Manasa Muralidharan (she/her) is a PhD Candidate in the Mechanical Engineering department at UCSD co-advised by Prof. Jan Kleissl and Prof. Patricia Hidalgo-Gonzalez. She graduated with a Bachelor in Aerospace Engineering with Distinction from Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (University), Coimbatore, India in 2017. She was a study-abroad student at UCSD for 3 semesters, where completed her undergraduate research project under Prof. Jan Kleissl. She studied the impact of shading from rooftop solar photovoltaics on building heating and cooling energy use and costs. It was her experience working on this research project that fueled her interest in the grid integration of renewable energy.
Manasa is broadly interested in distributed control, optimization, and learning for power grids with a high share of renewable and distributed energy resources. Her earlier research work was on optimal control for battery energy storage systems. As a part of an ARPA-E OPEN project, she developed a system-level optimal controller for a novel heterogeneous unifying battery system that improves state-of-health uniformity, performance, and reliability of 2nd-life electric vehicle batteries. Her current research focuses on frequency control. As a part of an ARPA-E NODES project, she developed a power flow model of the UCSD microgrid to test the microgrid response to a secondary frequency regulation request from the grid operator. She also contributed to one of the first real-world, large-scale demonstrations of distributed secondary frequency control using heterogeneous distributed energy resources on the UCSD microgrid. Her current research includes distributed frequency control and safety-guaranteed learning-based frequency control for power grids with low and time-varying inertia.