Photo of Dr. Fang Yang, UW-Platteville

Dr. Fang Yang

WiSys, the technology transfer arm of the 11 UW System regional comprehensive campuses, was recently awarded a U.S. patent for an invention disclosed by Dr. Fang Yang, University of Wisconsin-Platteville associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. Yang, and her co-inventor Zhao Li, of LY Grid Innovation, created a software-based micro-grid energy management system with proactive and comprehensive control.

As interest in renewable energy has grown over the past decade, so too has the micro-grid concept. Whereas a traditional power grid connects all buildings and homes to a central power source, a micro-grid can operate while connected to the grid, or independently. Micro-grids commonly use renewable energy sources, such as solar power or wind, and serve a defined geographic area—as small as a single building or campus or as large as an island or small city. An energy management system is used to operate the micro-grid, monitoring and controlling its performance.

Yang’s and Li’s invention improves upon a standard energy management system for micro-grids by better coordinating the components for more efficient energy usage. Their micro-grid energy management system increases the utilization of renewable resource capacity to meet the needs of the electricity users and utility grid, and also achieve the optimally coordinated control among renewable and other sources by combining multiple power components into the same framework. The invention will have use in smart grids and energy storage and can have a significant impact on renewable resource penetration and micro-grid application.

“Microgrids empower the local control of the electricity generation and consumption to achieve economic, environmental and energy resiliency goals for the customers and society,” said Yang. “This invention enhances micro-grid function to fill the energy needs of residential, commercial and industrial activities in an efficient and sustainable manner. Such improvement makes it more attractive to add more renewable sources, which will have a compounding effect in reducing carbon emissions and will ultimately improve the quality of life and conserve resources for future generations.”

“Dr. Yang has been a pleasure to work with over the years and we are delighted that her efforts are being recognized with this issued patent,” said WiSys’ Director of Patents and Licensing Jennifer Souter. “Her micro-grid energy management system has shown great potential in improving energy efficiency for a variety of applications and end users.

Yang’s invention is available for exclusive licensing. For more information on accessing this technology, contact WiSys at

Written by Alison Parkins