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Doctoral candidates Lu Han and Paul Elliott have been competitively selected to represent UConn Engineering at the Universitas 21 Graduate Research Conference on Energy Systems, Policy and Solutions at University College Dublin, Ireland from June 19 – 22, 2013.  Universitas 21 is an international network of 23 leading research-intensive universities, including UConn, located in 15 countries.

Lu and Paul will receive up to $2,000 each to attend the three-day conference, whose theme is Energy – Systems, Policy and Solutions. The conference will entail presentations, student competitions, activities and workshops, and site visits to energy companies.

In applying to attend the conference, Lu – a UConn alumna and Ph.D. candidate (Adv. Dr. George Bollas) in Chemical Engineering – proposed a theory that the most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power stations is to tax the emissions.

She asserts that a tax encourages consumers to conserve energy and producers to innovate. “With the establishment of the tax, there will be a real incentive for coal- or gas- fired power plants to adopt carbon capture technologies, and from the various options available, only chemical-looping combustion (CLC) accomplishes in-situ CO2 capture without additional energy penalty for gas separation downstream. CLC delivers a higher overall combustion efficiency, prevents NOx emissions, and produces a CO2 stream ready for sequestration. While there may be economic costs associated with mandating carbon capture, it will generate a source of stable, clean energy in the long-term.”

Paul, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission Research Fellow, is pursuing his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering (Adv. Dr. Hanchen Huang).  His abstract submission argues that national energy policy should encourage the use of electric vehicles. For widespread use of electric vehicles to become a reality, he notes that “If the weekly ritual of going to the gas pump is removed and replaced primarily with charging vehicles at home, an important step is taken toward encouraging people to accept renewables to provide all their energy needs. A medium-term goal for the encouragement of electric vehicles should be the installation of electric car fast chargers at current filling stations along all highways in the U.S.”

He adds that the U.S. should also develop car battery technology and establish subsidies for electric vehicle manufacture to normalize the production and purchase costs of electric vehicles relative to conventional gas vehicles. “This will lay the foundation of social acceptance for renewables necessary to allow the long-term goals of providing all electricity and heating in the U.S. by renewable methods,” he suggests.


Published: April 4, 2013

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