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Photograph of Richard Zhang
Richard Zhang
Position: Professor, Hugh P. and Ethel C. Kelly Chair
Office: 900 North Glebe Road, Rm. 4-014; Arlington, VA
Phone: (571) 858-3180
Richard Zhang received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Tsinghua University in 1989 and 1993, respectively, and his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech in 1998.

Dr. Zhang is the former Chief Technology Officer of GE’s Grid Integration Solutions – a $1B business focusing on High Voltage DC Transmission and Flexible AC Transmission Systems (HVDC & FACTS). Prior to joining Virginia Tech in 2021, Dr. Zhang was an Executive leader holding various technology and business leadership positions during his 22 years of career with GE in various GE organizations, such as GE Global Research Center, GE Oil & Gas, GE Power Conversion, GE Renewables, and GE Energy Connection.

During 1998-2008, Dr. Zhang led power electronics research at GE Global Research Center serving all GE industrial businesses, including GE Oil & Gas, GE Aviation, GE Renewables, GE Power, GE Healthcare, GE Transportation, GE Lighting, GE Appliance, and GE Industrial Systems, as well as working with government agencies, such as DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), ONR (Office of Naval Research), and DOE (Department Energy), to advance the frontier of power electronics technologies.

From 2008 to 2016, Dr. Zhang led power electronics, rotating machine, and automation technologies in GE Oil & Gas, GE Power Conversion, GE Renewables, GE Energy Connection, and GE Grid Integration Solutions, based in France, China, and the UK. He led diverse global teams with more than 600 people that span 22 sites in 9 different countries (US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Finland, China, India, Brazil). Most recently, the advanced HVDC valve and HVDC control technology that Dr. Zhang led resulted in GE winning the 1.4 GW HVDC project in the North Sea in the UK – the world's largest and longest distance offshore HVDC project for offshore wind farm tie-back.

Richard served as Chairman of Industrial Advisory Board for CPES at Virginia Tech; served as Chairman, Board of Directors for Powerex - a power semiconductor and packaging company in the US; served as a steering committee member for SuperGrid Institute SAS in France; and served as an AdCom member for IEEE Power Electronics Society.

Dr. Zhang has 47 journal and conference publications and invited talks, including 4 IEEE Transaction Award Papers. Dr. Zhang has over 105 global patents granted or pending in 42 patent families. Dr. Zhang is a Fellow of IEEE for his technical leadership in the development of high-power electronics.

Research Interests:

  • EV fast-charging stations
  • Control and modeling for grid integration of renewables
  • High power electronics for utility-scale energy storage and H2 production
  • WBG device applications in MV/HV high power converters
  • DC Circuit Breaker
  • ML/AI application in high power electronics systems

Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, Virginia Tech 1998
M.S., Electrical Engineering, Tsinghua University 1993
B.S., Electrical Engineering, Tsinghua University 1989

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