News Release: NREL Fills Key Leadership Role for Energy Systems Security and Resilience

April 6, 2015

Dr. Erfan Ibrahim has joined the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory as director of Cyber Physical Systems Security and Resilience for NREL's Energy Systems Integration directorate. This critical area of research and development addresses the challenges of integrating clean energy sources into the national energy infrastructure.

"Erfan's experience, creativity and vision complements our existing capabilities with respect to energy system integration," Deputy Laboratory Director for Science and Technology Dana Christensen said. "He will help NREL partner effectively with leading innovators and institutions to ensure that we keep our energy systems secure and resilient, even as we modernize them for the future." 

In his new position, Ibrahim will work with a variety of stakeholders and subject matter experts to develop cyber-physical systems security testing methodologies and resilience best practices that will enable the safe and reliable integration of emerging clean energy technologies onto the nation's electric grid, pipeline systems and other important energy infrastructures. Much of this work will be conducted using the unique "grid in a box" capabilities of the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF).

Ibrahim has served multiple roles in the public and private sectors as an independent consultant. Before joining NREL, he led the energy practice at Scitor Corporation where he built relationships with utilities, vendors, state and federal agencies, national labs and academia. He also served as the chief scientist and strategic innovations director for the GridSTAR project at Penn State University, an Energy Department-funded workforce development and education initiative based at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The project featured a grid-connected microgrid testing facility consisting of a smart home, electricity storage, an electric vehicle charging station and solar panels. 

Since January 2012, Ibrahim has maintained the Smart Grid Educational Series, a forum offering monthly seminars and webinars on a wide variety of topics in smart grid, cleantech and energy efficiency. 

Ibrahim served as a technical executive for power delivery and utilization at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) from 2008 to 2011. There, he led the research on communications, systems management and cyber security infrastructure for the smart utility grid. While at EPRI, Ibrahim helped lead the establishment of the National Electric Sector Cybersecurity Organization Resource (NESCOR), a broad-based public-private partnership between the electric power industry and the Energy Department intended to strengthen the cyber security posture of the electric sector.

Ibrahim holds a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor of science degree in physics from Syracuse University.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.


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—Heather Lammers