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Russ College professor awarded grant for 5G technology research

Published: May 26, 2021 Author: Isaac Miller

A professor in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology was awarded a grant of $399,481 by the U.S. Department of Energy to study and report on 5G wireless cellular technologies.

The grant, titled “Enabling The Next Generation of Smart Sensors in Coal Fired Power Plants using Cellular 5G Technology,” was awarded to Assistant Professor Jay Wilhelm. He said the grant’s purpose is for him to investigate how 5G communications can be used with regular industrial sensors and how they perform in power plant settings. Ohio University is working with West Virginia University (WVU) and American Electric Power to study and report on 5G benefits.

“5G is really an upcoming new standard for cellular devices that communicate wirelessly,” Wilhelm said.

5G adds higher speed and decreased delay in sending data. 5G utilizes ultra-wide band frequency operation that allows it to compensate for electromagnetic interference in noisy environments. Industrial settings sometimes have radio frequency noise that makes things not work well.

“What we want to do is take advantage of this ability to have better, faster data transfer and more resilience for an industrial setting like a power plant,” Wilhelm said.

Wilhelm said the grant allows him to use his expertise to provide data to the Department of Energy to help them make regulatory decisions. The overall goal is to lower operational costs.

Graduate students from OHIO and WVU will be employed and trained with the technology and will work together to exchange information and gather laboratory results.

“That’s how they get their degrees,” Wilhelm said. “They have to go through a process of doing research and writing about it and learning new things.”