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Meet Energy Grand Challenge Past Interns: 2010

Solomon Abiola, 2012, Physics

Solomon Abiola

Project:
Atmospheric Pollution Monitoring Research

Adviser:
Gerard Wysocki, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering

"The goal of this research project was to develop atmospheric pollution monitoring capability utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology. There is an increased need for trace-gas sensing over large areas with high spatial and temporal resolution. To address this, there exist several technologies, with vehicular deployments gaining popularity. However, such deployments have high maintenance and ownership costs, for which low-cost UAVs would be a feasible solution. In Professor Wysocki's laboratory a new prototype of laserspectroscopic sensors have been developed in collaboration with the Mid-Infrared Technologies for Heath and the Environment (MIRTHE) Research Center to enable UAV monitoring of trace gases. During this eight week internship, I worked in a unique collaborative environment and was able to explore other environmental monitoring technologies developed by MIRTHE partners."


Raheel Anwar, 2012, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Raheel Anwar

Project:
Experiments with Thalassiosira Weissflogii (TW) in Relation to Carbon Dioxide Concentrations

Organization:
The Morel Group, Princeton University

Advisers:
Francois Morel, Albert G. Blanke, Jr., Professor of Geosciences. Yan Xu, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geosciences

"This summer I worked with the phytoplankton algae Thalassiosira weissflogii (TW) in order to study how the changing global environment, with increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, is affecting algae, the powerhouses of the ocean. TW cells are important because they are able to use a special enzyme called cadmium carbonic anhydrase (CDCA) to convert carbon dioxide into bicarbonate and vice versa. Higher carbon dioxide concentrations in the oceans, due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, result in a more acidic ocean (lower pH levels). Over the summer I did experiments to determine how these changes in pH and hence, carbon dioxide levels, affect the CDCA enzyme. I learned that higher pH levels (8.0+) mean a higher expression of the enzyme, while lower levels (7.7) result in a much lower expression of the enzyme. Another part of my research this summer was to try to isolate TW chloroplasts as a whole organelle without significant residual cell debris in order to see whether the CA enzyme was located in or outside of it. Over the summer I was able to accomplish this goal and have observed so far that CA activity does not seem to occur in the isolate but does occur in a whole cell solution." (See presentation.)


Dana Butnariu, 2013, Computer Science

Dana Butnariu

Project:
Dynamic Server Load Balancing Across Data Centers

Organziation
Computer Science Department, Princeton University

Adviser:
Jennifer Rexford, Professor of Computer Science

"During the summer I worked in the Computer Science Department at Princeton University as part of Professor Jennifer Rexford's research group. My internship project focused on developing an application that would dynamically load balance client requests across data centers in order to lower energy demands and costs. For the first half of the internship, we designed and implemented a load balancing algorithm that takes into account server position and usage when deciding which server must handle a certain client request. The algorithm tries to minimize the costs and the energy amount necessary to process the client request without sacrificing user-perceived performance. After performing the load balancing, I kept track of server usage and identified the servers which handled the least amount of client requests as part the second half of the project. These servers were then powered down and the client requests they were handling got redirected to a nearby server in order to lower the data center's energy consumption." (See presentation.)


Owen Coyle, 2012, Geosciences

Owen Coyle

Project:
Denitrification in Marine Sediment: An Unknown Environmental Feedback

Organization:
Ward Lab, Princeton University

Adviser:
Bess Ward, William J. Sinclair Professor of Geosciences. Chair, Department of Geosciences

"Using mesocosms (small simulated environments containing sediment and seawater) from Chesapeake Bay, we studied the effects of a simulated high organic material flux on the microbial communities living in the sediment. We focused on the response of the bacteria involved in classical denitrification, assessed whether the availability of organic material would favor anammox or denitrifiers, evaluated whether the sediment system could respond adequately to this unnaturally high supply of fixed nitrogen. My work to date has focused on collecting and analyzing daily water samples for various dissolved inorganic fixed nitrogen (DIN) species: ammonium, nitrate, and nitrite, as well as collecting and preparing samples for genetic and direct tracer experiments to determine the metabolic contribution of anammox and denitrifiers. While some results are still outstanding (I may revisit them on my Fall JP), using multiple box models we can draw some initial conclusions about how the microbial community responded. First, it appears that those mesocosms receiving a large influx of organic material showed higher denitrifier activity relative to anammox than did those receiving low treatments. Second, in all mesocosms, denitrifier activity appeared to lag behind anammox activity (which may be critical to the prevalence anammox bacteria given their slower growth rates relative to denitrifiers). Third, while our mesocosms were subjected to nitrogen loadings much greater than current or projected anthropogenic fluxes, microbial activity was able to acclimate relatively quickly indicating that continental shelf systems may be able to buffer future anthropogenic influxes from reaching the open ocean." (See presentation.)


Daniel Dix, 2012, Operations Research and Financial Engineering

Daniel Dix

Project:
Learning from the Past in Nuclear Physics

Adviser:
Rob Goldston, Professor of Astrophysical Sciences

"The purpose of my internship was to study the history and development of nuclear fission in the mid-1900s and learn from both past triumphs and mistakes. Over the summer, I scoured Princeton libraries for information regarding different prototype reactors, such as the Boiling Reactor Experiment (BORAX) series at Argonne National Lab, looking for technical details as well as the purpose of the reactor itself. By examining the lessons learned in the past, items applicable to the present can be highlighted, helping the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) achieve it's mission of providing a workable fusion pilot plant." (See presentation.)


Samuel Dresner, 2013, Chemical Engineering

Samuel Dresner

Project:
The Role of Zooplankton in the Sargasso Sea n Cycle: Developing Methodology for Zooplankton δ15N Fecal Pellet Analysis

Organization:
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), Bermuda

Advisers:
Bess Ward, William J. Sinclair Professor of Geosciences. Chair, Department of Geosciences

My summer project attempted to elucidate the role of zooplankton in the Sargasso Sea nitrogen cycle. My personal contribution to this larger question was to develop and carry out a method to analyze the δ15N (in permil versus atmospheric N2 = {[15N/14N)sample/(15N/14N)atm] – 1} x 1000) of zooplankton fecal pellets. As fecal pellets constitute much of the export flux from the sunlit surface waters to the deep ocean (Urrere and Knauer, 1981; Angel, 1983), we might expect the δ15N of fecal pellets at depth to be similar to those found near the sea surface. Thus, by measuring the δ15N of fecal pellets, we are essentially creating a profile of the sinking flux in the Sargasso Sea. There is conflicting evidence regarding the δ15N of fecal pellets (particularly in reference to the food source and biomass of the zooplankton). At the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study site (BATS; 31° 40’ N; 64° 10’ W), there is an observed discrepancy between the δ15N of the export flux of organic matter out of the surface ocean (δ15N = ~3 ‰; Altabet 1988) and the suspended particulate N (δ15N = -3 to 1‰; Altabet 1988, 1989; Fawcett et al. 2010 submitted). My project consequently seeked to help resolve the δ15N discrepancy and to “balance” the nitrogen isotope budget in the Sargasso Sea. Studying the marine nitrogen cycle has direct implications on the carbon cycle, particularly how much CO2 is sequestered in the depths of the ocean and consequently removed from the atmosphere." (See presentation.)


Amy Gobel, 2012, Geosciences

Amy Gobel

Project:
Source analysis and quantification of nitrogen deposition to the Sargasso Sea

Organization:
Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences, Bermuda

Adviser:
Danny Sigman, Dusenbury Professor of Geological and Geophysical Sciences. Professor of Geosciences

"The goal of this internship was to understand how anthropogenic nitrogen fixation affects nitrogen deposition in the North Atlantic Ocean. To this end, the internship consisted of three elements. First, rainwater and aerosol samples were collected at meteorological data stations at various locations in Bermuda. Second, the samples were analyzed using an ion chromatograph, an instrument that determines the concentration of specified ions within a sample. Third, the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) atmospheric modeling program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was used to determine the origin of the air masses that brought the rainwater and aerosols. The air masses were divided into two categories: those from the North American continent (containing anthropogenic nitrogen) and those from the surrounding ocean (containing biological nitrogen). Combining the data about air mass sources with the concentration data, the concentrations of anthropogenic nitrogen were compared with the concentrations of biological nitrogen. The results show that the nitrogenic ion averages weighted by volume were not different between anthropogenic and biological sources, whereas all other ions analyzed showed a significant difference between the two sources." (See presentation.)


Carolyn Hartzell, 2011, Electrical Engineering

Carolyn Hartzell

Project:
Evaluation of the Electrical Characteristics of Thin-Film Solar Cells at United Solar Ovonics

Organization:
United Solar Ovonics

Adviser:
Dr. Jeff Yang, United Solar Ovonic

"At United Solar, rather than having one large project, I had several smaller ones, and contributed to many more. I ran several experiments on a solar simulator called the Spire in order to optimize its performance and also yield results that correspond more closely to the solar spectrum. I also established and wrote an operating procedure for the calibration of the Spire. I helped install twelve solar modules outside the Troy facility and developed a program to facilitate the download and analysis of data from the modules. I analyzed the performance of these experimental solar modules as well as other modules from the roof of the Auburn Hills facility under various conditions, including different irradiances, times, and shadow coverage. In addition to these, I helped employees of United Solar with their projects or tasks when they needed an extra pair of hands." (See presentation.)


Yuting Huang, 2012, Physics

Yuting Haung

Project:
Light Output Instability of Quantum Cascade Laser

Organization:
MIRTHE Center, Princeton, NJ

Adviser:
Claire Gmachl, Professor of Electrical Engineering

"Charge instability has long been a known problem in traditional lasers. While high profile quantum cascade (QC) lasers are assumed to be stable, strong light instability is still observed in QC lasers at high currents. Finding the potential periodic behaviors in the light instability will help eliminate this instability and achieve QC lasers with optimal gain. During my internship, my group developed a MATLAB program to remotely control a QC laser and monitor up to 5,000 sequential light pulses at a fixed pulsed current each time. The light pulses revealed how the light output looks like in real time and showed that there are likely quasi-periodic light instability behaviors. We chose the region of instability on each pulse as the gate region, and calculated the average power output in the gate region for each pulse. We used fast fourier transform (FFT) to find the frequency components buried in these “noisy” data. Through this process, we have found more frequencies than we expected, and our frequency data vary between measurements. We are currently collecting more data for different lasers and are focusing on multiple positions on a light pulse instead of one gate region to avoid missing any information. " (See presentation.)


Sofia Izmailov, 2011, Chemistry

Sofia Izmailov

Project:
Design and Discovery of Optimal Molecular Scale Solar Antennas

Adviser:
Herschel Rabitz, Charles Phelps Smyth ‘16 *17 Professor of Chemistry

"The optimization of solar collectors can be approached through computational methods for molecular property prediction. The ability to predict the properties of a molecule such as a solar collector decreases the amount synthesis and testing of molecules required to find those with the desired properties. Property prediction help determine which molecules are more likely to have the desired properties or be “active” and these can then be synthesized and tested. My internship focused on developing a method for property prediction which uses a training set of laboratory data to create a map and uses an input of reaction conditions to predict reaction yield." (See presentation.)


Lavanya Jose, 2012, Computer Science

Lavanya Jose

Project:
Identifying significant real-time traffic on OpenFlow

Organization:
Computer Science, Princeton University

Adviser:
Jennifer Rexford, Professor of Computer Science

This summer, I worked in Professor Jennifer Rexford’s group in the Department of Computer Science on tools for monitoring traffic on computer networks. To this end, I developed a power-efficient algorithm for identifying "hierarchical heavy hitters" in real-time on a network using commercial hardware and commodity Ternary Content Addressable Memories (TCAMs). I then implemented the algorithm on OpenFlow, an open standard that allows researchers to run experimental protocols in production networks." (See presentation.)


Karen Krieb, 2012, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Karen Krieb

Project:
Myth Busting: Debunking Climate Myths

Organization:
Climate Central

Advisers:
Professor of Computer Science

During my internship at Climate Central, I read skeptic commentary and identified the top most common myths about climate change. I then debunked two of those myths by researching and writing scientific scripts and producing two short videos in Final Cut. I animated these videos in order to visually capture attention and creatively communicate the truth about these common myths: that snow storms mean global warming has stopped and that warming is not anthropogenic but caused by the sun.


Steve Kuei, 2012, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Steve Kuei

Project:
Polymer Crystallization on Curved Surfaces

Organization:
Loo Group, Princeton University

Adviser:
Lynn Loo

"My internship in Professor Lynn Loo’s laboratory focused on organic solar cells. In previous work, it has been shown that substrates with curved surfaces can induce preferential alignment in phase separated polymer domains. Continuing this idea, my work this summer used buckled structures made of Norland Optical Adhesive (NOA) as a substrate with both mean and gaussian curvature. I crystallized poly(3-(2'-ethyl)-hexylthiophene) (P3EHT), which has a fibrillar structure, onto these structures and analyzed them using atomic force microscopy." (See presentation.)


Zoe Li, 2012, Molecular Biology

Zoe Li

Project:
Beacon Solar Energy Project

Organization:
National Organization for Welbody, Sierra Leone

Adviser:
Mohammed Barrie

Our team of four Princeton students brought a 2kW solar power system to the Amputee Clinic in Koidu, Sierra Leone. We designed the system and worked with an NGO based in Freetown, Energy for Opportunity (EFO), to finalize the design and install it at the clinic. The system powers lights, fans, and power outlets in the clinic and will be supporting X-ray and ultrasound machines when they arrive at the clinic in the fall. We have trained clinic staff in basic maintenance of the system and hope that it will be effective for many years to come. The higher level of care that comes with having electricity to power diagnostic tools such as the X-ray and ultrasound will dramatically improve the quality of healthcare the people receive and hopefully diagnose problems when they are still easily treatable. (See presentation.)


Meghan McNulty, 2011, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Megan McNulty

Project:
Implementation of a 2 kW Solar Panel System

Organization:
Global Action Foundation, Sierra Leone

Adviser:
Elsie Sheidler

"This summer, I participated in the implementation of a 2 kW solar panel system at a rural health clinic in Kono, Sierra Leone, for the Global Action Foundation. My group worked in conjunction with Energy for Opportunity (EFO), an NGO that promotes solar energy projects, and with students from Sierra Leone's Government Technical Institute, who brought experience of actual installations." (See presentation.)


Stephanie Noble, 2012, Chemical Engineering

Stephanie Noble

Project:
Designing and Optimizing a Multi-Stage Hydrogen Pump

Organization:
Princeton University

Adviser:
Jay Benziger, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

"The hydrogen pump has been proposed as a separation process that optimizes the way in which we make clean fuel—hydrogen—from gasified coal. This process shows promise as an energetically efficient way of providing a higher purity fuel that can be used in a widespread range of applications. It may prove to be both a more efficient process and produce a higher purity yield than the conventional process of alkaline scrubbing. This summer, I joined members of Professor Jay Benzinger’s group in their efforts to confirm the hypothetical performance of a multi-stage hydrogen pump, build a program to analyze the performance and predict optimal parameters under which such a system should operate, and design a single-stage hydrogen pump to be used linearly in a multi-stage construction. Previous multistage designs were assembled and operated in order to study the effectiveness, efficiency, and durability of the process upon which we would improve. The ideal hydrogen pump would have a high energy efficiency, high extent of separation between hydrogen and carbon dioxide, and be ergonomic. We matched these criteria in our single-stage pump design and created a corresponding program that used experimentally determined parameters to return the most energetically efficient voltages at which each pump should operate." (See presentation.)


Okan Okutgen, 2011, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Okan Okutgen

Project:
Solar Water Heating in USA

Organization:
AltaTerra Research

Adviser:
Dr. Jon Guice, AltaTerra Research

"As I looked for summer internship opportunities last winter, all I knew was that I wanted to follow my passion for renewable energy. AltaTerra Research is an industry analyst and market research company with its main office south of San Francisco, near Stanford. Working there allowed me to look at renewable energy from a non-engineering point of view and learn about the wider field of ‘green business.’ On my first day my supervisor gave me an overview of all the current projects that AltaTerra is involved in so that I could I decide which one I would like to focus on. At that point I knew that I made the right internship choice, because I had the opportunity to work on what I actually care about. I chose a project on solar water heating. In my fifth week I attended InterSolar North America, a conference on photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies. I interviewed solar water heating companies and got a more immediate perspective on the market than I could get just by doing research. In the last two weeks of my internship I consolidated all my work in a draft contributing to a report to be published within the next few months. Throughout my internship I also got to experience the dynamic and intimate working atmosphere of a small Silicon Valley company. Going to lunch everyday with the entire office was definitely one the highlights of my experience. We not only bonded professionally but got to know each other’s life outside of work as well. " (See presentation.)


Kirsten Parratt, 2013, Chemical Engineering

Kirsten Parratt

Project:
How Molecular Structure Influences Device Performance in Organic Solar Cells

Organization:
Princeton University

Advisers:
Lynn Loo, Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Stephanie Lee

"This summer while working in Professor Lynn Loo’s laboratory in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, I tested fullerene derivatives for their usefulness in organic electronic applications. While organic solar cells are currently less efficient than silicon, their processing and physical characteristics make them an important area of material and energy research. My work involved incorporating the derivatives into solar cells, transistors, and single carrier diodes. Their properties could then be measured and compared. Over the course of the summer, I learned about gold/aluminum evaporation, lamination, and data analysis techniques among others. In my work, I found that the derivatives I worked with actually behaved very differently than predicted and most of my summer was spent investigating this discrepancy. In my final presentation I was able to explain why the reverse trend was observed and present some possibilities for how it could be fixed. The Loo group is an extremely supportive and welcoming lab, and I feel that I learned a great deal about the research process in addition to the topics I was investigating." (See presentation.)


Henry Rounds, 2011, Psychology

Zoe Li

Project:
Beacon Solar Energy Project

"Our team of four Princeton students brought a 2 kW solar power system to the Amputee Clinic in Koidu, Sierra Leone. We designed the system and worked with an NGO based in Freetown, Energy for Opportunity (EFO), to finalize the design and install it at the clinic. The system powers lights, fans, and power outlets in the clinic and will be supporting X-ray and ultrasound machines when they arrive at the clinic in the fall. We have trained clinic staff in basic maintenance of the system and hope that it will be effective for many years to come. The higher level of care that comes with having electricity to power diagnostic tools such as the X-ray and ultrasound will dramatically improve the quality of healthcare the people receive and hopefully diagnose problems when they are still easily treatable." (See presentation.)


Gavin Schlissel, 2013, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Gavin Schlissel

Project:
Research on Combustion in Gas Turbines and HCCL Piston Engines

Organization:
University of California, Berkeley

Adviser:
Robert Dibble, UC Berkeley

"I spent my Energy Grand Challenge internship investigating problems with wood gas filtration with Professor Robert Dibble at UC Berkeley. Wood gas is a renewable, sustainable, carbon-neutral fuel source that can easily be obtained by heating wood (without burning it) through a process called wood gasification. The gasification process releases wood gas along with tar and ash. Pure wood gas can be used to power gas turbines to generate electricity, but the process of purifying wood gas requires consumable solvents, which makes it extremely expensive. Last summer, I tested the idea that a silicon carbide diesel particulate filter—like those that catch soot in diesel cars and buses—could be used to filter tar and ash from wood gas. I hoped that because silicon carbide can withstand temperatures up to 2000˚C, it would be possible to burn the trapped tar and ash out of a clogged filter leaving the filter clean and fully functional. If the idea proved possible, it would eliminate the need for consumable solvents in the wood gas filtration process. The filter proved very effective in filtering tar and ash from wood gas, however the filter could not stand temperatures hot enough to oxidize waste ash. I determined that because the diesel particulate filter cannot be cleaned effectively, it is not a suitable replacement for current filtration systems." (See presentation.)


Katherine Song, 2011, Electrical Engineering

Katherine Song

Project:
Characterization of organic bulk heterojunction and silicon nanowire solar cells

Organization:
Palo Alto Research Center

Adviser:
Dr. Bob Street, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)

"The objective of my internship project was to characterize two types of non-traditionally structured solar cells – namely, organic bulk heterojunction cells and silicon nanowire cells. The organic solar cells, which were comprised of either a P3HT/PCBM blend or a PCDTBT/PC70BM blend, were fabricated at University of California – Santa Barbara. For these organic solar cells, which are attractive because of their low cost, low weight, and flexibility, a model was developed and experimentally tested to extract internal diode characteristics from experimentally measured photocurrent, which is affected by series resistance originating from various sources in the cell. In addition, the photoconductivity spectrum was measured to provide an estimate for the band offset of the heterojunction blend making up the cell. For the silicon nanowire solar cells, which were fabricated at PARC, photocurrent as a function of voltage and the photoconductivity spectrum were measured to determine whether the added morphology from the grown nanowires enhanced the performance of otherwise “conventional” amorphous silicon p-i-n solar cells." (See presentation.)


Laszlo Szocs, 2013, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Laszlo Szocs

Project:
Fundamental Study of the Stable Atmospheric Boundary Layer: Turbulence Exchange Processes over Ice Caps

Organization:
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Gas Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton University

Adviser:
Alexander Smits, Eugene Higgins Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Chair, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

As an intern in Professor Alexander Smits laboratory, I participated in a study of the spatial and temporal dynamics of coherent structures within the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) with the aim of improving current climate models. Using the low-speed suction tunnel at Gas Dynamics Laboratory at the Princeton University Forrestal Campus, we attempted to produce a stably stratified turbulent boundary layer (the best way to model the atmospheric boundary layer) in our wind tunnel in order to look at coherent structures (vortices, hairpins) and study its mechanics. Particle image velocimetry (PIV) and hot-wire anemometry were used to gather data about the flow. Combined with pitot-static probe data, a full 2 dimensional vector field was produced for the flow in the stream-wise direction. Analysis of these vector fields was then carried out using MATLAB programs to look for said structures. I assisted in all parts of the research: setting up the experiment, calibrating equipment, operating the wind tunnel, writing code, and carrying out analysis. (See presentation.)


Haley Thompson, 2011, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Haley Rae Thompson

Project:
Biomass Delivered Costs for CBTL Plant in the Western United States

Organization:
Princeton University

Adviser:
Eric Larson, Research Engineer, Princeton Environmental Institute

"During my summer internship, I worked with Dr. Eric Larson to determine biomass availability and transportation costs to several proposed plant sites in the Western United States. The proposed plant would co-proccess coal and biomass to create liquid fuels (CBTL), and would require up to 300,000 bdt of biomass annually. Biomass availability was determined using the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) and Timber Product Outpuf (TPO) databases created by the Forest Service (USFS) to approximate annual removals and timberland conditions in areas surrounding a potential plant site. Transportation costs were calculated using a worksheet developed by Bob Rummer to approximate costs to fell, process, and haul material from timberland to the plant site. Rail transportation costs were also calculated using coal rates from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. Based on these analyses I suggested placement for a CBTL plant near Missoula, MT." (See presentation.)


Kathleen Wade, 2011, Woodrow Wilson School

Kathleen Wade

Project:
Investing in Renewable Energy- An Update on Barriers and Proposed Solutions

Organization:
U.S. State Department, Office of Global Change

Adviser:
Barbara DeRosa-Joynt

"As a U.S. State Department Intern in the Office of Global Change, I worked alongside U.S. climate negotiators researching a range of topics from carbon finance to deforestation to multi-lateral climate partnerships. Highlights of my experience included helping to facilitate the Department of Energy's first ever Clean Energy Ministerial, which brought energy heads of state from the top emitting countries to Washington D.C. to announce new clean energy initiatives; drafting the official office comments for the finance chapter of on a preliminary report on renewable energy by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and creating a memo circulated among the directors of each office in the Oceans and Environmental Science Bureau that quantified the lifecycle carbon emissions associated with Canadian oil sands production."(See presentation.)


Sami Yabroudi, 2011, Electrical Engineering

Sami Yabroudi

Project:
Hybrid Energy Storage Strategies for Alternative

Adviser:
Craig Arnold, Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

"If we assume that at some point in the future, photovoltaics will absorb sunlight with the highest theoretical efficiency, or that the world will harvest as much wind as is ecologically responsible and in a cost effective manner, a considerable issue remains when considering the sole reliance on almost any renewable energy source. Neither the supply of this energy nor the human demand for it are constant. Wind is the most dramatic example of this, as a roaring gale one minute can give way to a stale stillness the next, while the demand for power continues to fluctuate in a manner that is independent of the changes in the day’s pressure systems. Currently, energy storage is inefficient and expensive as it is needed to function in a stochastically-varying supply and demand setting and commonly relies on one storage device only. Devices with high-energy capacity per weight are generally inefficient under high currents, and vice versa. Hybrid storage, combining commercialized storage devices in a manner that exploits complementary properties, is an immediately feasible solution. This summer, I worked with Professor Craig Arnold to develop energy allocation control algorithms for hybrid energy storage, which exploit complementary device properties in learning to predict and provision for future energy supply and demand." (See presentation.)


Neal Yuan, 2011, Molecular Biology

Neal Yuan

Project:
Beacon Solar Energy Project for Sierra Leone

Organization:
National Organization for Welbody

"The Beacon Solar Energy Project in Sierra Leone was designed to help improve the care at an amputee clinic run by Dr. Bailor Barrie and the National Organization for Welbody (NOW) in the eastern Kono region. By installing solar panels, which eliminate the unsustainable costs of using a diesel generator, the clinic will be able to run more advanced medical equipment including an X-ray machine and an ultrasound machine, as well as provide care well into the night. The trip this summer successfully accomplished our dual goal of providing renewable energy for the clinic as well as inspiring dialogue and excitement over future uses of solar energy in Sierra Leone. For this project, we collaborated with the Sierra Leone-based NGO Energy For Opportunity (EFO). EFO was critical in helping with in-country logistics and providing significant technical insight into our designs. We also worked with three students from the Government Technical Institute who were enrolled in one of the country’s first renewable energy engineering programs and were able to gain hands-on experience through our project. EFO has volunteered to be the on-the-ground contact for future technical assistance with regard to the energy system. We left a fully functioning system, and will receive weekly reports on the system’s generation and the clinic’s consumption of energy. The system contains twelve 175W panels, eight 12V 225a/h batteries, an inverter, and a charge controller. " (See presentation.)


Charles Zhang, 2013, Electrical Engineering

Charles Zhang

Project:
Optimization of Thermal Properties of Quantum Cascade Lasers Through Modeling

Adviser:
Claire Gmachl, Professor of Electrical Engineering.

"Quantum Cascade (QC) lasers in sensor systems help us monitor the health of our environment through the detection of emissions that have optical spectra that are in the mid-infrared range. Because of the costly nature of the laser and the novelty of the approach, the laser is not widely used. For the laser to be more efficient, the thermal management and optical properties of waveguides need to be more closely examined. As an intern in Professor Claire Gmachl’s group in the Department of Electrical Engineering this summer, I helped to develop the models of the QC laser design on Comsol to unable the examination of the QC optical and thermal waveguide properties. We compared the differences in laser core temperature between dry etching and wet etching showing that a 1 µm shallow etch in dry etching is better by as much as 10 Kelvin than a 15 µm deep etch, and by only 1 Kelvin between a 1 µm shallow etch and a 15 µm deep etch in wet etching. In terms of a shallow etch, dry etching is better than wet etching by a several Kelvin. These comparisons are meant to determine which profile, wet or dry etched, has better thermal properties."


Chenyu Zheng, 2012, Economics Major

Chenyu Zheng

Project:
Joint US China Collaboration of Clean Energy (JUCCCE)

Organization:
Joint US China Collaboration of Clean Energy (JUCCCE)

Advisers:
Elizabeth Campbell, JUCCCE. Lars Hedin, Director, Program in Environmental Studies Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Princeton Environmental Institute

During my internship, I shadowed the Chief of Staff of the Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy (JUCCCE) to coordinate the China Energy Forum, the first public international energy conference co-hosted with a Chinese government agency. I also worked on the JUCCCE Energy Blueprint, a forthcoming web 2.0 site serving as a clearinghouse for cleantech projects happening on the ground in China. Moreover, I helped translate key marketing collateral to facilitate the bilingual communication and understanding of materials. Lastly, I helped maintain Social Media account in Chinese domains.