Unique Opportunities for Energy Technologies Area Interns

July 24, 2019

When Hannah Moring was growing up she loved tinkering around with her Dad in his woodworking shop, and learning how things worked and were put together, a fascination that flourished throughout high school, where she excelled in math and science.

Hannah Moring and Howdy Goudey prepare to test the thermal conductivity of a vacuum insulated window pane sample using the LaserComp machine (shown, left).Today that experience has led her to a prestigious internship this summer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Moring is one of nine interns in the Energy Technologies Area, where university students are given the opportunity for hands-on research at a Department of Energy National Laboratory with accomplished scientists who are leaders in their fields.

Moring loves the applied aspect of the work she is doing this summer. She is interning in the Windows Lab of the Building Technology & Urban Systems Division, under the guidance of Howdy Goudey, a scientific engineering associate, and Charlie Curcija, a mechanical engineer.

The main project they are working on is a new method of measuring thermal comfort.

"The way thermal comfort is measured now is very expensive," Moring said. "Howdy had an idea for a simple application—measuring the heat flux across two plates maintained at human body temperature, mimicking the heat transfer a person would undergo to maintain a homeostatic temperature in a given environment. One plate is covered with a high-emissivity tape and the other with a low-emissivity tape. The difference allows for differentiation between heat transfer by radiation and heat transfer by convection."

So far, they've made one prototype and are testing another. Moring is also working on other applications of energy-efficiency and comfort in buildings, and is using programming languages to develop some of the sensors. She is majoring in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Florida at Gainesville, where her favorite classes are thermodynamics and numerical methods.

Moring has been keeping busy exploring California and learning as much as possible about Berkeley Lab, where she has taken tours of several User Facilities and is also amazed by the diversity of science and research taking place.

Other interns at ETA this summer are:

  • Kamsey Agu, a junior at Kennesaw State University, is working with Guanjing Lin in the Whole Building Systems Department on assessment of energy savings for building analytics technologies to become familiar with and understand how these technologies can improve building efficiency and learn how to evaluate their cost and benefits.
  • Rees Chang, a junior at Cornell University, is working with Anubhav Jain and Alex Ganose in the Applied Energy Materials Group on data mining to guide thermoelectrics discovery, learning about machine learning, materials informatics and thermoelectrics theory.
  • Grant Chen, a senior at UC Merced, is working with Reshma Singh in the Whole Building Systems Department on the City Energy Operating System (City EOS), learning the fundamentals of city-level data on energy generation and consumption; city energy information systems (including energy monitoring communication and data analysis techniques; critical thinking around inter-operability and cybersecurity issues; and creative thinking for the visualization of data for various stakeholders at different levels of decision-making.
  • Nina Hegazy, graduate student; double degree at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, and IST Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal. Hegazy is working with Max Wei of the Sustainable Energy Systems Group conducting research on pathways for small cities to reach carbon neutrality using a cross-sectoral perspective at a local level, with the city of Albany, California, as a case study.
  • Hannah Hofman, fourth year at INSA-LYON, France. Conducting research supporting the modeling of cryogenic carbon dioxide separation for biogas upgrading. Mentors: Aikaterini Anastasopoulou, Hanna Breunig in the Sustainable Energy Systems Group.
  • Sangeetha Kumar, graduate student, civil engineering, University of Texas at Austin, is working on research modeling pollutant emissions associated with cooking in order to propose standards for range hood capture efficiency and flow rate in new California homes. Mentors are Brett Singer (Indoor Environment Group), Mike Sohn (Sustainable Energy Systems) and Rengie Chan (Indoor Environment Group).
  • Gregorio Levis, graduate student, Politecnico di Torino, is working with Wei conducting research on reversible fuel cell technologies that are able to offer a broad range of versatile energy services, including power production, energy storage and ancillary services, which can improve the grid's reliability and resiliency.
  • Jonathan Li, a junior at the University of Michigan, is working with Ahmet Kusoglu and Jessica Luo in the Energy Conversion Group on the characterization of solid-electrolyte membranes and interfaces, learning how to prepare, fabricate and condition ion-containing thin films on various support materials, measure their physical, mechanical and swelling properties in a controlled environment using the available characterization tools in our lab and establish structure-property relationships of various polymer-substrate combinations for energy technologies.
  • Jason Lin, a freshman at UC Berkeley, is working with Marca Doeff and Gozde Barim in the Energy Storage Group on heterostructured electrode materials, learning a synthesis technique, as well as how to characterize the material that is made both structurally and electrochemically. Specifically, Lin will learn X-ray powder diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, how to make composite electrodes, how to put an electrochemical cell together and how to test it electrochemically.
  • Sergio Rocha-Fernandez and Eden Tzanetopoulos, both juniors at UC Berkeley, are working with Nem Danilovic and Yagya Regmi in the Energy Conversion Group on separate projects. Rocha-Fernandez will focus on the development and optimization of porous transport electrodes for water splitting, learning about electrode fabrication and characterization and designing experiments. Tzanetopoulos will be working on engineering catalysts for carbon dioxide reduction and oxygen evolution, learning about nanoparticle synthesis and physical, chemical and electrochemical characterization.