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Husain, Kudenov Receive 2022 Alcoa Foundation Awards

The NC State Belltower against a blue sky, with flowering trees in the foreground

Iqbal Husain and Michael Kudenov, two exceptional College of Engineering faculty members, received the 2022 Alcoa Foundation Engineering Research Awards at the spring faculty meeting earlier this month.

Husain, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the FREEDM Systems Center, is the recipient of the Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award, which is given to a senior faculty member for research achievements made over a period of at least five years at NC State. Kudenov, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, received the Alcoa Foundation Engineering Research Achievement Award, which recognizes young faculty members for significant research contributions during the preceding three years.

Iqbal Husain

Iqbal Husain

Husain is an internationally renowned researcher whose work has led to a wide variety of industrial applications, including in power distribution, renewable energy generation and electric and hybrid vehicles. His research and education activities are influenced by the need for decarbonization to address global energy supply challenges and environmental concerns. Over the past five years, he has focused on power system and microgrid controls, system protection components and controls, high performance traction inverters, high power electric vehicle charging, and electric machine designs which contribute to renewable energy integration into the power grid and transportation electrification.

He has recently been pioneering permanent magnet electric machine designs that can achieve an aggressive >50 kilowatt/liter power density for electric traction applications without the use of heavy rare-earth materials, funded by the Department of Energy Electric Drivetrain project. He also led the FREEDM Systems Center through its graduation from National Science Foundation (NSF) funding. Husain incorporated the solid state transformer, developed during the NSF-funded period of 2008-18, into an extreme fast charger application for electric transportation, which is one of his major research contributions. He is also the author of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles: Design Fundamentals, which is used by universities around the world, and published its third edition in 2021.

Michael Kudenov

Michael Kudenov

Kudenov is known for his creative, outstanding work in optical sensing and the establishment of interdisciplinary research collaborations at NC State. He has helped create new research directions for the College of Engineering in partnership with faculty members from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). His research interests are primarily focused in optical and remote sensing, optical design, polarimetry and spectral imaging, with applications spanning space situational awareness, quality control and testing. 

More recently, Kudenov’s research has also focused on high throughput phenotyping in agriculture and plant breeding. He has worked on several projects with CALS faculty members aimed at using artificial intelligence and engineering systems and sensors to help improve agricultural yields, reduce disease and mitigate the effects of climate change. In 2021, Kudenov and his research group published a paper on a biologically inspired optical sensor they developed that is small enough to fit in a smartphone and capable of hyperspectral and polarimetric imaging. The sensor, inspired by the eyes of a mantis shrimp, helps make smaller, more user-friendly devices possible, increasing the use of AI capabilities across many fields.

This post was originally published in College of Engineering News.