Introduction Blog

Moksha D -

Hi! My name is Moksha Dalal and I am a senior at BASIS Phoenix. I will be studying Electrical Engineering at Barrett the Honors College on the ASU Tempe campus and eventually aspire to work with either aviation or microchips. In my senior research project, I will be collaborating with the utility company SRP, Salt River Project, to better understand renewables, lithium-ion batteries, and consumer accessibility to power and electricity. The title of my project is “Integrating Renewables into the Electrical Power Grid: The Current Problems and Potential Solutions”.

As humans we have created highly dependent energy generation sources such as coal power plants, nuclear energy, and greenhouse gasses which accommodate the variations in our hourly energy demands. However, to reduce our carbon footprint, engineers are hoping to transition to renewables which include wind, solar, and hydro as early as 2050. 

Renewables, while environmentally friendly, have inconsistencies in their availability which fail to match hourly variations in energy demand. It is crucial to design a system which not only generates the required power but can store it as well. This leads me to my research question of how utility companies such as SRP can sustain their supply of energy during this progression to renewable energy. Lithium-ion batteries, which can store this energy in the DC (Direct Current) form, have become a defining pillar in this transition of going green.

Growing up in a family of engineers, my interest in topics like math and physics has always been strong. BASIS Phoenix has offered a myriad of STEM classes to fulfill this curiosity of mine. Once I got to high school, the circuits unit in AP Physics 2 sparked a specific interest in electrical engineering. This field allows me to have a creative outlet that still has the structure and rules in science that I appreciate. 

My site placement at SRP will allow me to visit battery sites, transformers, and get access to trends in consumer use of power and energy. The data at SRP will show me peak hours of consumer demand and when storage of these renewables will be most useful in a 24 hour cycle. Discussing the analysis of energy and consumer demand with engineers from multiple departments and specifically my on site advisor will be extremely useful to gauge a better understanding of how the storage of these renewables will be beneficial along with my research of  more conducive ways to store it. 

Reducing the carbon footprint we have created has been a common goal and implementing renewables into our power and electrical grids is a significant step in the right direction. The power of renewables and batteries to store it is a vital way to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. My research offers more than just the ramifications that carbon emissions have and rather it proposes a solution to have better access to renewables despite the variations in the weather.

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    Akash Joseph
    This is such an interesting project! I'm happy to see our work in AP Physics 2 with circuits has helped you pursue your research goals as a student of engineering. The power grid and its characteristics is a metric of the capabilities of our species. Perhaps even an indication of our current standing on the Kardashev Scale as we strive to reach the capabilities of a Type I civilization. I am excited to learn more about your work and your results!!

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