PhD candidate Levi Bieber develops advanced high-power converter topologies and controls to enable the integration of large-scale renewable energy sources into the AC power grid. Since power generated from renewable energy sources provides inconsistent amounts of power, researchers like Bieber are investigating ways to adapt existing infrastructures to handle fluctuating levels of power within systems that prefer consistent power.
After completing his BASc at the School of Engineering, Bieber jumped into a master’s program with ambitions to collaborate with Montreal-based real-time simulator company OPAL-RT, and then, after graduating, transitioning into the private sector research and development to design new and more efficient ways of transmitting power over long distances. Those aspirations have shifted slightly, as Bieber has set his sights on a PhD.
Bieber transitioned from his master’s degree in electrical engineering at UBC’s Okanagan campus into a fast-track PhD in August 2019, and recently won the Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. The $105,000 award is presented annually to top-ranked, post-graduate students based on their academic excellence, research potential, communication skills, and leadership abilities.
“Research with my supervisor Dr. Liwei Wang has been an immense driver of personal growth,” explains Bieber. “But while self-discipline is what can get you started, it has been the continual support and perseverance of both Dr. Wang and my fiancée Miya that has enabled me to put in the effort that has led me to where I am today.”
Bieber has had plenty of success along the way. He was recognized as a UBC Faculty of Applied Science Rising Star in 2018, and received a Best Paper Award at the IEEE IEMCOM 2019 Conference.
“Levi is one of the highest-caliber and truly exceptional students that I have worked with,” says Wang. “He has demonstrated strong potential to make significant technology breakthrough in the area.”
Together with Wang, Bieber is working on developing highly efficient and increasingly compact power converters that help convert direct current to alternating current: a major challenge in integrating large-scale renewable energy sources into conventional power grids.