On Saturday, July 14, students on the Duke Electric Vehicles Team will attempt to break the world record for most energy-efficient prototype vehicle. At the Shell EcoMarathon Americas last spring, the Pratt School of Engineering students' prototype vehicle took first place in the hydrogen fuel cell category and won a special prize for technical innovation. Team members have spent the summer tinkering with it and now project that they will beat the previous world record by about 5%. The Energy Initiative will provide periodic live updates via Facebook (@dukeuenergy) starting at 11:15 a.m. ET.
Brian Murray, director of the Duke University Energy Initiative and a faculty member at the Nicholas School of the Environment, co-edited a special section in the latest issue of Energy Economics. The section focuses on the key findings of Energy Modeling Forum Model Inter-comparison Project Number 32 (EMF 32), entitled "The EMF 32 Study on Technology and Climate Policy Strategies for Greenhouse Gas Reductions in the U.S. Electric Power Sector." The special section includes articles synthesizing the results of common policy and technology scenarios produced by the study's modeling teams as well as several companion articles focusing on particular topics the authors have modeled and mined for deeper insights.
The section features three articles co-authored by Murray (who was on the steering committee for EMF 32) as well as an article by Martin T. Ross, a senior research economist at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.
This week the Council on Foreign Relations released Digital Decarbonization, an anthology of 13 experts’ perspectives on how the unfolding of the digital revolution could help to drive a transition toward clean energy. The volume, edited by Varun Sivaram, includes an article by Duke University expert Dr. Kyle Bradbury, who outlines the transformative potential of the emerging field of energy data analytics. Bradbury is managing director of Duke’s Energy Data Analytics Lab, a group of engineers, data scientists, and social scientists who are positioning Duke University as an international leader in the emerging area of energy data analytics.
The Global Energy Access Network (GLEAN) is an interdisciplinary group of more than 50 Duke graduate and professional students who aim to advance sustainable solutions to address the world’s energy access challenges. Housed at the Duke University Energy Initiative, GLEAN received a Duke Support for Interdisciplinary Graduate Networks (D-SIGN) grant in 2016-17 and a follow-on D-SIGN grant in 2017-18. Doctoral students Yating Li and Faraz Usmani (Environmental Policy), Muye Ru (Earth & Ocean Sciences), and Heidi Vreeland (Civil & Environmental Engineering) served as coordinators in 2017-2018, and faculty sponsors are Subhrendu Pattanayak and Energy Initiative director Brian Murray. Learn about their three main initiatives for the year: a speaker series, a second volume of case studies, and the ImaginEnergy photo competition.
In March 2018, the Duke University Energy Initiative sent a team of 11 undergraduate and graduate students to Los Angeles to install solar panels in low-income neighborhoods. Organized by the nonprofit Grid Alternatives, Solar Spring Break places student teams in communities across the country, where they help homeowners save money and send more clean energy to the electric grid. Take a peek at this 2-minute video documenting the Duke students' experience.
A Duke University research team crisscrossed Paraguay in early summer 2018 on a "listening tour" to capture ideas about how the country can use its electricity surplus from Itaipu Dam to drive sustainable development. The team included cultural anthropology professor Christine Folch, undergraduate student Connor Vasu, and graduate student Emily Davenport, who is pursuing a master's degree in environmental management at the Nicholas School of the Environment.and a master's degree in business administration at the Fuqua School of Business. Check out this white paper to find out what they discovered during their journey.
This ongoing research project is supported by Duke University Energy Initiative (which awarded it an Energy Research Seed Fund grant for 2017-2018), Franklin Humanities Institute Global Brazil Lab and the Duke Brazil Initiative.
The Rocky Mountain Institute's report "The Economics of Electrifying Buildings" compares electric space and water heating to fossil fuel-sourced heat for both new construction and home retrofits. The report suggests that electrifying residential and corporate buildings with efficient heat pumps will reduce carbon emissions by 70% that otherwise come from fossil fuel based heating equipment. This report was co-authored by Duke alumna Leah Louis-Prescott (MEM'18) during her time as a master's student at the Nicholas School of the Environment.
The Duke Smart Home began as an idea proposed by a student (Mark Younger, E'03)--and took form with support from leaders at the Pratt School of Engineering and Duke University. Conceived as a living laboratory for students’ technology ideas, the house at 1402 Faber St. has grown into a hub of sustainability and innovation for both Duke students and the Durham community during its first decade. And the Duke Smart Home Club, which the Energy Initiative is proud to support, offers all Duke students grants, resources, and guidance for design projects.
A new policy brief by Jonathan Phillips (Director, Energy Access Project at Duke), Hannah Girardeau (Program Coordinator, Energy Access Project at Duke), and student Harry Masters (MEM' 18) outlines the energy financing gaps in emerging markets and analyzes how the new tools and authorities proposed under the BUILD Act legislation would equip the U.S. development finance institution to respond to those financing needs.
In spring 2018, the Duke University Energy Initiative and Global Energy Access Network supported the Nicholas School of the Environment Energy Club to organize a trip to Ocracoke Island, NC. Their aim? To learn about the island's microgrid, one of the first in the state. Here's what the students (from four schools across Duke and seven countries) discovered.
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