Large-scale utilization of solar electricity

My main research focus is on large-scale utilization of solar electricity. I have modeled and published several papers on optimizing large-scale solar electricity networks to mitigate solar intermittency. My current research, a collaboration with the Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change at the University of Graz, Austria (funded by the Austrian Central Bank) explores the utilization of solar electricity in the steel industry.

Several student research projects at the Falk School also explore the societal transition to renewable energy. Community energy systems are developing rapidly across the country and offer many exciting research opportunities. In addition, policy frameworks are needed to better support renewable energy. Emily Nye (Master of Sustainability candidate) is researching the Eden Hall energy systems. Kelly Minner (Master of Sustainability candidate) is exploring how graduate student housing at Eden Hall could be designed to serve the dual purpose of saving energy and enhancing community. Kacie Stewart (dual degree program MBA/Master of Sustainability candidate) is exploring sustainability innovations and renewable electricity usage in the steel industry.

Previously, Justin Mason (Master of Sustainability 2019) explored the role of solar energy for community revitalization in Erie, PA. His research assessed ways in which solar electricity can be used to support Erie’s transition to a post-industrial city and to improve quality of life and lower energy cost for low income residents. Diana Morales (Master of Sustainability 2019) explored potential community energy strategies in Roshanpura Bhopal, MP, India. Hosam Alshaye (Master of Sustainability 2017) assessed policies to support large-scale residential solar electricity use in his native Saudi Arabia.

If you are a current or prospective student and are interested in renewable energy, please send me an email.

Urban and community sustainability and resilience

In collaboration with community non profits  Operation Better Block and Homewood Children’s Village I lead a long-term project with multiple student on stormwater mitigation and revitalization in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood. Having undergone undergone a series of challenging structural changes, Homewood experiences high unemployment and pervasive poverty. The community is also affected by frequent flooding, loss of trees and urban pollinators, as well as air pollution and soil contamination. We are currently developing a framework for stormwater mitigation credit trading with higher credits assigned to green infrastructure in low income communities. Our approach is informed by research needs at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) and other city agencies, as well as work with impact investment at BNY Mellon. On the long run we are working towards a framework for public private partnerships as a mechanism to fund green infrastructure in Homewood while training local residents in green infrastructure installation and maintenance.

Previously completed student projects include: 1) An assessment of the potential for public private partnerships as a funding mechanism for green infrastructure in Homewood (Sherrie Dunlap Gallagher, dual degree MBA / Master of Sustainability 2019), 2) A tree inventory and assessment of tree health in South Homewood (Camilla Cook, Master of Sustainability 2019, lead adviser Dr. Linda Johnson), and 3) An exploration of perceptions of community stakeholders on reversing neighborhood decline in South Homewood (Morgan Block, Master of Sustainability 2019).

If you are a current or prospective student and are interested to join this project, please send me an email.