CNR-INM | Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche | Istituto di Ingegneria del Mare
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Maria Carmela Di Piazza

Contact information

Position Senior Research Scientist
Phone +39  091 6809813
OfficeINM Palermo
AddressVia Ugo La Malfa, 153 90146 Palermo, Italy
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Short biography

Education and qualifications
MSc and PhD degrees from the University of Palermo, Italy, in 1997 and 2001, respectively, both in Electrical Engineering.
1999-2000: Visiting scholar at the University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
Since 2001: Permanent-staff Researcher with the Italian National Research Council (CNR) at the Institute of Marine Engineering (INM) unit of Palermo, former CNR- ISSIA.
Qualification as Associate Professor of “Electrical Energy Engineering” (MIUR selection, DD n.222/2012).
Since 2012: Senior Member IEEE (member of the IEEE Power Electronics, and Industrial Electronics Societies). 

Scientific and academic activities
Since 2001 Dr. Di Piazza has participated, also with the role of scientific coordinator, in several scientific projects and activities within the CNR. She was professor on contract at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Palermo and she has tutored several research grants, internships, and MSc and doctoral theses. She has served as an expert evaluator of international research projects. She has been a member of International Conference Program International Committees and has served as a topic/track chair and session chair for international conferences. She has co-authored over 150 scientific publications, including papers published in international ISI journals and in international conference proceedings, a book and three book chapters.

Institutional responsibilities
Oct. 2014-Dec. 2016: Responsible (acting on behalf of the director) for Palermo Operating Unit of CNR -ISSIA.

Recent participation to panels/working groups
Since 2018: Referent of Project Area “Sustainable Buildings” within the Department of Engineering, ICT, Technologies for Energy and Transport (DIITET) of CNR.
2018-2019: Member of the coordination working group of the Project Area “Low emission technologies for energy” within the Department of Engineering, ICT, Technologies for Energy and Transport (DIITET) of CNR.
Since 2019: Member of the working group on HAPS (High Altitude Platform Systems), established by Departments Department of Engineering, ICT, Technologies for Energy and Transport (DIITET) and Earth System Science and Environmental Technologies (DSSTTA) of CNR.
Since 2019: Member of TC1 of IMACS (International Association for Mathematics and Computer in Simulation).
Since 2019: Member of  Implementation Working Group 5 (IWG5) of the  Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan – Energy Efficiency in Buildings.
Since 2019: Member of the Executive Committee of the Italy Chapter of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (IES).

Research interests

Shipboard electrical systems
Electric power generation by renewable sources
Power electronics and electrical drives
Energy Management Systems (EMS)
Smart micro/nano-grids

Research topics/groups

Smart technologies for sustainable and efficient energy conversion and management

Selected projects

“TecBIA: Low Environmental Impact Technologies for the production of energy on ships”
Contract between CNR and Fincantieri S.p.A. within the funding program of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) decree 01.06.2016 (budget OR9: 220k€).  
Project duration: Oct. 2018-ongoing
Topic: Definition of a new approach to the design of on-board electricity generation and distribution systems of cruise ships that provides for the integration of diesel-electric units with distributed Fuel Cell (FC) systems. In this new architecture, diesel generators are maintained to power propulsion, whereas FC-based generators form a generation system distributed over the various MVZs to meet the electrical needs of hotel services. It is planned to design an Energy Management system for the coordinated management of the various components of the electrical system.
Role: Scientific Leader of the OR9 “Definition of the architecture of the electrical distribution system on a cruise ship
“Technological Leadership”-Innovative Electrical Generation” (GEI)
Contract between CNR and Fincantieri S.p.A. within the funding program of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (MIT) 10.6.2015 n. 196 (budget of the project 1.547 k€).
Project duration: Jan. 2017-Dec. 2018
Topic: GEI project has been focused on the development of innovative technological solutions for the shipboard generation, distribution and managementof electrical energy in cruise ships. The objective has been the optimization of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, the payload maximization and the increase of reliability of the electrical system.
Role: Project Manager
Flagship Project RITmare
UO SP1-WP3-A6-UO04 (Study of the interactions between signal and power circuits on board), and UO SP1-WP3-A6-UO05 (Control of electromagnetic emissions on board). Budget of the UOs: € 300.000.
Project duration: 2012-2016
Topic: Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) analysis and mitigation on board.
Role: Scientific Leader of the two UOs
Advanced Technologies for Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Mobility
Project funded by the Italian Government (budget CNR-ISSIA 260 k€).
Project duration: 2011-2016
Topic: With reference to the spread of buildings in which passive electrical loads will coexist in the future with electrical distributed generation and storage systems, the general objective of the project has been the maximization of the buildings’ energy efficiency and the improvement of the local control of the individual distributed generation units, so to pursue the optimization of building’s electrical system as a part of an advanced smart micro-grid.
Role: Scientific Leader, within the CNR – ISSIA
TESEO – “High efficiency technologies for energy and environmental sustainability on board”
PON02_00513: Activity 1.4.4 “Analysis and design of power conversion systems (DC/AC e DC/DC)”.
Project duration: 2011-2015
Topic: Power electronic converters for on board application
Role: Scientific Leader of the Activity 1.4.4
HEROGRIDS  – “Holistic approach to EneRgy-efficient smart nanOGRIDS”
PRIN 2017 (PE7, PE8), code: 2017WA5ZT3
Project duration: 26/01/2020 – 27/1/2023
Topic: The main objective of the project HEROGRIDS is the energy efficiency optimization by means of a comprehensive design and control approach of smart nanogrids, such as those existing in future commercial, residential and industrial buildings. This is obtained by coordinating and optimizing system design at all hierarchical levels, from top to bottom.
Role: Participant

Selected publications

  • M. C. Di Piazza, G. Vitale, “Photovoltaic Sources: Modelling and Emulation”, Series: Green Energy and Technology, (2013) XVII, ISBN 978-1-4471-4378-9 (e-book), Springer Verlag, London
  • G. La Tona, M. Luna, A. Di Piazza, and M.C Di Piazza, “Towards the Real-World Deployment of EMSs for Networked Dwellings: an Embedded DP Implementation”, Applied Sciences, 2019, 9 (10), 2120
  • G. La Tona, M. Luna, A. Di Piazza, M.C Di Piazza, “Energy Management of Hybrid PV-Storage Systems for Improved Grid Integration”, IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, Vol.55 No.1, Jan-Feb. 2019 pp. 60-68
  • G. Giglia, G. Ala, M.C. Di Piazza, G. C. Giaconia, M.Luna, G. Vitale, P. Zanchetta, “Automatic EMI Filter Design for Power Electronic Converters Oriented to High Power Density”, Electronics 2018, 7(1), 9
  • M. C. Di Piazza, M. Luna, G. Petrone, G. Spagnuolo, “Translation of the Single-Diode PV Model Parameters Identified by Using Explicit Formulas”, IEEE Journal of Photovoltaic, Volume: 7 Issue: 4, 2017
  • M.C. Di Piazza, G. La Tona, M. Luna, A. Di Piazza, “A Two-Stage Energy Management System for Smart Buildings Reducing the Impact of Demand Uncertainty”, Energy and Buildings, vol. 139, March 2017, pp. 1-9
  • M. C. Di Piazza, M. Pucci, “Induction Machines Based Wind Generators with Neural Maximum Power Point Tracking and Minimum Losses Techniques”, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, Volume: 63, Issue: 2, Feb. 2016
  • M. C. Di Piazza, M. Luna, G. Vitale, “EMI Reduction in DC-Fed Electric Drives by Active Common-Mode Compensator”, IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility, Volume: 56, Issue: 5, October 2014, Page(s): 1067-1076
  • M.C. Di Piazza, M. Luna, G. Vitale, “Dynamic PV model parameter identification by least-squares regression”, IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics, 3 (2), 799-806, 2013
  • M.C. Di Piazza, G. Vitale, “Photovoltaic field emulation including dynamic and partial shadow conditions”, Applied Energy 87 (3), 814-823, 2010
  • M.C. Di Piazza, G. Tinè, G. Vitale, “An improved active common-mode voltage compensation device for induction motor drives”, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, 55 (4), 1823-1834, 2008
  • M. Sumner, B. Palethorpe, D.W.P. Thomas, P. Zanchetta, M.C. Di Piazza, “A technique for power supply harmonic impedance estimation using a controlled voltage disturbance”, IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics, 17 (2), 207-215, 2002