News of EEM Students and Faculty

Ed
January 13, 2022

In November 2021, Dr. Ed Saltzberg, EEMI’s Director of Professional Education, received the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award from Leaders in Energy as a notable Climate Educator. Ed’s citation can be seen at https://leadersinenergy.org/event/2021-four-gen-awards/.

Prof. Scott Sklar, EEMI Director of Sustainable Energy, was quoted in several media pieces on the topic of climate change. WUSA-CBS9 quoted him in the August 23 piece “VERIFY: Yes, the UN report says human-induced climate change has caused some damage that’s irreversible for centuries,’’ as well as in the August 11 piece “A UN report says the climate crisis is here. How should you prepare?” and the August 9 piece “More natural disasters ahead if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t slashed | UN Climate Report.” CNN also quoted him in the August 12 article “Bill Gates pledges $1.5 billion to climate projects in the infrastructure bill.’’ 

Sklar

In addition, Prof. Sklar was featured in an Al Jazeera English television news program on global climate change. The program was sparked by the recent record-breaking heatwave in western Canada and the US, causing a spike in heat-related deaths, with officials warning that the weather is likely to remain at scorching levels.

In October 2021, EEM Master of Science graduate Mimi Nguyen began a new position as a Solution Development Engineer GRP Wegman. Mimi reported that the company was very impressed by her EEM educational background. Previously, Mimi worked at Parkland College as an Environmental Sustainability & Safety Specialist since 2019. In that pos

ition, she developed and monitored different protocols to ensure the college's compliance with regulations, provided training to our staff and chaired the Green Revolving Fund Committee, overseeing in-house sustainability funding. She also worked closely with the Illinois Green Economy Network and Smart Energy Design Assistance Center to find energy-efficiency-related funding opportunities for the college, develop a Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory and a Net Zero Plan, and implemented sustainability components into many of Parkland’s courses.

StratosThe U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Agency for International Development published a book by Dr. Stratos Tavoulareas, EEMI Energy Advisor and professional short course instructor in November 2021. The book, entitled “Understanding Power Transmission Financing,” provides an overview of the financing alternatives for power transactions and the advantages and disadvantages of each, and outlines options for accessing finance and creating opportunities for private participation in the development of transmission infrastructure to meet energy access and carbon reduction goals in Africa. The USAID Power Africa and Commercial Law Development Programs, in conjunction with the Africa Legal Support Facility, supported the book preparation project. Information about the book can be seen at https://cldp.doc.gov/Understanding.

EEMI Internal Affiliate Dr. Payman Dehghanian received a three-year, $360,000 National Science Foundation grant for the project “Mobility-As-A-Service for Resilience Delivery in Power Grids: Stochastic Programming Advancements under Decision-Dependent Uncertainties.” As power grids are constantly subject to potential extreme emergencies that may leave communities without electricity and pose critical threats to health and public safety, this project aims to offer a new decision-making paradigm to deploy mobile power sources (e.g., mobile energy storage systems, mobile emergency generators, electric vehicles, and electric buses) to enhance the resilience of communities and critical infrastructures when facing extreme events.

ResearchGate, the European commercial networking site for scientists and researchers, announced on November 10, 2021, that the paper "Water Policy in the United States: A Perspective" authored by EEM doctoral graduate Dr. Jerry Sherk and EEM Lead Professor Jonathan Deason reached 1,500 downloads. The paper originally was published in Water Policy Journal, an important peer reviewed journal.

In October 2021, Dr. John Paul Helveston was awarded a one-year, $31,268 grant by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Energy & Environment Program to improve the measurement of consumer preferences for alternative electric vehicle financial incentives in order to identify more efficient and equitable incentive designs. The grant is titled “Identifying more efficient and equitable plug-in electric vehicle financial incentives through consumer-centric design.”

Dr. Ekundayo Shittu and his collaborators published the following paper “Examining the Food-Energy-Water-Environment Nexus in Transboundary River Basins through a Human Dimension Lens: Columbia River Basin” in the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management in October 2021. Dayo also gave an invited talk at the Annual Distinguished Scientist and Engineers Seminar Series of the University of Massachusetts Amherst (his alma mater). His presentation was entitled “Examining Equitable Accessibility in Sustainability Transitions: Utilities’ Solar Deployment and Low-Middle-Income Households.”

Prof. Scott Sklar, EEMI’s Director of Sustainable Energy, appeared as a guest on the WYPR-FM, Baltimore “Midday” program on the topic “COP26: What America's return means for the global climate talks.” A recording of the program can be seen at https://www.wypr.org/show/midday/2021-11-02/cop26-what-americas-return-means-for-the-global-climate-talkso. In a related program, Spectrum News interviewed Prof. Sklar on the program “Climate Change: Beyond the tipping Point.”  A recording of that program can be seen at https://mms.tveyes.com/MediaCenterPlayer.aspx?u=aHR0cDovL21lZGlhY2VudGVyLnR2ZXllcy5jb20vZG93bmxvYWRnYXRld2F5LmFzcHg%2FVXNlcklEPTMzNDE4OSZNRElEPTE2MDkwNzYzJk1EU2VlZD01Nzg3JlR5cGU9TWVkaWE%3D

JonassenDr. Rachael Jonassen, Director of EEMI’s Climate Change Program, together with two other members of the GW delegation to the UNFCCC 26th Conference of the Parties in Glasgow (Prof. Robert Orttung, Sustainable GW Research Director, and Jane Barkholz, GW Senior, Sustainable GW), along with Dr. Ed Saltzberg, EEMI’s Director of Professional Education, met with members of the UNFCCC Secretariat in Glasgow to discuss a partnership between GW and the UNFCCC. Possible areas of focus include continuous education of negotiators in developing countries, enhancing the impact of youth, furthering use of Clean Development Mechanism offsets, and designing sustainable events in a time of Covid-19 and other disruptions. Some activities may include cooperative funding from other UNFCCC partners such as large corporations and foundations.

On November 2, 2021, Dr. Ekundayo Shittu presented a research poster titled “Replacement Analysis of Hydropower Plants with Renewable Energy Portfolios under Policy Uncertainty” at the 8th Arab-American Frontiers of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Symposium that was hosted by the Hamad Bin Khalifa University. Dayo presented the poster under the theme “Modeling the Food-Energy-Water Nexus to Inform Technology Choices.” The symposium, sponsored by USAID, the U.S. National Science Foundation, and Qatar National Research Fund, aims to build research bridges between the Arab region under the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) umbrella and the U.S. The presentations at this symposium were invited in a competitive selection process.

On Nonmember 9, 2021, Prof. Scott Sklar was quoted in the Bloomberg news article “Biden Urges Net-Zero Aviation by 2050 in Huge Leap Beyond Cars/” In the article, Scott said

“Petroleum is their largest cost and it has very high peaks historically that puts them on the brink of bankruptcy,” Sklar said about the airline industry that “having domestic fuels that can either be blended or replace petroleum at those higher cost peaks makes them more stable over the long-term period.” He also appeared in an October 29 CNN Newsource broadcast about President Biden’s climate policy goals as he heads to COP26 and expectations are for that summit.

Dr. Ekundayo Shittu and his PhD student Dor Hirsh Bar Gai, along with EEMI active members Dr. Saniya LeBlanc, Dr. Payman Dehghanian and Prof. Scott Sklar, published the paper “Examining community solar programs to understand accessibility and investment: Evidence from the U.S,” in Energy Policy in October 2021.

Payman

EEMI stalwart member Dr. Payman Dehghanian presented a SEAS WOW talk on “Electrical and Computer Engineering Distributed Intelligence for Online Situational Awareness and Resilience in Power Grids” on September 8, 2021.

In October 2021, EEM graduate Chris Perry accepted a position in the Department of Energy’s Building Energy Codes Program. That is part of the DOE Buildings Technology Office, and Chris reports that he is working on a variety of things, with a big focus will be helping states and jurisdictions adopt and implement new building energy codes.

On September 17, 2021, the influential website OurEnergyPolciy published an article entitled “Extreme Weather Events: Multi-Pathway Approaches Within Our Grasp” by Prof. Scott Sklar, Director of Sustainable Energy for the SEAS Environmental & Energy Management Institute. In his article, citing that fact that the year 2021 already has outpaced 2020 in terms of extreme weather events, Prof. Sklar sets forth four steps that need to be undertaken immediately to respond to this current and increasing problem of failures of the U.S. electricity grid during extreme weather events. The article can be seen at https://www.ourenergypolicy.org/extreme-weather-events/.

In October 2021, EEMI Visiting Scholar Jimmy Jia’s chapter entitled “If everything’s connected, where do we start”? was published in the new boon Personal Sustainability Practices. In his chapter, Prof. Jia explains that educators of sustainability can easily point out the non-linear complexities of human impact on the climate but have difficulty pinpointing the impact of daily personal activities and consumption choices. Current sustainability strategies struggle to recognize and account for the interconnectedness of our socio-environmental-economic systems and subsystems. He introduces a methodology to teach how mitigating actions taken in one system will impact and ripple through adjacent systems. The book can be seen at https://www.elgaronline.com/view/edcoll/9781800375123/9781800375123.00014.xml.

EEMI Affiliate Dr. Payman Dehghanian was selected to receive the Washington Academy of Sciences’ 2021 Early Career Award in Electrical and Computer Engineering. The award was presented to him at the Academy’s annual banquet on September 9. The citation for Dr. Dehghanian’s award read: “For enhancing the reliability, resilience, and operational endurance of the nation’s electric power delivery infrastructure against environmental stressors and man-made cyber and physical threats.”  

Dr. John Helveston was quoted in an August 23 StorageCafe article about the future of electric vehicle adoption in the US, “The Future Is Electric: The San Jose, SF, and LA Metros Are Tops For Electric Cars With PHX and Portland Speeding Up To Enter the EV Race.”

EEMI Internal Affiliate Dr. Ekundayo Shittu and his doctoral student Dor Hirsh Bar Gai published the following paper “Salmon Versus Power: Dam Removal and Power Supply Adequacy” in IEEE Engineering Management Review, Vol. 49, No. 2, pp. 126-133, 2021. Prof. Shittu also presented the paper “Understanding the Factors Influencing COVID-19 Community Mitigation Practices: Evidence from Nigeria” at the virtual July 2021 INFORMS Healthcare Conference

EEMI Affiliates Dr. Ekundayo Shittu and Dr. Payman Dehghanian received a three-year, $350,000 National Science Foundation grant for their project, “A Digital Nudge: Assessing the Impact of an Immutable Records Data Management Platform on Student Researcher Ethics.” The objective of this project is to study and evaluate the potential of a data management platform with immutable research records to improve the ethics surrounding scientific research cultures and norms in university laboratory settings. Understanding how the management of immutable research records impacts the performance of STEM student researchers is a crucial determinant to the success of the innovation challenge