SMH Research Team

Leveraging expertise within and beyond ORNL

The Standard Modular Hydropower (SMH) Research Team represents a diverse network of hydropower and subject matter experts with a common goal of creating a meaningful, stakeholder-validated framework for conceptualizing and demonstrating SMH technologies. Successful project execution may support Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs), Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), and Interagency Agreements (IAAs) to foster SMH technology advancement.

For more information on the SMH project or to get involved, Contact Us.

Team Biographies:

Mr. Benjamin Abban is a Ph.D. Student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He holds a M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Cape Town and supports the SMH project as an expert in hydraulic structures design, sediment transport, and fluvial geomorphology.

Dr. Mark Bevelhimer is an Aquatic Ecologist in the ORNL Aquatic Ecology Group. He holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Tennessee and leads the SMH Site Classification Scheme.

Mr. Norman Bishop, Jr. is a Professional Engineer and Senior Executive Project Engineer at Knight Pièsold and Co. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of Denver and supports the SMH project as a design specialist and industry liaison.

Ms. Rebecca Brink is a Post-Bachelors Research Associate in ORNL’s Energy-Water Resource Systems Group. She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and provides general engineering and technical support for the SMH project.

Mr. Tim Burress is the Electric Machines Team Lead in the ORNL Power Electronics & Electric Machinery Group. He holds an M.S. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Tennessee and supports the SMH project as an expert in power electronics and electric machines design.

Ms. Shelaine Curd is the Energy-Water Resource Systems Operations Manager in the ORNL Environmental Sciences Division. She holds an M.S. in Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology from Frostburg State University and Project Management Professional Certification from the Project Management Institute and is the SMH Project Manager.

Mr. Scott DeNeale is a Water Resources Engineer in the ORNL Energy-Water Resource Systems Group. He holds an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Tennessee and is the SMH Deputy Project Manager.

Mr. Chris DeRolph is a Geospatial Scientist in the ORNL Aquatic Ecology Group. He holds an M.S. in GIS/Natural Resources from North Carolina State University and a GIS Professional certification (license No. 90556 from GISCI) and supports the SMH project as an expert in geospatial analysis.

Mr. Reza Djeddi is a Ph.D. Student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering. He holds a M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Tennessee and supports the SMH project through hydrodynamics and hydroelastics research.

Dr. Kivanc Ekici is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the Department Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering. He holds a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University and supports the SMH project as an expert in hydrodynamics and hydroelastics.

Dr. Ryan McManamay is an Aquatic Ecologist in the ORNL Aquatic Ecology Group. He holds a Ph.D. in Fish and Wildlife Conservation from Virginia Tech and supports the SMH project as an expert in geospatial analysis and site classification.

Mr. Miles Mobley is a Post-Bachelors Research Associate in the ORNL Energy-Water Resource Systems Group. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and provides general engineering and technical support for the SMH project.

Dr. Thanos Papanicolaou is a Goodrich Chair of Excellence Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He holds a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech and supports the SMH project as an expert in hydraulic structures design, sediment transport, and fluvial geomorphology.

Dr. Brenda Pracheil is an Aquatic Ecologist in the ORNL Aquatic Ecology Group. She holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Nebraska and supports the SMH project as an expert in sustainable and ecological design optimization.

Dr. Jason Pries is an Electric Machinery Designer in the ORNL Electric Machines Team. He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan and supports the SMH project as an expert in power electronics and electric machine design.

Ms. Kelsey Rugani is a Director of Kearns & West. She holds a B.S. in Agriculture Science and Agriculture Communications from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and supports the SMH project as a co-facilitator and stakeholder engagement coordinator, also bringing hydropower expertise.

Dr. Brennan Smith is the Water Power Program Manager and Energy-Water Resource Systems Group Lead in the ORNL Environmental Sciences Division. He holds Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Hydraulics) from the University of Iowa and provides general strategic and technical expertise for the SMH project.

Mr. Kevin Stewart is a Water Resources & Hydraulic Engineer in the ORNL Energy-Water Resource Systems Group. He holds an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and leads the SMH Simulation & Modeling Capability.

Mr. Matthew Whisenant is a Ph.D. Student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering. He holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Tennessee and supports the SMH project through hydrodynamics and hydroelastics research.

Dr. Adam Witt is a Hydropower Systems Research Engineer in the ORNL Energy-Water Resource Systems Group. He holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota and is the SMH Principal Investigator.

Ms. Anna West  is a principal and co-founder of Kearns & West. She brings more than 30 years-experience designing, convening, facilitating, and engaging diverse stakeholders in collaborative processes, including hydropower, and supports the SMH project as the lead facilitator and stakeholder engagement advisor.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy