Research

Research

  • Duke Medical Center Modular Power Electronics, 2018
    • Status: Completed
    • Description: I provided fabrication and assembly support for research into novel power electronics topologies. Using a modular approach, this technology converts energy from DC sources to AC power. My role involved planning and executing CNC manufacturing runs of components, assembling circuits, and testing circuits for debugging. In addition, I designed component casings for electric vehicle applications.
    • GC Focus Connection: DC to AC conversion via power electronics is a critical step in the process of converting solar energy to usable power. The new technology I explored in this research makes impressive improvements in terms if minimizing energy loss and optimizing battery performance. The parallel applications of this project to solar energy systems, electric vehicles, and medical devices indicate the broad potential for advancements of this nature to impact multiple fields.
    • Supervisors: Zhongxi Li, Dr. Stefan Goetz
    • Start Date: June 18, 2018
    • End Date: August 10, 2018
    • Weekly Hours: 35
    • Total Hours: 245

 

  • Home Depot Smart Home Solar Energy Storage, 2018
    • Status: Completed
    • Description: I worked with two other students to design a residential solar power supply and storage system for the Home Depot Smart Home at Duke, incorporating recycled VRLA batteries from data centers. Our team saw the project from its inception, where we applied for grants and communicated with Smart Home residents and supervising professors, through to the conclusion of a final design paper on how to implement our system, linked below. Over the course of the project I developed a strong understanding of how a residential solar energy system functions to translate electricity from a PV array to functional power for storage and use.
    • GC Focus Connection: Optimizing residential solar energy systems is critical towards making this power source a viable economic option. Our research helped progress the Smart Home towards its ultimate goal of being completely energy independent, the epitome of a sustainably designed residence. In addition, incorporating recycled batteries into our system eliminates the up front cost of purchasing new batteries while promoting the sustainable solution  of extending their usable lifetime.
    • Supervisor: Dr. David Schaad
    • Start Date: January 11, 2018
    • End Date: May 5, 2018
    • Weekly Hours: 5
    • Total Hours: 100
    • Final Paper (Download):  Smart Home Solar Energy System

  • Bass Connections Team – Energy and the Environment: Design and Innovation
    • Status: In progress
    • Description: In this yearlong effort, my Bass Connections project team sought to research, model, design, and prove the viability of a free piston Stirling engine operating on low temperature differentials. Research was performed into the working principles of Stirling engines, the practical elements of construction and design of our chosen engine configuration, and the potential applications for Stirling engines such as ours on industrial scales.
    • GC Focus Connection: One promising potential application for the technology my team explored is to take advantage of the thermal energy supplied to solar arrays from the sun, which is normally associated with losses in output efficiency. The proof of concept generated by this project serves to position Stirling engines as a promising prospect in the growing field of photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) systems
    • Supervisors: Dr. Emily Klein, Dr. Josiah Knight
    • Start Date : September 2019
    • End Date: May 2020
    • Weekly Hours: 10
    • Total Hours:  200
    • Final Paper: Pending
  • ME Independent Study – Clean Fuel for the Developing World
    • Status: Completed
    • Description: As part of a Bass connections team researching the viability of residential hydrogen fuel systems, I researched the use low energy budget methods to achieve necessary hydrogen compression for in-home storage. Alongside members of my team working on hydrogen fuel generation using novel approaches to alkaline electrolysis and hydrogen fuel usage in cookstoves, I looked to bridge this gap by proving the concept for a volumetric compression system that would allow for hydrogen to be stored at high pressure before use.
    • GC Focus Connection: As solar energy generation continues to improve in terms of both cost and efficiency, storage methods must evolve to effectively make use of this energy. In exploring this alternative method for storage, my team looked to define the relative benefits and drawbacks of hydrogen through the process from chemical energy capture to fuel use.  In addition, the public health approach of this project offered a lens through which I could appreciate the social benefits of improved energy storage, especially for communities not traditionally served by solar energy markets.
    • Supervisor: Dr. Nico Hotz
    • Start Date: September 2019
    • End Date: December 2019
    • Weekly Hours: 5
    • Total Hours: 100
    • Poster Presentation (Download): Bass Connections Showcase Poster
    • ME Independent Study Report (Download): ME 491 Independent Study Final Report