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Winner of 2024 IEEE Medal in Power Engineering Award Inspired to Donate Cash Prize

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Professor Deepakraj (Deepak) Divan was named the recipient of the 2024 IEEE Medal in Power Engineering for his outstanding contributions to the technology associated with the generation, transmission, distribution, application, and utilization of electric power for the betterment of society.

“I feel it is a distinct honor to have been selected to receive the IEEE Power Medal, a recognition from IEEE and my peers on the contributions and impact my work has had in the field of energy,” reflects Divan.

He was notably recognized for his contributions to advanced power conversion technologies for the modern electric power grid. Deepak focuses on the challenges of the ongoing energy transition driven by steeply declining prices of new technologies such as photovoltaic solar, electric vehicles, energy storage, and green hydrogen. Divan notes, “there is a growing concern that if integration with the existing power grid is not managed well, we could face a period where energy is less reliable and more expensive. This could, in turn, slow down the adoption of clean energy technologies that help address climate change issues.”

“The energy transition represents a paradigm shift for the existing, highly centralized grid. This future grid will have to operate more like an ecosystem, with distributed and decentralized resources and loads operating together, maintaining balance and stable operation autonomously,” explains Divan. “We need to develop and deploy the various technologies needed to achieve a safe, flexible, affordable, resilient, and equitable energy system.” These concepts are at the heart of a new book, “Energy 2040 – Aligning Innovation, Economics and Decarbonization”, which Divan co-authored with Suresh Sharma.

Congruent to his awarded work, Divan and his wife, Anu Divan, have chosen to donate a portion of the medal’s cash prize to the IEEE Foundation to support the Empower A Billion Lives (EBL) program. EBL, an IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) initiative, is a global competition that Divan led as a volunteer for several cycles. EBL helps teams develop and demonstrate holistic, innovative, and impactful solutions to energy access problems that can be scaled quickly and address the imminent needs of the 750 million without electricity access.

“I believe in the transformational potential that technology offers, especially for those who have been left behind,” Divan shares. “Energy is fundamental to almost everything that we as humans need, and access to energy is a key enabler.”

Divan joined the IEEE in 1976, shortly after he graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur in India with his B.Tech. He pursued his M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Calgary in Canada. He believes his IEEE membership has provided the foundation for his professional career, giving him a global community of talented people to collaborate and accelerate the development and dissemination of knowledge.  

His passion for the EBL program mirrors this emphasis on holistic thinking and knowledge sharing. EBL arranges teams from several countries to act as “think tanks” and work together to improve access to sustainable power and electricity. The idea is to use technology as the common thread between the local teams and allow them to learn from one another, accelerating growth on a global scale.

“The most inspiring moments have been those spent with the teams, being a part of a difficult journey where they develop and demonstrate their solutions in real-world conditions,” Divan recounts. “To see the passion and commitment of these teams, from across the globe, has been truly inspiring.”

Divan is currently the director of the Center for Distributed Energy at Georgia Tech University. His award will be celebrated during the IEEE Vision, Innovation, and Challenges Summit and Honors Ceremony in Boston, MA, USA, on 3 May 2024.

If you are interested in learning how to donate a cash prize like Deepak and Anu Divan, visit the IEEE Foundation Cash Prize and Honorarium Giving webpage to learn more.

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