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Leon Tolbert

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UT


Dr. Leon M. Tolbert received his Bachelor's of Electrical Engineering with highest honors in 1989, M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1991, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1999 from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta.

He joined the Engineering Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1991 and worked on several electrical distribution and power quality projects at the three U.S. Department of Energy plants in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In 1997, he became a Research Engineer in the Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Research Center (PEEMRC) in the Energy and Transportation Sciences Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

He was appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 1999 and promoted to associate professor in 2005 and professor in 2010.  In 2008, he was named the Min H. Kao Professor in the department. He does research in the areas of electric power conversion, SiC power devices, multilevel converters, hybrid electric vehicles, interface with renewable and distributed energy resources, and reactive power compensation and active filters.

Dr. Tolbert is also a Senior Research Engineer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and conducts research at the National Transportation Research Center (NTRC) and in the Power and Energy Systems Group. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Tennessee, a Senior Member of the IEEE, and a member of the IEEE Industry Applications Society, IEEE Power Electronics Society, IEEE Power and Energy Society, and IEEE Industrial Electronics Society. He is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics and was elected to be an At-Large Member of the IEEE Power Electronics Society Advisory Committee for 2010 - 2012. He was the chairman of the Education Activities Committee of the IEEE Power Electronics Society from 2003-2007. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the 2001 IEEE Industry Applications Society Outstanding Young Member Award. He has had three prize papers: second prize in 1992 and first prize in 2006 from the IEEE Industry Applications Society Annual Meeting, and a prize paper in 2009 from the IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics. He has received the following awards at The University of Tennessee: the Moses A. and Mayme Brooks Distinguished Professor Award in 2010, Engineering Research Fellow Award in 2003 and 2007, Chancellor's Citation for Professional Promise in Research and Creative Achievement in 2003, Gonzalez Family Faculty Excellence Award in Research in 2004, and the Weston Fulton Award for Excellence in Research and Teaching in 2001.


H. Zhang, L. M. Tolbert, “Efficiency Impact of SiC Power Electronics for Modern Wind Turbine Full Scale Frequency Converter,” IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, vol. 58, 2011, (accepted – in press).

Y. Xu, L. M. Tolbert, J. D. Kueck, D. T. Rizy, “Voltage and Current Unbalance Compensation Using a STATCOM,” IET Proceedings on Power Electronics, vol. 3, 2010, pp. 977-988.

E. Ozdemir, S. Ozdemir, L. M. Tolbert, "Fundamental Frequency Modulated Six-Level Diode-Clamped Multilevel Inverter for Three-Phase Stand-Alone Photovoltaic System," IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, vol. 56, no. 11, Nov. 2009, pp. 4407-4415.

F. H. Khan, L. M. Tolbert, "Hybrid Electric Vehicle Power Management Solutions Based on Isolated and Non-Isolated Configurations of MMCCC Converter," IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, vol. 56, no. 8, Aug. 2009, pp. 3079-3095.

M. Chinthavali, B. Ozpineci, L. M. Tolbert, H. Zhang, “Summary of SiC Research for Transportation Applications at ORNL,” Materials Science Forum, vols. 600-603, 2009, pp. 1239-1242.

X. Yu, M. R. Starke, L. M. Tolbert, B. Ozpineci, "Fuel Cell Power Conditioning for Electric Power Applications: A Summary," IET Electric Power Applications, vol. 1, no. 5, Sept. 2007, pp. 643-656.

L. M. Tolbert, J. N. Chiasson, Z. Du, K. J. McKenzie, “Elimination of Harmonics in a Multilevel Converter with Non Equal DC Sources,” IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, vol. 41, no. 1, Jan./Feb. 2005, pp. 75-82.

L. M. Tolbert, F. Z. Peng, "Multilevel Converters as a Utility Interface for Renewable Energy Systems," IEEE Power Engineering Society Summer Meeting, July 15-20, 2000, Seattle, Washington, pp. 1271-1274.

L. M. Tolbert, F. Z. Peng, Thomas G. Habetler, "Multilevel Converters for Large Electric Drives," IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, vol. 35, no. 1, Jan./Feb. 1999, pp. 36-44.

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