Fluid Power Student Profile: Oscar Pena, Jr.

We’ve written before about the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP)—the network of fluid power research laboratories, academic faculty, graduate and undergraduate students at seven universities—that is making a difference when it comes to preparing a better educated workforce for the fluid power industry. The CCEFP has created a 500% increase in the number of fluid power focused advanced degrees awarded in the United States, with almost half of its graduates going on to work in the fluid power industry.

Oscar Pena, Jr. is one of the students currently engaged at one of the CCEFP schools—Georgia Institute of Technology. When asked to provide a summary of his background and experiences in the CCEFP, this is what he said:

I am second year Ph.D. student at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the department of mechanical engineering.  I received a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of South Florida with a focus on structural engineering.  My interest and current research lie within fluid power.  Beyond a graduate degree, my future plans are to enter the fluid power industry with hopes of acquiring a long term position that will allow me to further develop the theoretical and critical thinking skills acquired in academia, as well as the professional skills that are needed in the private sector.


The CCEFP, along with the National GEM Consortium, have provided me funding for the first year of my graduate study.  The research supported by the center includes a new hydraulic architecture (patent pending) for hydraulically actuated systems.  In particular, the goal is to innovate upon current hydraulically actuated elevators with a new architecture that, via a hydraulic transformer, regenerates energy and achieves a more efficient elevator operation.  The research includes completed work in hydraulic circuit modeling and simulation, hydraulic component sizing and cost minimization, control strategy development for the new architecture, and analyses of the merits of the new architecture in the form of improved efficiency and lower energy consumption as compared to contemporary hydraulic elevators.  My current focus encompasses the use of advanced optimization methods (Dynamic Programming) to further improve efficiency of the system.


I have a deep interest in international politics and world history, particularly with a focus on Latin America.  I’m an avid language learner; currently I am working on perfecting my proficiency in Portuguese and moving into intermediate study of French.  I am a big fan of soccer, both playing and watching, and find strategy card/board games particularly entertaining.  

Oscar Pena, Jr. may be reached directly at orpena@gatech.edu.

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