Dr. Chris Vermillion Wins NSF CAREER Award

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Dr. Chris Vermillion, an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has won a $500,000 National Science Foundation CAREER award to further his research in creating low-cost methodologies that optimize the combined physical system and controller for high-altitude wind energy systems.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is the NSF’s most-prestigious award in support of junior faculty. The NSF awards CAREER grants to faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research and excellent education.

Dr. Vermillion has been with The William States Lee College of Engineering at UNC Charlotte since 2014. His research of the flight dynamics and control of tethered airborne wind energy systems employs a first-in-world rapid prototyping framework that makes possible small-scale flight experiments that can be run at much lower cost than full-scale prototypes.

The framework, which utilizes the UNC Charlotte water channel to “fly” 1/100-scale prototypes of airborne wind energy lifting bodies, makes possible an optimization framework wherein learnings from experimental tests are fused with model-based numerical optimization in order to efficiently optimize the physical system and controller design. The optimization methodologies created under the research will have broad implications for other systems for which dynamic models are used in concert with experiments to arrive at optimal designs.

The full NSF proposal is here.

Additional information on Dr. Vermillion’s research is here.