Clean Tech Fund Scholarship

Evolectric Scholarship - Top 5 Applicants

Clean Technology Fund

Below are the full answers from each candidate for the 2022 Clean Tech Fund Scholarship. Click the link below to see the questions provided throughout the scholarship application process.

14

Ning Nie

"When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor." - Elon Musk

School: University of Southern California
Degree: Masters in Computer Science

I got my master degree in Tianjin university, majoring in engineering and lithium ion battery, which is the top 1 university in chemical engineering in China. After that, I entered the Sinochem corporation, in its renewable energy department and managed the project for 5 years, our team hosted many lithium ion battery products of many different chemical systems, and our product was applied to global vehicle customers. Some of our websites are (http://www.sinochemintl.com/), (http://www.junshengnewenergy.com/). Now I am pursuing another master degree in computer science, because through my 5 years of lithium ion battery development career, I found that the energy efficiency that a vehicle uses is the most important, not just the chemical system. Usually for a battery pack from cell to module, to pack and to vehicle, every stage has the energy loss. It is the management software that raises the energy efficiency, which is the advantage and core technology in battery and vehicle industry. I want to learn software and EE, combine with my chemical engineering background, to host a battery management system(BMS) product development and to solve the energy loss problem of the new energy vehicle.

I have been in the new energy industry for many years, and through the marketing survey and our manufacturer view site, we believe that it will be a going-on fast growing in vehicle's electrical processes, and also in the energy storage system industry. As for energy technology, we believe the whole chain of clean energy is very important. Fow now, many lithium ion battery manufacturers see themselves as a clean energy pioneer, but for the supply chain of upstream, if the source of electricity is produced by coal or petroleum products, we can not say the battery itself is clean. Only through the water, the sun, the wind, the nuclear energy producing, and storing the energy into the battery can we see the whole chain of cleanliness. For the storage media itself, there are many different types of technical routine, such as the fuel battery and ion battery, and many other physical batteries. My view is, in the near future of 10-20 years, it will still be the lithium ion battery to be the mainstream. After that, maybe with the development of the technical progress in safety and energy cost, the fuel cell will stand out. After all, everyone in this industry admits that the fuel cell is the ultimate clean battery.

I have the capacity to accelerate this process, because in this industry, there are few people majoring in both chemical engineering and software. However, the development of energy efficiency needs cross discipline product development: the cell is made up of the chemical system, and 30-40 cells make up for a module, and 10-20 modules make up for a pack for vehicle use. There are thousands of battery cells in the car, we need to develop more high-tech management software to predict, to calculate each cells energy status and exert control on them, the industry need people stand at the vehicle side, develop battery management software with the understanding of the battery system, I will move forward to that kind of developer.
At the same time, I am a CFA charterholder, I have many connections in financial area, through this circle, I can also find investment and commercial link to my upstream industry (the battery material producer) and my downstream(the vehicle and car producer), which make my R&D and product commercialize. Through my ex-employer, I can also find the existing customer, which is the battery manufacturing plant already there.

I do have a clean energy and electric vehicle dream, and I want to pursue that dream step by step. Usually when people have a good job, they are usually risk averse and pursue a halcyon life. However, there are always people with dreams and courage trying to contribute a change to this world. I hope I am with them. Fight on!

15

Jimmy Wong

“Rejection is merely a redirection; a course correction to your destiny.” - Bryant McGill

School: University of California, Irvine
Degree: Bachelor of Science, Environmental Engineer

Attended Student Leadership in Climate Resilience seminar. Interned for Campus as a Living Lab with green energy focus. A group leader for the EarthReps program. Worked on the Carbon Tracker project in ESW. Working on a water filtration project in ASCE. Interning for ASUCI Sustainability Project.

A future dominated by renewable tech. looks like a transition from an extractive to a regenerative economy. Currently, marginalized communities are impacted by nearby automobile emissions and unsustainable industrial practices. Electrifying ground vehicles can reduce carbon emissions by 29% in the US and nearly nine tons of greenhouse gasses globally. These developments will result in a just economy in which all beings can breathe clean air.

Allowing cars to be traded in for electrified or hybrid vehicles is one way to advance electrification. This is similar to Apple's or HP's device trade-in programs. This would incentivize consumers to buy electrified vehicles while also recycling their old vehicles. Combining government subsidies, this concept has the potential to drive electric vehicle demand and aid in the transition away from fossil fuel vehicles.

With my current background in environmental engineering and my campus experiences, I hope to pursue a career in green building development and continue to raise awareness for sustainable practices not only on an individual but also corporate level.

16

Haripriya Rachakonda

"Be the change you want to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi.

School: University of Southern California

Degree: Masters in Public Administration

I am Haripriya Rachakonda. I have done my Bachelor studies in Information Systems and have worked with Amazon as a software developer for 7 years now. 4 years ago, I realized my interest lies in Public Administration and I decided to pursue my Masters in Public Administration. I got admitted to Sol Price school of University of Southern California and I will be starting my masters in 2022 Fall. This is a change in career for me and I prepared myself over the past 2 years to move towards public service. I have gained certifications and courses in public policy, Eco-Entrepreneurship, Local and State Governance of India, Alternative Investments and International Humanitarian Law. My interest lies in the field of sustainable urban development. Through Masters, I am planning to enter the field of Public Policy and I am aiming to make significant changes to the Environmental policies of India to bring in incentives to using Electric vehicles for transportation, to provide credit to companies turning net carbon neutral or negative. I believe that policy changes will be very critical for India in order to maintain their goal of carbon neutrality by 2070. Through eco-entrepreneurship I understood the importance of a green start up and how every contemporary company needs to consider the green element in every stage of the business starting from customer analysis to generating profits. During covid I have also raised funds with two NGOs, one with Nirmaan to provide 200 oxygen concentrators to patients in need for Oxygen in Hyderabad, India, during its 2nd Wave of COVID and the other with Ekam to raise around 2500$ to feed approximately 70 migrant families in TamilNadu during the first wave of COVID in India where many migrant workers were on streets trying to travel back to their home towns during lockdown. While I was working in Amazon, I also was the in charge of expenditures caused by AssociateTech-Seattle team. I used to analyze the financial structure of our organization and come up with strategies to be more frugally efficient. I learnt how to best utilize the scarcely available resources judiciously by researching alternative mechanisms to achieve the same goals. I would like to apply the knowledge I gained through my experience to benefit a larger audience and make the environment safe for the generations to come.

A future with clean technology, electrified-mobility, and renewable energy would mean we are a step closer to providing safe, healthy and stable environment for our future generations. With the damage that humans have caused to the environment, if we plan to restore the earth to make it habitable for next generations, we need to take actions both at individual level and at Institutional level. For this to happen, we need to work on universal awareness of the single truth along with bringing systemic changes to move to more renewable resources and cutting wastage. That said, a future dominated by electrified-mobility will solve the problem of limited resources of fuel and will enable us to experiment and expand the connectivity of places across the world by cutting the fight for the few sources, increasing the globalization and thereby making the economy better. Flourishing economy leads to improved standards of living of people. This would eventually eliminate poverty.

In order to advance electrification, we need to increase awareness about the carbon net neutrality and the implications of still using the fossil fuels for transportation. We also need to reduce the production of fossil fuel run vehicles and increase the availability of electric vehicles. We need to ensure that electrification is not adding significant debt to people’s lives as they choose to go green. Along with changing the attitudes of individuals, we also need to bring in policy changes through the governments to facilitate the increase in electric vehicle production. This can be done by providing subsidies for businesses to improve their production and also by incentivizing the firms for taking the action towards going green. The Governments also need to ensure that charging stations for the vehicles are as available as the petrol/diesel stations there are today. This ensures reliability in electric vehicles and would help the conscious customers choose better while purchasing.

17

Tram Ngo

"The elevator to success is out of order. You'll have to use the stairs. One step at a time." - Joe Girard

Degree: Bachelor of Science, Chemistry Chemical Biology.

School: University of California, Irvine

I started a book club during my senior year of high school in Vietnam. As the book club grew, I took the initiative to organize tutoring services. With the help of the members, I was able to provide the service and target kids who are not given enough opportunities to excel in school. In addition, I organized events to gather donations and bought books to help aid students from poverty-stricken neighborhoods. Since I came to America, I have had civic leadership roles and still participate in weekly community volunteering in Pho Hien Temple. I take the initiative in decorating for the different special occasions the temple hosts. Moreover, I am in charge of setting up activities to educate the younger generations about their culture. Besides, I was a member of the Alpha Gamma Sigma club—the Honor Society of the California Community Colleges (AGS) at Golden West College for 3 years. This club helps with donations for the elderly, children, making funds for donations through many other activities along with the club, going around the campus picking up trash, and so on. I have also been volunteering at Fountain Valley Hospital and Joseph Hospital as a Health Scholar, where I provide basic care for patients such as ambulating them and feeding them. I help guide patients and their guests to the correct departments and translate English to Vietnamese when they have trouble understanding the English language. After learning about the ecosystem and how humans interact with other species and the environment, I realized that a sustainable environment for future generations must start with our mindful actions towards preserving the earth, and hopefully, in the process, someone will take advantage of the existing technology to help keep planet Earth clean.

We can specifically aim to build smarter cities where solar and wind energy are critical to utility supply and act as cleaner energy for every aspect of the community, such as economics, mobility, health, governance, and safety. And how would we achieve such a big goal? This is where the engineering process steps in. From Chemistry 152 course which is Advanced Analytical Chemistry and other knowledge I have gained, I ended up concluding that in engineering, researchers get a list of all the many standards that must be met by the result. Then the goal is to develop a product—in this case, an entire city that is powered by solar and wind—that meets all of the standards while optimizing, and the most common optimization for a product is to lower its cost. In engineering, researchers must make educated decisions rather than be presented with an infinite number of possibilities. I believe residents and companies are increasingly seeking these renewable energy sources and are empowered to install them on their premises and structures as solutions to the problem. The first brand that I think would always come to mind for most people is Tesla, which is an American company that produces electric vehicles (EVs) and sustainable energy. Now, the utility's job that the cities have developed is to allow EVs charging to occur at periods when the grid has extra renewable energy and to enable EV batteries to discharge energy back to the grid to assist in meeting peak power demands. If the supply of this energy could meet the demand, then more people would look at such an alternative energy source to use in their cars. The batteries not only need to be recharged at a faster rate, but they also need to be cheaper, too. Or else, not many would choose this option since gasoline is still cheaper and more convenient. Then, from automobile projects, we move on to construction projects. We progress from construction projects to infrastructure projects. We begin with infrastructure projects and work our way up to an entire ecosystem powered by cleaner energy.

I believe electrification is difficult, but not impossible. As a non-researcher but an experienced volunteer in community service, I believe it is critical to assist people in shifting their mindset toward a more positive future. Who knows what genius we might discover if we guided them to the correct information and then used the engineering mindset of trial and error to arrive at the correct solution to this difficult question, just as residents and other companies have been doing. We require a community that understands the potential benefits of clean energy use. A combined force from everyone would be beneficial because it would not only reduce costs (because so much more capital will be invested in this joint project), but it would also make everyone feel like they are contributing to a solution rather than a problem.
Mother Nature deserves the same level of care as we do for our mothers, as she contains the resources necessary for our survival. Without a doubt, clean air, a healthy ocean, and sustainability are possible when each individual considers their well-being, the well-being of their loved ones, and the well-being of the community. We must begin with ourselves and then gradually inspire others to emulate our actions.

Even though I've never had the opportunity to work on an environmental project, I'm hoping that my efforts in academics, extracurricular activities, and a few work experiences will compensate for the fact that I'm lacking in other areas. I am confident in the knowledge I gained in community college and at UCI, both academic and practical life lessons. I am capable of demonstrating my worth as a good student. As a good student, I will not stop seeking assistance or asking questions. After a few years in college, I would have encountered numerous additional difficulties had I not benefited from the college's additional support. I am well aware of the critical nature of that assistance and am extremely appreciative of the support provided by the Clean Technology Fund scholarship program. I'm aware that achieving my career goal will take time. With numerous other obstacles, it would be excessively burdensome if I attempted it alone. Thus, being awarded a scholarship by the Clean Technology Fund scholarship program will not only alleviate my financial difficulties but will also increase my motivation to concentrate on my studies and achieve success.

18

Vanshika Fotedar

"Follow those who are seeking the truth, beware of those who have found it" - Unknown

School: University of Southern California

Degree: Economics PhD

I am currently pursuing energy economics research at the University of Southern California. Prior to this, I was leading research efforts in clean technology adoption, especially energy storage economics, at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. I have published my research in reputed journals like IEEE, Energies, etc. I firmly believe that energy storage is the key to a clean energy future, with electric vehicles as the pillars of this transition.

A future dominated by these looks possible, especially with the help of public uptake in clean energy resources like EVs, batteries, and distributed energy resources, like PV. This means decentralization of the energy sources and empowering the energy consumers to optimize their consumption, be it demand for mobility or electricity. Vehicle to grid demand response programs are a great tool to that end.

One way of doing this would be vehicle to grid demand response programs which would allow consumers to draw and supply energy from their vehicle batteries to the real time energy market. If the utilities supplying energy on the grid compensate the vehicle owners for energy balancing, frequency response, resilience, and provision of other services on the grid, this greatly expands the benefit streams available to EV owners. In addition, reduction in battery manufacturing costs is also key in encouraging EV adoption.

My research thesis is intended to be about adoption od EVs on the grid. For this, I will be running a field experiment in conjunction with SnoPUD (utility in pacific northwest) which tests vehicle-to-grid participation in a fleet of electric vehicles over a few months. The data from this field experiment will be used to analyze the economic cost of battery degradation and to assess the optimal benefit for the vehicle owners (per kW of energy supplied). In light of this, the Evolectric scholarship would be highly encouraging and useful! Thank you for your time and consideration!

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