17:30 PM

The AMPED Consortium receives a power boost

Pitt engineers receive a $1.2 million grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation to expand the AMPED Consortium

The Advanced Magnetics for Power and Energy Development (AMPED) Consortium at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering is getting a power boost. 

Pitt engineers behind the AMPED Consortium received a $1.2 million grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation to expand its capabilities. 

“It’s important to me personally to expand programs and deepen our collaborative roots with industry partners,” said Brandon Grainger, principal investigator, co-director of the AMPED Consortium, associate professor of electrical engineering and Eaton Faculty Fellow. “Not only does this strengthen students’ job prospects through multidisciplinary training in electrical engineering and materials science, but it allows the Swanson School to expand its capabilities and existing infrastructure at the Energy Innovation Center in downtown Pittsburgh.” 

The grant supports the Consortium's three-year work plan to gain federal support and deepen regional, industrial, and educational impacts for the upcoming electrical product transformation through power electronics technologies and advanced magnetics. 

The AMPED Consortium aims to address the growing need for improved soft magnetic materials and enhanced electromagnetic components (inductors, transformers, and electric machines) operating in advanced electrical designs like electric vehicles. Alongside Grainger, Paul Ohodnicki, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and RK Mellon Faculty Fellow at Pitt is the AMPED consortium director and serves as a co-principal investigator on the foundation grant.

“The grant provided by the Henry L. HIllman Foundation is incredibly impactful to the AMPED consortium at this time," Ohodnicki said. “It provides a baseline of funding support and allows us to expand on the number of students that we can engage on this important topic in collaboration with our industry partners. We are sincerely appreciative of the Henry L. Hillman Foundation for providing this very generous gift.”

This past October, the Consortium held its second annual meeting at the Energy Innovation Center in Pittsburgh where researchers and professionals from across the country shared ideas and solutions to frame a potential NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) focused on AMPED.

“Since George Westinghouse helped to establish the electrical engineering program at Pitt in 1893, power and energy research and education have always been priorities,” noted Sanjeev G. Shroff, Interim U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. “Through that 130 year history, the program has been strengthened by public-private partnerships with industry, government, utilities, and foundations. We are exceptionally grateful to Henry L Hillman Foundation for once again providing foundational support.”

This project aligns with major points of the research thrust for the Plan for Pitt

  • Enhance graduate offerings in terms of reputation, relevance, and impact by centering student work on transformative technologies that will reshape electrical systems domestically and globally 
  • Create preeminent teaching, learning, scholarship and research experiences in partnership with government and industry 
  • Increase participation and presence in multidisciplinary, solution-sized research projects 
  • Broaden academic opportunities to include more non-traditional students and settings through a focus on graduate students 

Henry L. Hillman Foundation works to ensure that Pittsburgh’s considerable strengths, assets, and advantages are fully leveraged to make it one of the world’s more innovative and forward-looking cities, building on the late Henry L. Hillman’s legacy for solving big problems through civic leadership and collaboration. The foundation’s current and previous support for Pitt’s electric revolution initiatives is part of the foundations’ Sustainable Regional Infrastructure strategic portfolio, with the core goals of helping southwestern Pennsylvania modernize infrastructure and systems through innovation and transition to low-carbon economy.