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:

The Standard Modular Hydropower team consists of research scientists, engineers, students, and consultants with expertise and capabilities across a wide range of hydropower-related disciplines. Team members currently include the following individuals:

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. Shelaine Curd is the Water Power 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 Renewable Energy 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.

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. Boualem Hadjerioua is the Water Power Energy Team Lead in the ORNL Renewable Energy Systems Group. He holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Arizona and is the SMH Principal Investigator.

Dr. Fang Han is a Hydropower Systems Research Engineer in the ORNL Renewable Energy Systems Group. She holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Dalian University of Technology and supports the SMH project in generation module research and design.

Dr. Carly Hansen is a Water Resource Engineer in the ORNL Renewable Energy Systems Group. She holds a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Utah and provides support for hydrologic, water quality, and watershed-scale analysis.

Dr. Shih-Chieh Kao is a Senior Research Staff in the ORNL Environmental Sciences Division. He holds a Ph.D. in Hydrologic Engineering from Purdue University and supports hydrologic modeling and streamflow synthetization in the SMH project.

Dr. Mirko Musa is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the ORNL Renewable Energy Systems Group. He holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota and he supports the SMH project as an expert on water power production, sediment transport, and fluvial geomorphology.

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.

Ms. Sarah Pierce is a M. S. student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the Department of Water Resource Engineering. She holds a B.S. in Biology from The Evergreen State College and provides technical support in the development of sediment connectivity for the SMH project.

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.

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.

Mr. Colin Sasthav is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Bredesen Center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He holds a B.S. in Biological Engineering from The Ohio State University and provides general engineering and modeling support for the SMH project.

Dr. Brennan Smith is the Water Power Program Manager 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 Renewable Energy Systems Group. He holds an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and leads the SMH Simulation & Modeling Capability.

Mr. William Tingen is a Post Bachelor’s Research Associate in the ORNL Renewable Energy Systems Group. He holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and Mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and provides general engineering, economic, and technical support for the SMH project.

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.

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.

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