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Researchers to explore sustainable energy solutions

Photo of Rajesh Kavasseri

Kavasseri

A team of NDSU researchers has been awarded a National Science Foundation–Smart and Connected Communities Grant to develop sustainable energy solutions.

Rajesh Kavasseri, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, is the principal investigator. Other researchers include Malini Srivastava, assistant professor of architecture and landscape architecture; Dominic Fischer, assistant professor of architecture and landscape architecture; Dong Cao, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Qifeng Zhang, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

According to the researchers, an estimated 1.2 billion people do not have access to electricity due to economic and environmental barriers that arise in conventional electrification.

This project brings together electrical engineers, architects, community planners and artists to envision the development of an ensemble of tools and technologies for low-cost, non-toxic, off-grid capable future household energy delivery systems. The research will integrate concepts from passive home design to develop a primarily-DC energy delivery system (unlike the primarily AC systems used currently) while integrating photovoltaic and energy storage systems using next-generation low-cost, high efficiency and earth-abundant materials.

"A community’s cultural, environmental and ethical dimensions are sometimes easily overlooked in traditional energy planning solutions. We hope the project's multi-pronged research agenda can help integrate some of these issues and improve the quality of life in small, remote, and rural communities,” Kavasseri said.

If successful, the concept will help support the design of cheaper off-grid residential systems in communities without access to transmission, improve the survivability of existing off-grid micro-grids in the wake of natural or system disasters and engage Native American communities from the Dakotas in the development of technologies and educational materials that reflect their conservationist ideals.

The grant number is CNS # 1737538.

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