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Yilu LiuOn Super Bowl Sunday, when over 100 million viewers take a commercial break to open the refrigerator, put something in the microwave or use the bathroom, they will probably contribute to a surge in the nation’s power grid.

Last week, as part of UT’s Dinner and Dialogue program, Yilu Liu, who holds the Governor’s Chair at the UT College of Engineering, described how the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is working to learn how to control the power grid. The university has placed monitors in 80 locations across the country to measure electric usage. UT Knoxville hopes to place the monitors in 2,000 locations.

“To avoid a blackout, power generation and power usage need to be balanced,” Liu said. “Our work is to develop sensors that have a much finer resolution than what is standard in the industry. We are working on something that has never been done before.”

Liu is an expert in technologies used to monitor power grids and an innovator who is helping develop the next-generation “smart grid,” which will more effectively move energy from where it is generated to where it is used.