About Our Team

Find out more about our members and affiliates.

Founder and Principal Investigator

Reza Ghorbani, Ph.D.

Reza Ghorbani, Ph.D.

Founder & PI, Associate Professor

Research Interests:
Load prediction and management, energy storage control and management, transmission and distribution grid modeling and optimization, real time control and communication of electric grid, data analysis, risk assessment and reliability of electric grid, renewable energy planning, integration and operation.

Current Members

Michael Angelo

Michael Angelo

Ph.D. Candidate, Division of Consumer Advocate - State of Hawai`i

Research Interests:
Hydrogen fuel cells, coupling power system theory and electricity market design, electricity market structures and energy policy, renewable energy integration, grid stability.

Experience:
During his tenure with HNEI, Mr. Angelo managed projects funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA).  His work with the DOE contributed to developing the fuel quality standard for hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles. He was the principle investigator and project manager on several NASA funded small business and innovative research (SBIR) and small business and technology transfer (STTR) programs where he developed a novel method using fuel cell technology to separate hydrogen from helium so that the helium could be purified and reused by NASA. The project has important applications for the nation’s helium supply because helium is a nonrenewable commodity. NASA is the world’s largest user of helium, which they use to purge gas boil-off from the fuel lines of hydrogen powered rocket engines. Together with our project partner we developed a prototype system that was successfully demonstrated at NASA’s Stennis Space Center.

Mahdi Motalleb

Mahdi Motalleb

Ph.D. Candidate

Research Interests:
Smart grids, renewable energy integration, demand response applications, power system optimization, electricity market, energy smart data centers, optimization theory and applications, game theory and applications, battery energy storage system optimization, contingency management, and utilizing artificial intelligence in smart grids.

Educations/Experiences:
Mahdi is currently a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering in University of Hawaii at Manoa and Research Assistant in REDLab. He received his Master’s degree from Sharif University of Technology in 2008 and his bachelor’s degree from University of Kashan in 2006, both in Power Electrical Engineering. He has over 7 years of experience as an electrical engineer and project manager in energy and power industry, and over 5 years experience in research and teaching in power systems and smart grids.

Shawyun Sariri

Shawyun Sariri

Ph.D. Candidate

Research Interest:
Signal processing, internet of things (IoT), renewable energy resources and demand response, HVAC simulation software, machine learning and consensus algorithms.

Holm Smidt

Holm Smidt

M.S. Candidate

I’m a Graduate Student at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa and am seeking my M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Multidisclipinary research at the University has shaped my interests in and experience with machine learning, wireless network systems, cloud service systems, information systems and web application development.

Matsu Thornton

Matsu Thornton

Industry Expert & B.S. Candidate

Research Interest:

Iot Development, Power Systems, Power Electronics, Renewable Energy, Electrical Construction Technology, Photovoltaic Technology, Cybersecurity, Energy Production and Distribution, Smart Grids

 

Experience:

Matsu Thornton’s prior industry experience with renewables includes the participation in planning, design, and installation of over 1 MW of photovoltaic generation capacity since 2008. Other projects included Microsoft Search HP-ITPAC deployment, Xbox Live EMC2 storage upgrade, and Azure at the Microsoft Columbia datacenter. His current projects at REDLab include: development of embedded hardware systems for distributed sensor and control networks; control system modeling and hardware testbed design; demand response algorithm development; STEM educational support and development for K-12 in renewable research; and wave energy harvesting platforms for autonomous ocean drones and static generation systems.
Freddie Wheeler

Freddie Wheeler

M.S. Candidate

Research Interests:

Smart grids, renewable energy, demand response, cybersecurity of embedded systems, robotics

Experience:

Originally raised on Oahu, Freddie Wheeler Jr. received his B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering. He is currently pursuing a M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering here at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His current research involves creating a cyberphysical security testbed for SCADA systems.

Alumni & Collaborating Researchers

Roland R Clarke, Ph.D.

Roland R Clarke, Ph.D.

Consultant at Clarke Energy Associates

Alireza Eshragi

Alireza Eshragi

E.E. Ph.D. Candidate, University of California, Riverside

Research Interests:
Renewable energy, Hawaiian electrical grid, micro grids, solar systems, power and communication systems in Smart Grids.
Ehsan Reihani, Ph.D.

Ehsan Reihani, Ph.D.

Lecturer at California State University, Bakersfield

Yalda Sadaat

Yalda Sadaat

Center for Technology and Systems Management, University of Maryland

Lyes Saas Saoud, Ph.D.

Lyes Saas Saoud, Ph.D.

Associate Professor at University Boumerdes, Algeria

Dr. Lyes Saad Saoud was Member of Technical Committee of several international specialized conferences. He is Reviewer of Transaction on Neural Network and learning systems, IEEE, Transactions of the Institute of Measurement and Control, SAGE Publications and Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, American Institute of physics.

His recent research interests include advanced neural networks, fuzzy logic, hybrid systems, Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment, Energy Engineering and Power Technology.

Volker Schwarzer, Ph.D.

Volker Schwarzer, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Researcher at REDLab

Saeed Sepasi, Ph.D.

Saeed Sepasi, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Researcher at HNEI

Saeed joined HNEI in 2015 as a postdoctoral research associate after earning his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Hawaii in December, 2014. While pursuing his graduate studies, he was a Research Assistant with the Mechanical Engineering Department from 2011 to 2014, during which he developed adaptive methods for estimation of state of charge and state of health for battery packs, specifically Li-ion batteries, and jointly developed control algorithms for a grid-scale energy storage system deployed on the Maui Electric Company power system. Prior to pursuing his doctoral degree, he worked in industry developing electronic control boards for home appliances from 2009 to 2011 as a quality engineer. His current research interests include optimization of energy storage in smart grids, renewable energy, large-scale renewable power integration into power grids and sustainability. He is currently involved in multiple projects at HNEI including: Coconut Island DC Micro grid project and Molokai grid project.

Sasiharan Sreedharan, Ph.D.

Sasiharan Sreedharan, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Researcher at HNEI

Michael Wolf

Michael Wolf

First-Year Associate at Paul Hastngs LLP

Ashkan Zeinalzadeh, Ph.D.

Ashkan Zeinalzadeh, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Researcher at HNEI