Xiaomin Lu works on one of her experiments on her recent trip to India.

Coming to Windsor might have been the best move ever for a young Chinese engineering graduate student who’s trying to improve the performance of hybrid electric vehicles.

“It’s been really good for me,” said Xiaomin Lu, a PhD student who will soon return to Windsor after a productive six-week trip to India to conduct more research. “If I had stayed in China, I never would have had the opportunity to experience so much.”

Under the supervision of electrical and computer engineering professor Narayan Kar, Lu has been studying novel solutions to enhance the efficiency, performance and sustainability of existing electrified vehicle drivetrain systems and such components as electric motors, power electronic converters and chargers.

In early December, she left for the Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU) where she worked with professor Kaushik Mukherjee, a power electronics and machine drives expert. She met Dr. Mukherjee in 2011 when he was here as a visiting professor in Dr. Kar’s CHARGE lab in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation.

Specifically, Lu is working on an algorithm that would allow a vehicle charging device to connect to the power grid, and would better control the power flow between the grid and the vehicle’s battery. She’s also developing a computer model that will allow her to study the motor’s performance and predict how it will react in varying conditions, such as changes in torque.

Working in India at BESU gave her the opportunity to validate some of the findings she developed in Windsor.

“It went very well,” she said during a phone interview on her final day in India. “It was easier to access low end components and devices here, and I was able to run a lot of experiments on the machines they have.”

Originally from Guangzhou China, Lu earned her undergraduate degree at Sun Yat-sen University. After her work in India, she planned to travel home to China to visit her family before returning to Windsor.

“This was a great opportunity for her,” said Kar, a Canada Research Chair in Electrified Transportation Systems. “Xiaomin’s research has been revealing some interesting results and we’re confident that her work will ultimately contribute to improving the performance and reliability of hybrid electric vehicles.”

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