National Grid is honoring Clark President David Angel on the eve of his retirement by recognizing a Clark student with a sustainability scholarship. Graduate student Maria Masood has received $10,000 to study energy efficiency on campus through vehicle-to-grid power sharing, which allows energy to be pushed back to the power grid from the battery of an electric car. Her project will be directed by physics Professor Charles Agosta.
In her project proposal, Masood — who is pursuing a master’s in environmental science and policy in Clark’s Department of International Development, Community, and Environment — noted that Clark is in a unique position to study the use of vehicle-to-grid technology (V2G); along with the University’s 2-megawatt cogeneration plant, the campus has two electric vehicle charging stations used by about 15 plug-in cars per week. Clark also has more than 150 kilowatts of installed solar power and an 11-KW solar power research installation connected to a 10-kWh battery.
“The data from all of these resources will allow a realistic study to be done predicting where advantages may be in a V2G system,” Masood proposed. “If the study shows appropriate advantages, we could also install our own V2G system to test if the improvements in efficiency can be measured in a real system.”
“I’m glad to be a part of the community that encourages their students to make the future more sustainable,” Masood says. “It is an honor to receive this scholarship from National Grid to support my study of vehicle-to-grid power sharing at Clark University and to help implement an energy efficiency model with the application of this technology.”
Renewable energy accounts for 13.5 percent of the world’s total energy supply, and 22 percent of the world’s electricity, according to Masood. The expansion of clean energy allows for the replacement of carbon-intensive technology and generates hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity. However, renewable energy sources produce variable amounts of energy depending on the duration of day and time, so large-scale storage is needed to provide grid stability and balance energy to match supply and demand. V2G technology lets vehicles communicate with the power grid to return electricity to the grid or to throttle their charge rates.
Masood will investigate if solar power can be used, and the Clark cogeneration plant can be run more efficiently, with local vehicle storage, and if charging cars can be made more efficient if integrated into a local renewable energy system. To research the potential of bi-directional solar electric vehicle charging, Masood will use data available from the NUVVE Corp., Ossiaco, and Wall Box to understand the process. She also will use solar energy data from the University and energy data from the Clark cogeneration plant to analyze the cost benefit of using this technology from an economic and carbon-footprint point of view.
“David Angel has always emphasized the importance of sustainability, and over his tenure, Clark University has become a living laboratory for environmental change,” says Agosta. “Maria Masood can now take advantage of the resources at Clark, and not only study but test a budding technology for making our energy supply and eventually the electrical grid more efficient. I am very excited to be collaborating with her on this project.”
“Professor Agosta, who is a renewable energy enthusiast, inspired me to work in the renewable energy lab,” Masood says. “I took a Technology of Renewable Energy class with him last semester and I was motivated to work in his lab that focuses on making Clark energy independent. I truly believe this project can bring some substantial improvements in how we use and store energy at Clark. By combining EV infrastructure with solar and storage, the cost of charging (both capital and operating expenses) will be reduced, accelerating the conversion of the grid and hence electric vehicles to carbon-free energy sources.”