Energy Workshop gives researchers window to each others’ work

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Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 12:54 pm

What are the dynamics of water flow in underground shale deposits? How are experiments in alternative fuels advancing? What social and economic factors weigh into choices for cookstove fuels in developing countries? Where is the federal government headed on climate change policy? And what can we learn from Duke University’s energy consumption?

Almost two dozen energy researchers at Duke recently presented their ongoing work and findings at a daylong Energy Research Collaboration Workshop sponsored by the Energy Initiative on May 7. Topics ranged from energy modeling, computation and analytics to energy’s environmental impact to power modeling to emerging energy policies.

Energy Initiative Director Richard Newell, the Gendell Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics at the Nicholas School, acted as the event host, welcoming the group to our first research collaboration workshop and, at lunch, giving a deeper explanation of the Energy Initiative’s activities and goals.

The presenters represented a wide range of Duke units, including the Pratt School of Engineering, the Nicholas School of the Environment and Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, the Sanford School of Public Policy, Trinity College’s chemistry and computer science departments, Trinity Economics’ Triangle Census Research Data Center, the Energy Initiative itself, and even the Duke Lemur Center.

Most of the presentations were made in “sketches” – five-minute presentations where the researchers briefly outlined their studies and findings. Each group of three to six sketches fell under broad groupings: energy modeling, computation and analytics; energy technology; and electric power modeling. After each group, the presenters and audience members engaged in a half-hour discussion session.

Groups of researchers took a team approach in two panel discussions, with one covering emerging energy and environmental policy issues, and the other addressing the effects and drivers of energy poverty in developing countries.

Two researchers gave presentations of papers. Pratt associate professor Guglielmo Scovazzi discussed his work in modeling flow dynamics of geologic reservoirs, while Avner Vengosh (pictured left) of the Nicholas School of the Environment discussed the environmental risks of shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing.

The event wrapped up with poster presentations at our monthly Energy Mix, a reception that allows Duke’s energy researchers, staff and students a chance to socialize with guests from the region’s energy businesses, agencies and nonprofits.

The Energy Initiative hopes to repeat this event or one similar to help Duke researchers, faculty and students stay up to date on each others' work and explore ways to team up. Also suggested was a workshop that would include industry and government representatives as well as researchers from other universities to open an even wider range of opportunities for collaboration. Keep an eye on our website for updates as these plans develop.



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