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Research Fellowships

Development of energy-water infrastructure tools to aid local, state, and regional decision making

EPA Office of Research and Development

NSF Graduate Research Internship Opportunities for NSF Graduate Research Fellows

Opportunity Title:

Development of energy-water infrastructure tools to aid local, state, and regional decision making

Research Area:

Air

EPA Lab/Center/Office:

National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL)

Location:

Durham, NC

Duration:

9 - 12 Months

Brief Summary:

EPA’s National Risk Management Research Laboratory is developing analytical decision support tools for local, state and regional decision makers faced with energy and water infrastructure planning problems.

Opportunity Description:

There is a research need to further highlight the need for cities to understand the impact of increased urbanization on natural resources and human populations. Cities are facing challenges of managing increased energy use and air pollution (specifically ozone formation), negative impacts to aquatic habitats and public health, and increased mortality rates especially in low-income neighborhoods. The reliability of wastewater and electric power systems are essential to create resilient cities able to respond to future environmental challenges. Increasing robustness of the electricity and energy supply, reducing building peak energy demands, and creating livable spaces through increased green canopies can help create resilient communities.  

Our team is currently in the process of developing a community scale database for New York City and surrounding counties using the MARKAL/TIMES energy modeling framework. The database focuses on the building sector and water and wastewater infrastructure to capture and analyze the energy/water nexus in the city. The database includes reference building energy profiles, water and wastewater infrastructure, building energy retrofits, green infrastructure alternatives (e.g., green roofs), and distributed energy options (e.g. roof-top solar PV and combined heat and power plants) and can be used to find strategies that can demonstrate trade-offs to create communities resilient to extreme events by minimizing disruptions in electric and water supply. The research will explore energy and water tradeoffs associated with implementing green infrastructure technologies (specifically green roof applications) to regulate building energy load and storm water retention times. Additional micro grid applications (through rooftop solar, white roofs and combined heat and power applications) are planned to be implemented in the database to analyze the mitigation of stress on the electric grid.

Opportunities for Professional Development:

The intern will work with Dr. Ozge Kaplan at the EPA research campus in Research Triangle Park, NC. The intern will interact with a broad group of scientists including engineers, energy modelers, economists, health scientists, and environmental scientists.  Depending on the length of the internship, a student will have the opportunity to gain knowledge in a number of areas, including: building, maintaining, and calibrating the MARKAL/TIMES database; developing case studies for communities; exploring expansions to model applications; compiling and synthesizing literature; communicating results with team members and stakeholders; and generating reports and manuscripts.
Relevant NSF GRIP Fields of Study (FoS): Civil Engineering
Environmental Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Industrial Engineering and Operations Research
Systems Engineering
Decision Making and Risk Analysis
Economics
Applied Mathematics

Point of Contact or Mentor:

Dr. Ozge Kaplan (Kaplan.Ozge@epa.gov)

For more information about EPA Research Fellowship opportunities, visit: https://www.epa.gov/research-fellowships/graduate-research-internship-program-grip-opportunities-epa

Research Fellowships