Assistant Professor Liwei Wang, PhD
Dr. Liwei Wang joined the School of Engineering in 2014 after working as a senior scientist at ABB Sweden Corporate Research Center, Västerås, Sweden. Before that, he received his PhD degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus (January 2010).
As a PhD student, he was an Internship Researcher at ABB Switzerland Corporate Research Center, Baden-Dattwil, Switzerland. He was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of British Columbia from February 2010 to July 2010.
We asked Wang about his research, background, and favourite things about UBCO and the Okanagan.
Q: Why did you become an engineer – who or what inspired you?
A: When I was a child, I liked to read the stories about great mathematicians and physicists such as [Carl Friedrich] Gauss, [Isaac] Newton, and [Albert] Einstein. I was fascinated by their discoveries and their contributions to the advancement of knowledge. I chose an engineering career because I would like to apply the knowledge that I have learned to real-life applications.
Q: What are your research interests and current projects?
A: My research interests include power-system analysis, operation and simulation, electrical machine and drives, power semiconductors modeling and characterization, utility power electronics, and renewable energy integration. My current projects are focusing on high-power electronic converter topology, control and design for integrating large-scale renewable energy sources into power transmission grids. This has been very challenging due to remote locations and high fluctuations of the renewable energy sources. But these challenges bring great opportunities for researchers to develop energy-efficient and cost-effective power transmission technologies with minimum environment impact.
Q: What is the significance of your research?
A: This research will contribute to the development of future power-system infrastructures accommodating large-scale renewable energy sources. It will have significant impact on Canadian society and the international community by helping to solve global energy challenges and maintaining environmental sustainability.
Q: What student experiences of your own do you count as a high point or challenge?
A: I was an international student when I came to UBC Vancouver 10 years ago. Grew up in China, it was my first time to travel abroad. The new living environment, the heavy course loads, and the pressure to start my research as a new graduate student were challenging to me. I finally made it with the help of my PhD supervisor and my colleagues.
Q: Describe your lab facilities.
A: I am establishing my Power Systems and High Power Electronics Laboratory. This laboratory will facilitate the research on the future-generation AC and DC power system infrastructures and the designs of innovative high power converters for renewable energy integrations. New power converter hardware, test benches, and advanced simulation platforms will be built for various research projects. I am currently hiring graduate and undergraduate students.
Q: What engineering compound, materials, or equipment do you find most fascinating?
A: I find power electronic converters are fascinating because they are the key enabling components for the next-generation AC and DC power system infrastructures integrating renewable energy sources. Interdisciplinary research is necessary which requires a wide range of expertise in power systems, power electronics, automatic controls, semiconductors, and advanced mechanical designs.
Q: What most excites you about the future of applied sciences, and the School of Engineering?
A: The numbers of students and faculties are growing rapidly in this campus. We have talented students, excellent research facilities, and strong supports from the University. I am excited to collaborate with our colleagues in the School of Engineering as we have a variety of expertise in the applied sciences.
Q: Why did you choose to work at UBC’s Okanagan campus?
A: Although there were invitations from other Canadian universities, I finally chose UBC Okanagan to start my academic career. UBC is one of the best universities in the world, and provides an excellent research environment and supports. UBC’s Okanagan campus is growing rapidly. I would like to contribute to the growth of the School of Engineering with my expertise and my industrial experience.
Q: What do you like about living in the Okanagan?
A: I love to bring my kids to parks, orchards, and beaches. I enjoy very much outdoor activities with families. Okanagan has beautiful lakes, mountains, various wineries and farms which are really like in Switzerland. I have enjoyed the summer this year. I am expecting winter activities like skiing with families in my leisure time.