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MS Master of Science

Environmental Science and Sustainability, Energy Materials, Urban Design
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Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Life Cycle Assessment:

using SimaPro or other tools, conduct an LCA of emerging solar cell, fuel cell, battery, or other energy technologies. This may include a Scope 1 and Scope 2 assessment of energy use and manufacturing-related emissions from the materials in these devices. One goal may be to determine which stages of the device's lifetime, such as manufacturing, use, or end-of-life, comprise the most energy, emissions, or hazardous material costs. Another may be to summarize which devices provide a net environmental benefit over their lifetime!

Data Mapping:

using a statistical programming language such as R, a geographic information system such as ArcGIS, and/or various datasets, map ongoing changes in environmental quality indicators before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some things to look at could be point sources, such as mining, manufacturing, and energy production, or nonpoint sources such as car exhaust and deforestation. This study will be very dynamic as different parts of the worldwide economy open up! The project may also provide technology and policy recommendations on how to return to business-as-usual (or more realistically, a new normal) that prioritizes equitable environmental and human health in the post-COVID age.

Energy Technology:

Although new solar cell devices such as perovskites, organics, thin-film, and/or multi-junction cells are being increasingly researched, crystalline silicon continues to dominate the retail market. While single-cell silicon technology is approaching the theoretical efficiency limit of ~30%, these cells still suffer from diminishing performance over time due to heat, microcracks, and other defects. A project may suggest materials and processing to limit these from the outset during initial manufacturing, and/or propose a series of retrofits that can be implemented in the field to increase panel lifetime while reducing customer costs!

Coding skills

MatLab, C++, Java, R, ArcGIS