing DOE's vision of a grid and energy system that is truly reliable, resilient and secure."

At PNNL, Taft will lead special projects related to the smart grid, which uses electrical technology, communication networking and control systems to more efficiently and reliably bring energy to homes, office buildings and industrial facilities. As part of his new position, Taft will create a new, bold vision for the future electric system and develop a strategy to bring it to reality, with a focus on new control architectures, innovative market and regulatory mechanisms and new operating systems.

Stoustrup will head PNNL's new Control of Complex Systems Initiative. The internally funded research initiative aims to develop mathematical foundations for how the many, diverse components of complex systems in our world collectively operate. Stoustrup and his team will focus on the power grid and grid-connected buildings in the initiative's initial phases, with an ultimate goal of understanding how the future power system could function. That knowledge would be used to power our homes and cities in a more efficient, seamless manner.

Before coming to PNNL, Stoustrup was head of research for the department of electronic systems at Aalborg University in Denmark. He is a board member for several international journals and holds leading positions in the scientific communities of his area.

Taft has more than 20 years of experience in technical solutions, architectures and business development. He previously led smart grid and power utility networking efforts at the technology firms Cisco, Accenture and IBM. At Cisco, he created and led the development of the Cisco GridBlocksTM Reference Architecture for utility industry communication networks. This architecture became a blueprint and standard for Cisco Connected Energy offerings, and is widely referenced both in government and industry.

"Our electric power systems are undergoing dramatic changes brought about by societal needs," Taft said. "These changes are stretching the limits of existing grid operation and control, but represent an opportunity to use new architectural and control engineering methods to not only adapt to these new requirements, but transform the electric power grid into an energy innovation platform."

"The nation's grid, buildings and transportation sectors represent millions of distributed assets," Stoustrup said. "An approach using control theory and new strategies could preserve or enhance robustness and resiliency for those assets and enable us to use them in more efficient ways. I believe PNNL is just the place for me and my team to develop that approach."

With the addition of Taft and Stoustrup, as well as the planned construction of a new energy research facility beginning in April, PNNL continues to build on its rich history of advanced energy systems, smart grid and buildings/grid integration research, Virden said.

# # #

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of about $950 million. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.