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Office Location: EME 1.418

Robert Hebner

Director, Center for Electromechanics

Department Research Areas:

Dr. Hebner joined the University of Texas at Austin in 1999. He is the Director of the Center for Electromechanics. The Center focuses on the production, conversion, and storage of power and energy.

Prior to joining UT, Dr. Hebner served as in the role of acting Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.  He also was Deputy Director of NIST, the Chief Financial Officer of NIST, and the Director of NIST’s Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory.

Dr. Hebner also worked in the Office of Management and Budget, where he helped prepare the technology portions of the Administration’s 1990 budget; at Sandia, where he worked in accelerator design; and at the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense, where he developed programs to stimulate technical advances in semiconductor manufacturing. He has served on a number of government review teams to assess the management of technical programs in other organizations. He was the principal investigator and the government’s key witness in a celebrated court case involving an alleged novel approach to the efficient generation of electricity.

Dr. Hebner has extensive experience in international technology programs, particularly in the areas needed to support global trade. He was responsible for the modernization and operation of the watthour meter calibration service that served as the reference for all electricity metering in the United States. Being appointed by the Secretary of Energy, he serves on the DOE’s statutory Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Advisory committee.

Throughout his career, Dr. Hebner has been active technically, having received a Ph.D. in physics and having authored or coauthored more than 200 technical papers and reports. He is a past president of the Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. In addition, he has served on numerous technical committees that develop voluntary standards for the electric utility industry.


  • D., Physics, University of Missouri, Rolla, MO, 1971
  • S., Physics, University of Missouri, Rolla, MO, 1969
  • S., Physics, Mary's University, San Antonio, TX, 1967

Current Projects

  • Power systems for future electric ships, including power generation, propulsion motors, large pulsed load management, the design and control of the power system that interconnects the sources and loads, and the advanced materials used in these systems. 
  • Development of nanotechnology-based packaging materials for emerging power electronic systems for transportation electrification.
  • Development of smart sensors to enhance power system resiliency.
  • Novel protection technology for dc microgrids.
  • Life assessment of power system components in emerging electrical and thermal environments

Research Areas

  • Hydrogen Economy
  • Electrical conduction and breakdown
  • Transportation electrification
  • Nanodielectrics
  • Energy storage
  • Infrastructure for autonomy
Selected Publications
  1. Lokanathan M, Acharya PV, Ouroua A, Strank SM, Hebner RE, Bahadur V. Review of nanocomposite dielectric materials with high thermal conductivity. Proceedings of the IEEE. 2021 Jun 24Q. Xiong, X. Feng, A.L. Gattozzi, X. Liu, L. Zheng, L. Zhu, S. Ji, and R.E. Hebner, “Series Arc Fault Detection and Localization in DC Distribution System,” IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, Vol. 69, No. 1, pp. 122-134, January 2020.
  2. Y. Xu, X. Feng, J. Wang, C. Gao, R. Burgos, D. Boroyevich, R.E. Hebner, “Medium-Voltage SiC-Based Converter Laminated Bus Insulation Design and Assessment,” IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 1715-1726, September 2019.
  3. G.C. Montanari, R. Hebner, P. Morshuis, and P. Seri, “An Approach to Insulation Condition Monitoring and Life Assessment in Emerging Electrical Environments,” IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, Vol. 34, No. 4, pp. 1357-1364, August 2019.
  4. E. Doroudchi, X. Feng, S. Strank, R. E. Hebner, and J. Kyyra “Hardware-in-the-loop Test for Real-time Economic Control of a DC Microgrid,” The Journal of Engineering, Vol. 2019, No. 17, pp. 4298-4303, June 2019.
  5. R. Ghosh, P. Seri, R.E. Hebner, and G.C. Montanari, “Noise Rejection and Detection of Partial Discharges Under Repetitive Impulse Supply Voltage,” IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, (Early Access), June 2019.
  6. X. Feng, Q. Xiong, D. Wardell, A.L. Gattozzi, S.M. Strank, and R.E. Hebner, “Extra-Fast DC Distribution System Protection for Future Energy Systems,” IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, Vol. 55, No. 4, pp. 3421-3430, April 2019.
  7. A. Chapman, K. Itaoka, K. Hirose, F.T. Davidson, K. Nagasawa, A.C. Lloyd, M.E. Webber, Z. Kurban, S. Managi, T. Tamaki, M.C. Lewis, R.E. Hebner, and Y. Fujii, “A Review of Four Case Studies Assessing the Potential for Hydrogen Penetration of the Future Energy System,” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 44, No. 13, pp. 6371-6382, March 2019.
  8. Q. Xiong, S. Ji, X. Liu, X. Li, L. Zhu, X. Feng, A.L. Gattozzi, and R.E. Hebner, “Electromagnetic Radiation Characteristics of Series DC Arc Fault and Its Determining Factors,” IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, Vol. PP, No. 99, pp. 1-9, September 2018.
  9. R.E. Hebner, F.M. Uriarte, A. Kwasinski, A.L. Gattozzi, H.B. Estes, A. Anwar, R. Cairoli, R.A. Dougal, X. Feng, H-M Chou, L.J. Thomas, M. Pipattanasomporn, S. Rahman, F. Katiraei, M. Steurer, M.O. Faruque, M.A. Rios, G.A. Ramos, M.J. Mousavi, and T.J. McCoy, “Technical cross-fertilization between terrestrial microgrids and ship power systems,” Journal of Modern Power Systems and Clean Energy, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2015.
  10. C.S. Hearn, M.C. Lewis, S.B. Pratap, R.E. Hebner, F.M. Uriarte, D. Chen, and R.G. Longoria, “Utilization of Optimal Control Law to Size Grid-Level Flywheel Energy Storage,” IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 611-618, July 2013.
  11. F.M. Uriarte, A.L. Gattozzi, J.D. Herbst, H.B. Estes. T.J. Hotz, A. Kwasinski, R.E. Hebner, “A DC Arc Model for Series Faults in Low Voltage Microgrids,” IEEE Trans. Smart Grid, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 2063-2070, December 2012.