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Joseph DeCarolis


Fitts-Woolard Hall 3181


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Date: 08/01/19 - 12/31/23
Amount: $400,000.00
Funding Agencies: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The United States must find policy solutions that enable deep decarbonization of the energy system in order to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Appropriate action will require fundamental changes in the way we produce and consume energy. Policy makers face the monumental challenge of crafting effective climate policy in the face of deep future uncertainty. Computer models of the energy system – referred to as energy system models – provide a way to examine future energy system evolution and test the effects of proposed policy. Unfortunately, many of these computer models are opaque to outsiders and are used to run a few scenarios that produce limited insight. Given the stakes associated with climate change mitigation, we must do better. Our project aims to bring energy modeling into the twenty-first century by applying the gold standards of policy-focused academic modeling, maximizing transparency, building a networked community, and working towards a common goal: examining U.S. energy futures to inform future energy and climate policy efforts.

Date: 08/15/18 - 12/31/23
Amount: $434,939.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Economic development and environmental sustainability are often conflicting objectives (Rogers, 1997). Continued economic development often arises from ensuring environmental safeguards and sustainability (Rogers,1997). This Food-Water-Energy System (FEWS) study presents a synthesis on understanding the regional and global FEW impacts due to uncertain climate and development scenarios on two regions – Southeast US (SEUS) and North China Plain (NCP) – that experience contrasting settings on water and energy availability, but have similar portfolios on crop production (corn, soybeans, fruits, vegetables and cereals – wheat/rice) and water (primarily groundwater) and energy (coal/natural gas) appropriation. FEW system is complex and their nexus typically organizes under different spatial and temporal scales. For instance, pollution from agricultural runoff usually have local signature and has lesser impacts and the energy grid water issues typically organize at watershed scale. However, events triggered by large-scale climatic conditions such as multi-year droughts could impact both surface water and groundwater availability which could impact hydropower generation, cooling of power plants and irrigated and rainfed agriculture. But, it is unclear how much the climatic impacts on regional FEWS could impact global food prices and commodity flow. Similarly, federal policy changes (e.g., tax deductions for solar PV installation) could potentially make the nexus resilient, depending on the nature of FEWS, against climate variability. We intend to explore these research issues and perform a cross-regional synthesis on two regions, Southeast US and North China Plain, for improving food-energy-water system sustainability.

Date: 01/07/22 - 7/06/23
Amount: $1,500,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Energy (DOE) - Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E)

We will develop a full roll-out model, based on validated planning and simulation tools, that is able to model the deployment of a wide range of propulsion and energy storage technologies in the Class 1 Rail Freight sector and that determines associated lifecycle GHG emissions and levelized cost of Mt-km (LCOTKM) values over various time scales (e.g., 10, 20, 30 years). Our work will include: (1) microscale train simulation; (2) network train simulation; (3) identification and characterization of infrastructure requirements; (4) identification and characterization of decarbonized energy pathways; (5) probabilistic cost modeling; (6) freight demand scenarios; (7) technology transfer and outreach; and (8) integrated assessment. The latter will include case studies based on application of the developed, detailed case studies of specific lines, settings, and situations, with extrapolations to the whole network, inclusive of coupling with infrastructure, decarbonized energy pathways, demand scenarios, and cost. We will appoint an advisory board to facilitate technology transfer and outreach.

Date: 01/01/17 - 6/30/22
Amount: $2,996,668.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

The objective of this research is to develop semi-transparent organic solar modules integrated with greenhouses along with engineered plant photo-action spectra that synergistically provide food and energy sources while conserving water for a new food-energy-water paradigm.

Date: 09/01/14 - 2/28/21
Amount: $1,241,845.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Continually increasing water demand (due to population growth) and fuel costs threaten the reliability of water and energy systems and also increase operational costs. In addition, both natural climatic variability and the impacts of global climate change increase the vulnerability of these two systems. For instance, reservoir systems depend on precipitation; whereas power systems demand depend on mean daily temperature. Currently, these systems use seasonal averages for their short-term (0-3 months) management, which ignores uncertainty in the climate, thereby resulting in increased spillage and reduced hydropower. While seasonal climate forecasts contain appreciable levels of skill over parts of the US in both winter and summer, the uptake of these forecasts for water and energy systems management has been limited due to lack of a coherent approach to assimilate probabilistic forecasts into management models. We systematically analyze various scenarios that aim at improving the performance of these systems utilizing the multimodel climate forecasts and a high performance computing (HPC) framework.

Date: 08/15/14 - 7/31/20
Amount: $498,326.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

The primary goal of this proposed Science Across Virtual Institutes (SAVI) effort is to establish a self-sustaining virtual institute to enhance research, education, and outreach related to life-cycle assessment (LCA) of solid waste management (SWM) systems.

Date: 12/09/14 - 11/30/19
Amount: $64,996.00
Funding Agencies: US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The US EPA is interested in developing a next generation tool for sustainable materials management as an update to the current Municipal Solid Waste Decision Support Tool (MSW DST). As part of this task, RTI International (RTI) will conduct a review the current SWOLF software tool being developed at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and assess the work required to convert the tool into a stand-alone desktop application, similar to the MSW DST.

Date: 11/30/-1 - 8/31/19
Amount: $36,310,444.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Our vision for the ERC for Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems is an efficient electric power grid integrating highly distributed and scalable alternative generating sources and storage with existing power systems to facilitate a green energy based society, mitigate the growing energy crisis, and reduce the impact of carbon emissions on the environment. We believe the key to solving the energy crisis is not necessarily the renewable energy itself, but the infrastructure needed to deliver and manage large scale distributed renewable energy resources (DRER). The mission of the ERC for FREEDM Systems is to develop the fundamental and enabling technology to demonstrate the system and, through such development and demonstration, foster a revolution in innovation and technology in the electric power and renewable energy industries, providing long-term energy security and environmental sustainability for the U.S. Key Goals: - Develop the fundamental knowledge base for the FREEDM system and provide fundamental breakthrough technology in energy storage and power semiconductor devices. - Develop enabling technologies for subsystem and system demonstrations. - Develop a 1MW FREEDM system to demonstrate the green energy hub concept. - Develop a diverse group of adaptive, creative, and innovative graduates who advance fundamental knowledge, enabling technology and engineered systems innovations in renewable electric energy delivery and management systems - Develop long-term partnerships with middle and high schools, teachers, and students to enhance engineering content knowledge and pedagogical methods, bring engineering concepts into the classroom, involve pre-college students in research, and thereby increase the diversity and enrollment of domestic students in university engineering degree programs. - Form long-term partnerships with large and small firms to speed the translation of ERC research into commercially viable products, stimulate formation of start-up companies based on ERC intellectual property, and involve students in all phases of the innovation process. - Increase the diversity of the proposed Center?s leadership, faculty, and students to exceed academic engineering-wide national averages within the first five years of operation. Intellectual Merit: In addition to social, economic, and market challenges to be addressed by the ERC and by the power industry as a whole, barriers include needs for: new system theory for the paradigm-shifting FREEDM system; new high-frequency high-voltage power electronics based on wide bandgap materials; significantly higher energy density storage technologies. Innovative development of such an infrastructure cannot be expected to occur in today?s centralized model, where power companies seek only incremental solutions and research investments are suppressed to maximize profits. A systems approach required cannot be expected to occur through individual research projects with no common standards or test bed. To develop the FREEDM system, a multidisciplinary center of excellence is needed to pull together our nation?s top expertise in energy system theory, policy, renewable energy technology, energy storage technology, electronic devices, and communication. Broader Impacts include an increasingly diverse and innovative pool of U.S. engineers; mitigation of global warming; aversion of an energy crisis; innovation in renewable energy systems developed with industry leading to new products, companies, and jobs; integration of innovation in multidisciplinary training for graduate and undergraduate students; broadening participation in power engineering through integrated research activities for K-12 teachers and students; and improved faculty and graduate student skills in mentoring minorities and women.

Date: 07/01/14 - 12/31/17
Amount: $197,327.00
Funding Agencies: Wake County

The overall objective of the proposed project is to assist the Wake County Solid Waste Division with long-term planning for SWM. SWOLF, a solid waste life-cycle model developed at NCSU, will be utilized to model the county’s current solid waste system and to explore and evaluate future alternatives in consideration of appropriate and county-specific preferences and constraints.

Date: 09/01/16 - 8/31/17
Amount: $56,005.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management Systems Center (FREEDM)

The FREEDM Center is developing critical smart grid technologies that can enable the large scale deployment of renewables on the electricity distribution network. The purpose of this project is to assemble estimates of costs and benefits for FREEDM components in order to refine the cost-benefit model developed last year.

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