Sandia LabNews

Energy technology, policy tools to be explored at summer institute for top grad students

Graduate students pursuing careers in energy, policy, science, and environmental matters are encouraged to submit applications for Technology and Policy Tools for Energy in an Uncertain World, a week-long summer institute at Sandia/California. The program will take place Aug. 7–12 and is open to US citizens and foreign nationals.

Twenty students will be selected to participate. Applications are due by March 15 (see for details and online application).

Participating students will collaborate in small teams, working side-by-side with leading Sandia scientists and researchers at the Labs’ world-renowned Combustion Research Facility (CRF) and other cutting-edge Sandia facilities.

 “A summer institute for graduate students is one of many ideas we are pursuing to increase awareness and collaboration with our staff,” says Bob Carling, director of Transportation Energy Center 8300. Bob says Sandia/California has an ongoing interest in exposing a variety of outside scientists and engineers — including students — to the lab and its new open access.

Bob says he hopes the experience will help persuade participating students to consider Sandia as a future place of full-time employment.

“We also hope they will spread the word back at their home institutions regarding the importance of the work we do at Sandia and the high quality of our staff and facilities,” he says.

Students will select from the following technical focus areas:

  • Uncertainty Quantification in Predictive Simulation — Focus on Chemical Systems: Participants will work on the development and testing of uncertainty quantification (UQ) methods for chemical systems of relevance in combustion. The work will involve algorithmic research on Bayesian inference and Polynomial Chaos UQ methods.
  • Measurement Uncertainty with Imaging Detectors — Focus on Optical Engine Diagnostics: Students will explore uncertainty in measurement of in-cylinder soot using two-color optical pyrometry imaging in a heavy-duty optical engine. In addition, they will run the optical engine and intensified cameras and develop MATLAB scripts for soot temperature and volume fraction imaging.
  • Measurement of Uncertainty in Biological systems — Focus on Biomass-to-Biofuels processes: Students will explore variability and uncertainty in the various steps for biomass-to-biofuels conversion. Participants will develop biochemical assays and measure the conversion of biomass to fermentable sugars. They will then consider how the variability of sugar production impacts biofuels economics.
  • Managing Uncertainty in Policy Decisions — Focus on Electric Vehicle Adoption Drivers: Participants will develop computer models for consumer adoption of alternative-fuel vehicles. Students will then use these models to explore key technology and policy drivers of vehicle adoption and sensitivity of their results to underlying uncertainties.

Institute participants will be provided housing at a Livermore suites hotel located near Sandia. Transportation and meals will also be provided.