At Bosch Solar Energy headquarters in Germany, Lewis worked on the business development team, focusing his research on creating a US market strategy for Bosch based on market demand for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. He modeled demand for solar PV in the US for each market segment through 2020 and calculated other key growth metrics for the solar energy market. Additionally, Lewis developed a ranking system in which he analyzed market attractiveness for all 50 states based on different variables that influence each state’s demand for solar PV. Lewis presented his projects and findings to key staff at Bosch, and his research was utilized at the company’s annual Board of Directors meeting. Lewis is a senior majoring in Environmental Economics and Policy with a minor in Spanish. In his free time, Lewis enjoys basketball, hiking, listening to reggae, and spreading Bay Area love.
Two billion people worldwide rely on the burning of biomass for cooking and heating. Nearly two million people (mostly women and children) die from complications attributed to smoke inhalation. In countries like Nicaragua, where Mauricio spent his summer working with the non-profit blueEnergy, most people cook over traditional open fires. Efficient cook stoves use up to 50% less wood, emit less smoke, and utilize chimneys to expel most of the harmful smoke. Mauricio focused his research on efficiency concepts and designs for cook stoves and how they’ve been implemented around the world. He also built an efficient cook stove that might serve as a prototype for future stove implementation projects. Mauricio is pursuing a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies, with concentrations in restoration ecology and sustainable development. He would like to center his career on the preservation and maintenance of the planet’s remaining ecosystems, which are vital for climate change mitigation and sustaining biodiversity. At UCB he serves as the Vice-Chair & Student At-Large Representative on the Green Initiative Fund Committee. For recreation he enjoys playing instrumental guitar, the outdoors, traveling, board sports, rock climbing and cycling.
Yuanxi Chao spent his summer at Academia Sinica in Taiwan investigating proton exchange membrane hydrogen fuel cells (PEMFC), which are considered a potential clean and efficient source of power. Yuanxi focused on developing high temperature PEMFCs to maximize the output power density of a single fuel cell. His team tried to synthesize polymer membranes that have better proton conductivity and mechanical strength than commercial PEMs. Although the membranes they developed were not good enough to be used to construct a fuel cell, their tests showed that teir thicker membranes did have a much better proton conductivity than current commercial membranes, potentially increasing the efficiency of the output power. Yuanxi is a junior transfer student majoring in Physics. He received his Associate degree in Physics from San Diego Mesa College with high honors in 2011. He worked at San Diego Mesa College Tutoring Center as a Math and Physics tutor in Spring 2011. He also received the first price in the 2006 Beijing High School Student Chemistry Competition, participated in the 2006 China Teenager Radio Direction Finding Tournament, and played soccer and chess for Toledo High School in 2007.
At the Academia Sinica in Taiwan, Ritankar’s project goal was to determine what molecular factors affect electron-transfer rates in order to develop more efficient Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs), a class of efficiency-scalable solar cells. Using Time-Dependent Density Functional Theory calculations, Ritankar and colleagues found that the rate-limitingstep in the electron-transfer cycle was dye-charge recombination. This led to the development of a computer-modeled screening precursor to organic synthesis, which allowed for experimental testing of a much smaller number of targeted high-quality dyes for use in OLEDs. This screening method sped up the search for alternative energy solutions that can be implemented on a larger scale. Ritankar is a second-year engineering student interested in the interface of sustainability, research and education. He is a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar for the 2013-14 academic year and the recipient of a scholarship from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. At Berkeley, Ritankar performs research for Professor Jhih-Wei Chu on the dissolution of cellulose using molecular dynamics simulations. He is interested in learning the different approaches to tackling problems that are employed by other cultures.
Over the past decade bioethanol has been recognized as a potential fuel source by the scientific community around the world, including India. India’s growing population and scarcity of arable land are concerns that have led to the development of fuel generation processes that avoid food sources, instead using non-edible lignocellulosic biomass, like agricultural by-products, for bioethanol production. The focus of this project was to optimize and model the kinetics of the enzymatic saccharification stage of the bioethanol production process using cotton stalk as the substrate in order to identify possible inhibitory effects of the enzyme. The result of this research will help in upscaling when this bioethanol production procedure is implemented on an industrial scale. Akshita is a junior in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Materials Science and a minor in Chemistry. Originally from Florida, she grew up in Hong Kong. She is currently conducting research in Professor Maboudian’s Lab, which focuses on improving electrode material for supercapacitors to be used as energy storage devices. Akshita’s interest in alternate forms of energy began with her internship at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. In her spare time, she enjoys running, tennis, basketball, and hiking.
At EMBRAPA in Brazil, Hank investigated new and diverse uses for soybeans other than as a food and vegetable oil source. Using new research tools and purification systems, he assisted in the preliminary characterization of soybean-produced cyanovirin—a cyanobacterium protein shown to inhibit the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)—as well as in the genetic modification of soybeans to produce spider silk proteins for industrial purposes. In addition, Hank worked on improving the fatty acid content in soybean seeds for a more oxidatively stable oil, as soybeans make an ideal feedstock for biodiesel, generating more energy than required for its production. A second-year double majoring in Molecular & Cell Biology and Psychology, Hank participated in the previous Cal Energy Corps program in summer 2011. After spending eight weeks in Denmark last year and then ten weeks in Brazil this past summer, Hank is determined to travel throughout the world to experience new cultures, music, art, and food.
Emmad spent his internship at Imprint Energy getting a bird’s eye of view of starting a new tech business, from researching and developing a novel battery format to bringing that product into the marketplace. His projects included: analyzing the battery’s structures to identify how changes in the processing affected the batteries’ performance, using microscopy to analyze the electrochemistry of the battery, reviewing prior art related to the company’s patent along with future intellectual property applications, and, finally, identifying potential portable electronic applications that take into account how the nontoxicity and non-volatility of the battery can allow for a wide array of environmentally friendly products. Emmad is majoring in Legal Studies and Environmental Economics and Policy. At Cal, Emmad has enjoyed learning about the complex relationship between energy consumption and climate change. As a native of Southern California, Emmad bleeds purple and gold; he taught a Decal on the history and management of the Lakers. In his free time Emmad likes playing basketball and has recently started hiking and rock climbing.
Water is one of our most basic human needs yet nearly nine million people lack access to clean water. With the non-profit blueEnergy, Casey’s eyes were opened to this pressing need in Nicaraguan rural communities and he was able to then apply his knowledge to two projects to improve local water quality and sanitation: 1) determine an effective implementation model for future installations of the BioSand filter by interviewing local beneficiaries about their filter use, compiling this data, and identifying trends to improve future project implementation and, 2) design and build a pilot double-vaulted, composting, dry latrine to effectively treat waste while minimizing energy input for a family of nine in Bluefields, Nicaragua. Casey is a third-year majoring in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Environmental Technology and minoring in Chemistry. On campus, he conducts research in the Tullman-Ercek Group on protein secretion (specifically secreting cellulase for biofuel production). Casey is the Social Responsibilities Director for the entrepreneurship fraternity, Sigma Eta Pi, a late-night DJ for KALX radio, and the Snitch on the Berkeley Quidditch Team.
Microgrids mitigate the challenges associated with using intermittent renewable resources (like wind) by using power electronics to smoothly manage local energy supply and demand. Microgrids can function as a single, predictable system providing power and heat within the larger electric grid or independently in “islanding mode” in the event of a fault elsewhere. At the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India, Katherine assisted researchers in modeling how to integrate renewable energy sources into a microgrid. She developed a program that uses insolation data, wind speed data, and microgrid specifications to calculate the manufacturing and operating emissions and provide a holistic carbon footprint of a potential microgrid installation. Katherine is an Environmental Sciences and French double major, minoring in Energy and Resources. Academic directions that she hopes to explore after graduation, but before graduate school, include behavior, energy storage, energy efficiency, and urban design. Her interests include ethnic dance, ukulele, conservation, bike maintenance, trees, teaching, learning, knitting, and natural systems. She is deeply grateful for the countless family members, mentors, and friends who have supported her to this point in her academic and personal development.
Large renewable energy installations, such as wind or solar, are expanding world-wide but how do we store this energy when it is not needed? Sodium-ion batteries are a potential storage alternative because of their higher power density and the abundance of sodium. At the National University of Singapore, Sergio looked into sodium titanate as a potential anode material for sodium-ion batteries, comparing the performance of the pure substance with material containing a rutile titanium dioxide impurity. Sergio and his co-workers determined sodium titanate, while not close to the theoretical capacity, was very stable in performance and future research will look at how to minimize that capacity loss. Sergio is an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science major, with an interest in semiconductor device fabrication and photonics. He is an active member in UC Berkeley’s IEEE student branch, having served as its lab director for the 2010-2011 school year. He is currently a research assistant at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Molecular Foundry, working under the supervision of Dr. Zhang. His interests outside of school include running, hiking, swimming, traveling, and exploring.
Biofuel is an alternative fuel that may help to meet future energy demand. Sugarcane is a highly viable source of biofuel but the sugarcane plant’s reaction to a changing climate, including higher levels of CO2 and changing precipitation levels, must be better understood. Working at the University of São Paolo in Brazil, Joanna explored the association of elevated CO2 and water stress through biomedical analyses of sugarcane and miscanthus plants grown in elevated CO2, flooding, and water deficit conditions. The research team’s findings, when compared with results of plants grown under elevated CO2 but not in stressed water conditions, help give a more accurate picture of how these plants will react in future climate scenarios with elevated CO2 and altered patterns of precipitation. From Southern California, Joanna is a third-year Civil and Environmental Engineering major. She became interested in environmental issues in high school, and is interested in applying her education to understanding human environmental impacts and finding solutions to current environmental issues. She is a curious person who enjoys exploring new things. In her free time, Joanna enjoys reading, movie-watching and chilling.
As the world looks for more sustainable resources, scientists have turned to sugarcane, which has many diverse uses from biofuel to cosmetics. Important to developing sugarcane technology is understanding cell wall structural variability between different tissues of the sugarcane. At the Brazilian Bioethanol Lab, Jennifer measured this structural variability by probing water with new techniques like thermoporometry and sorption analysis. Results show that there is a significant difference between the parenchyma, vascular bundle, and rind cell walls. This information will inform a more accurate model of the cell walls, improving sugarcane technology and maximizing use of the sugarcane plant. Jennifer is a third-year majoring in Environmental Science. Ever since high school, Jennifer has loved plants. When she came to Berkeley, she realized the kind of energy crisis that the world is in. Since then, she has been conducting research in cellulosic biofuels. Currently, Jennifer is in a lab that researches cell wall structure in order to maximize cellulose yield. Besides researching biofuels, she spends her time doing Chinese Martial Arts.
At IIT Kharagpur in India, Rohan’s research focused on the production of bioethanol from the stalk of the cotton plant (Gossypium). Delignification, or pretreatment, is the important first step in bioethanol production from a lignocellulosic substrate. The cotton stalk is a promising substrate for ethanol production. The enzyme laccase is used to break down the plant component lignin to allow for the enzymatic degradation of cellulose and hemicellulose. Rohan’s team worked to create optimal pretreatment conditions with regard to temperature, enzyme ratio, and incubation time. The results showed delignification was effective on cotton stalks and further research is needed to complete bioethanol production for thisplant. Rohan was born in South India but has lived in the South Bay Area since he was about two years old. He is a Biochemistry major at UC Berkeley and is also a proud member of the Theta Chi Fraternity on campus. In addition to his life in the Fraternity, Rohan is a big sports fan and loves watching any of his home town teams. Once Rohan graduates, he hopes to do further research in either alternative energy or immunology.
Despite its economic status as a mid-income country, Ghana lacks adequate human waste management. Pit latrines and septic tanks are prevalent, and cesspit emptiers discharge fecal matter into lagoons, landfills, and open surface waters. Louis Kang worked with Waste Enterprisers to harness its calorific value as a fuel source, investigating various technologies capable of converting fecal sludge into solid fuel. The results show that solar drying fecal sludge can produce industrial fuel as competitive as sawdust or Grade B Coal in terms of its calorific value. Incorporating the fuel conversion technology with the existing sludge treatment system can turn fecal sludge into a profitable revenue source and significantly improve sanitation in Ghana and beyond. Louis, a freshman pursuing a joint major in Materials Science and Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, has a strong interest in energy research. At Cal, he is pursuing his passion for innovative technologies at the Inertial Storage and Recovery lab led by Professor Dennis Lieu and Professor Benson Tongue. He loves taking adventures, and, prior to enrolling at Cal, he spent a gap year earning scuba diving licenses in South East Asia. He is excited to explore Ghana and hopes to make a meaningful contribution to this innovative way of producing energy.
Alyssa joined the Joint BioEnergy Institute to investigate how plants can better retain water. As climate change disrupts precipitation patterns, increasing a plant’s ability to produce wax is one way to help them adapt. Her team increased wax production by an artificial positive feedback loop to overexpress the transcription factor SHN1 in epidermis tissues. The positive feedback loop is created by introducing a DNA fragment composed of a new copy of the SHN1 encoding sequence into the host genome. This process enhances gene expression and increases wax production. Alyssa and her team’s finding suggest that this approach could be applied to other plants, including food crops, which could have far-reaching benefits in a potentially hotter and drier future climate. Alyssa is a Molecular and Cell Biology major with a minor in Music. Her interest in engineering plants for better water efficiency was first sparked in the Bio 1B (General Biology) field study program, and she hopes to continue to work on improving the environment. In her free time, Alyssa plays the mellophone in Cal Band and is a carillonist for the bells of the Sather Tower.
At the Sustainability Division of the Siemens Energy Sector headquarters, Larissa learned to perform Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) for different Siemens energy products. The LCA process is used to calculate the carbon footprint of a product over its whole life cycle by determining the environmental impact in each life cycle phase, including raw material extraction, manufacturing, transportation, operation, and end of life. This process allows designers to determine ways to change parts of the life cycle design to minimize the product’s total impact. Using the LCA methodology described, Larissa worked with a project manager in the Power Transmission division to determine the environmental impact of a specific High Voltage Direct Current power transmission system. Larissa grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles. She is a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering, but will remain at Berkeley doing a one-year master’s program in ME. As an engineer, Larissa has gained a strong interest in renewable energy and green technologies, and hopes to one day participate in groundbreaking research to help curb climate change. In her free time, she loves to hang out with friends, hike, watch movies and TV shows, read, and cook. She is involved with Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society, as well as CalSol, the solar vehicle team.
The Caribbean coast of Nicaragua is an ideal area to test the longevity of rural, off-grid renewable energy projects in developing areas. The coastal communities are impoverished, somewhat isolated, lack electrical technicians, and have harsh environmental conditions that degrade electrical equipment. This past summer, Jonathan investigated strategies both in community education and data management to increase the efficiency of and lower maintenance costs for off-grid solar energy in these coastal communities. Jonathan’s research will help NGOs, like blueEnergy, get a better return on their investments in local solar installations and provide impoverished communities with access to a reliable, clean, and local energy source.Jonathan is pursuing degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as well as Environmental Economics and Policy. His studies focus on the efficient and equitable implementation of renewable energy technologies, with an emphasis on applications to rural and disadvantaged communities. He hopes to find new ways to use systems theory and optimization models to meet environmental and economic challenges, while ensuring that his research is motivated by the needs of communities. He is a member of the Cal Ski Team, and enjoys backpacking, rock climbing, scuba diving, and gardening at his home in Petaluma, CA.
Biofuels have great potential to reduce our fossil fuel dependency, and Brazil has harnessed much of this potential as one of the world’s leading bioethanol producers. At the Brazilian Bioethanol Laboratory, Susan screened metagenomic libraries for novel enzymes to improve the biofuel production process. Metagenomic libraries are collections of DNA from soil microorganisms that produce biomass degrading enzymes. Susan’s team used analysis of conserved regions in known forms of the xylanase gene to develop and perform a screening protocol. These efforts to discover novel enzymes effective at biomass degradation are aimed at increasing efficiency and decreasing the cost of ethanol production. Susan is majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis in Genetics and Genomics. She became interested in renewable energy after learning about biofuels. At Berkeley, when she is not working with stem cells in the Schaffer Laboratory, Susan keeps busy with a startup she recently co-founded. She also enjoys painting with acrylics, going to the RSF Pilates classes, and visiting scenic spots.
Casey joined an interdisciplinary research team to investigate the impacts of the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect in Hong Kong. She helped complete computational fluid dynamics simulations, wind tunnel tests, field studies, and gathered official planning and land-use data to plug into ArcGIS, a mapping program, to create Urban Climatic Maps (UC-Map). These UC-Maps will help planners, politicians, architects, and engineers make better decisions regarding city, infrastructure, and building designs. She also created an additional UC-Map layer of the probability of Extreme Heat Events in Hong Kong, the results of which were used in an ongoing study on the relationship between mortality data and the locations of the UHI effect. A Civil and Environmental Engineering major, Casey is interested in how the environment impacts societies, politics, and economics. Born in China, raised in New Zealand, and now completing her degree in the United States, Casey has had the privilege of living in cities around the world and appreciates their differences in size, culture, and commitment to sustainability. At Cal, she is an intern for the American Society of Civil Engineers and a structural analyst for Cal’s Concrete Canoe team. During her free time, she enjoys reading, exploring new places, hiking, and fishing.
Animesh spent the summer at the Berkeley Lab exploring materials imaging techniques for high temperature turbines. His team used MATLAB to simulate X-ray images with absorption and phase components, and compared them to experimental images collected at the Advanced Light Source. They then tested multiple approaches and materials such as bone and Silicon Carbide composites. The latter are potential materials that offer high strength at high temperatures of ~1500C. Such materials could be used to fabricate high temperature turbines which will operate more efficiently than current lower temperature turbines. Properly visualizing these materials will greatly expedite the deployment of these new materials into the marketplace. Animesh is joint-majoring in Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering. A resident of Loudonville, New York, Animesh is intrigued by the possibilities of tailoring advanced materials for customized applications. At Cal, Animesh is involved on the AIChEChemE Car Team and is a member of the curriculum team at BEAM (Berkeley Engineers and Mentors). In his free time, Animesh is either on the golf course or on the flight simulator; he is a 3-handicap golfer and an avid aviation enthusiast. He is tri-lingual and loves international travel.
Incentive programs and market interventions to promote energy efficiency projects in Central and Eastern European Union member nations have become an important tool in reducing energy consumption. A number of different programs have emerged, ranging from loan guarantees, to interest-rate subsidies and direct grants for projects. David worked with the Fraunhofer Institute for Central and Eastern Europe to research and analyze these programs, including creating a benefits and barriers analysis of the energy efficiency sector, developing an evaluation methodology, surveying existing programs, and completing case studies on Hungary and the Slovak Republic. His research and analysis informed a suite of future policy recommendations and best practices. From Livermore in the Easy Bay, David is an Economics major with a minor in Public Policy. In his free time he enjoys running, hiking, exploring, and staring at buildings and nature.
The need for clean energy sources has led to much speculation regarding the potential of algae biofuels. While algal biodiesel has been investigated, there is comparatively little research regarding bioethanol production from algae. At IIT Kharagpur in India, Jay focused his research on growing and cultivating Chlorococcum infusionum and performing a chemical composition analysis on the biomass. Using various chemical agents as pretreatment methods, Jay’s results identified 0.9% sulfuric acid at 120°C incubated for 30 minutes and 1.5% sodium hydroxide incubated for 30 minutes at 100°C as effective agents, indicating that chemical methods are a viable and cheap means of preparing algal biomass for bioethanol production. Jay has always been fascinated by biology. As a second-year Bioengineering major, he intends to eventually enter business with the goal of improving society through biological innovations. On campus, he is an active member of Phi Kappa Psi as well as a Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar. From Redding, CA, he is an avid basketball fan and loves politics.
Energy recovery from wastewater treatment is often energy intensive. Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology offers a clean alternative, consuming organic materials in wastewater for the generation of electricity. Ramya spent her summer at IIT Kharagpur in India testing different types of earthen pot MFCs: an earthen pot air-cathode MFC, an aqueous earthen pot MFC, and a conventional single-chamber MFC. Overall, the cost effective air-cathode earthen pot MFC was comparable to the single chambered MFC in terms of power density. Future work to develop these cheaper fuel cell alternatives includes preventing cathode fouling and better monitoring salinity and total dissolved solids levels within the fuel cells. Ramya is a Bioengineering major with a special interest in Synthetic Biology. At Berkeley, Ramya has worked in the Dueber Lab on scaffolding strategies to improve protein flux in in vitro systems – a subject that holds great promise for biofuel production in the future. She is a Research Lead for Engineers Without Borders, researching filter technologies to address arsenic contamination and other water quality issues in Huatta and Carancas, Peru. Ramya has always been passionate about energy and conservation. Ramya also loves Bollywood dance, hip-hop, and singing.
While many researchers remain focused on lithium-ion batteries, one of the challenges with this technology is that lithium is rare, thus threatening to drive up costs of these batteries in the future. At the National University of Singapore, Akshay focused his research on batteries that utilize sodium, a cheaper and far more abundant substance. Akshay examined two metal oxide cathodes, Fe3O4 and RuO2, both novel to the sodium system. Extensive testing of these materials demonstrated the occurrence of an unknown side-reaction, which may offset short-term capacity fade, and in some cases, may even result even in an increase of capacity. Akshay is a freshman majoring in Chemical Engineering at UC Berkeley.
Waste management is a major issue in Ghana, as most waste from pit latrines and septic tanks is dumped into the ocean or ponds. Rather than a problematic waste product, Lauren’s research with Waste Enterprisers showed that fecal sludge may be a useful, inexpensive alternative energy source. Fecal sludge may be turned into biodiesel by starting with completely dry fecal sludge. Lauren tested this method using a drying unit, a solar dryer, a dewatering unit, and a vortex separator at lab and production scale. She found that the solar dryer design worked at lab scale, but the vortex separator did not. Neither designs dried fecal sludge fast enough or well enough to be scaled up for biodiesel production. Lauren is majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. She has a background in water and wastewater from her experiences working in Tanzania over the summer and at the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board for the past two and a half years. Excited to explore the relationship between water, sanitation, and energy, Lauren hopes to apply what she has learned to the research that she will pursue in graduate school.
Solar cells composed of organic materials can be fabricated at lower costs and function at higher efficiencies. A variety of conjugated organic polymers are used in solar cells, including an organic tandem cell structure, a recent innovation that increases overall solar cell efficiency as compared to conventional solar cells. Crystal’s research at the Chinese University of Hong Kong focused on developing a good interconnecting layer between two cells in a tandem structure that is transparent, has little to no light absorption, and has sufficient conductivity for effective electron movement. Initial tests showed rather low conductivities for the interconnecting layer, but further research on other polymers will follow to create an effective structure viable for mass production. An Environmental Sciences major, with a minor in Energy and Resources, Crystal is interested in renewable energy technologies because she believes today’s societies should move away from carbon-based fuels as a major source of energy. At Cal, she is a peer advisor for the College of Natural Resources because she loves helping and meeting fellow students. As stress relief, Crystal enjoys playing basketball, tennis, and music on her guitar and piano.
Solar photovoltaic power systems offer a clean, reliable, and local energy source for developing countries as demand for energy increases and as political instability decreases the reliability of energy imports. At Suntech in China, Fanglin researched solar photovoltaic markets, analyzed solar energy adoption data, and compared renewable energy policies in developing countries in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions. She helped develop marketing materials that demonstrated how shifting to renewable energy, including solar photovoltaic systems, on a large scale can help lead to economic growth and a green future for developing countries. Fanglin, from China, is a junior majoring in Environmental Economics and Policies. She is very interested in the development of clean energy technology, especially in developing countries such as China and India. During the winter in 2010, she studied abroad in the southern part of India and worked with an NGO, conducting research on adapting clean technology in developing countries.
Cyanobacteria are marine microorganisms that use photosynthesis to convert light and a significant portion of Earth’s atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) into oxygen. Its success involves a polyhedral organelle made entirely of protein called the carboxysome. Carboxysomes provide an environment for the enzyme RuBisCO that maximizes its efficiency. At the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute, Peter’s summer research focused on better understanding one important protein of the carboxysome, CsoS2, which currently has unknown structure and function. In the future, our knowledge of the carboxysome may potentially be applied to plants to maximize the efficiency of photosynthesis or to different reaction systems to increase yields. An Integrative Biology major, Peter has been researching in the genomics laboratory at LBNL on Desulfovibrio vulgaris. He has since cultivated an appreciation for biological research and developed a desire to make a contribution to the health of the environment. Peter’s hobbies include playing piano, playing ping pong, helping others, and doing new things.
During his twelve weeks working at Bosch Solar Energy, William worked on a series of projects to determine performance of solar photovoltaic systems in different environments. One of his projects consisted of running a general simulation of battery effectiveness using actual energy consumption profiles, a PV system model, and a location-dependent climate model. William developed a script to easily run through the simulation repeatedly using varying parameters of battery capacity, location, and load profile. The results showed that the ratio of self-consumption of PV-generated power increases with battery size, but that at larger battery sizes, the effect becomes insignificant. William, a double major in Engineering Physics and Mathematics, intends to expand his background in renewable energy systems through master’s studies in power engineering at the Technical University Munich. He hopes his internship and academic experiences will lead to a career centered around sustainable technologies. At Cal, William is involved in the Cal Running Club, the Berkeley Student Cooperative, and Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society. He also enjoys piano, Frisbee, and puzzles.
Many developing countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa depend heavily on energy imports to meet local demand. Consequently, political instability in energy exporting nations may interrupt the growing energy demand in the developing world. Solar energy is a potential solution that would allow countries like Jordan to produce energy locally–using off-grid solar PV–rather than rely on politically unstable energy exporters, such as Egypt. At Suntech in China, Ping worked with the marketing team to create models for investing in solar installations throughout the developing world, research the global PV market outlook for 2012, and develop Suntech’s product quality testing webinar as a marketing tool. Ping is a Society and Environment major with a focus on Global Environmental Politics. She hopes that her experience in working with Suntech’s corporate marketing team will help shape her future career path upon graduating from Cal.
Fred spent his internship at Imprint Energy getting a bird’s eye of view of starting a new tech business, from researching and developing a novel battery format to bringing that product into the marketplace. His projects included: analyzing the battery’s structures to identify how changes in the processing affected the batteries’ performance, using microscopy to analyze the electrochemistry of the battery, reviewing prior art related to the company’s patent along with future intellectual property applications, and, finally, identifying potential portable electronic applications that take into account how the nontoxicity and non-volatility of the battery can allow for a wide array of environmentally friendly products. Fred is a Materials Science and Engineering major with an interest in electronic materials. He is a research assistant in Professor Junqiao Wu’s lab at UC Berkeley, working on developing high-efficiency thermoelectric materials. He enjoys biking, traveling, and listening to music, particularly alternative rock.
Porous materials such as metal-organic frameworks have potential for application in carbon capture and separation from flue gases in power plants. Working in the Computational Research Division at Berkeley Lab, Yiyi helped develop a large database of theoretical zeolitic imidazole frameworks (ZIFs) using the zeolite and ZIF topologies that are currently known and substituting all commercially-available imidazole derivatives into the known ZIF frameworks. This database will help find materials promising for carbon capture by running simulations on the potential materials to obtain gas adsorption isotherms for CO2 and nitrogen gas. Yiyi is a senior majoring in Chemistry. After graduation, she will be attending the University of Minnesota for graduate school in chemistry. Her hometown is Memphis, Tennessee.