I’m a graduate student-researcher at UC Davis Energy and Transportation Institutes working with following centers:
1) Industrial Ecology Research Lab
2) Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS+)
3) Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle (PH&EV) Research Center
4) China Center for Energy and Transportation (C-CET)
5) Policy Institute of Energy, Economy, and the Environment (PIEEE)
6) National Center for Sustainable Transportation (NCST)
- Independent consulting: For an early stage startup (transportation policy), few Indian Govt officials, and science/policy journalists.
- Modeling EV adoption in major markets using comprehensive vehicle sales and specifications data
- EV technology forecasting to inform business models at Honda motors (US office).
- Modeling energy and transportation scenarios for India based on ‘3Revolutions in transportation’
- City level Air Quality Initiatives in India
- Energy modeling and Sustainability assessment (LCA) of EVs at vehicle and fleet level
- US-China PV trade dispute: A comparative LCA approach
- Research and learning at the Energy Graduate Group
- Experience with Data in Energy and Environment
I believe the energy transition is the biggest challenge for us in the immediate future where I can contribute the most. The complex nature of “energy” problems and the need for interdisciplinary solutions motivate me. Something that has stayed with me since I started to work as a mechanical undergrad in an interdisciplinary team which put a satellite in space successfully.
After graduation, working at an energy engineering consulting firm and a renewable energy lab, I realized the importance of the governments’ role in energy transition. Hoping to be a part of the transition and seeing how California is leading the way by experimenting and deploying multiple instruments to tackle the carbon problem, I left my job and joined the graduate program at the UC Davis.
Here at the Energy (EEI) and Transportation (ITS) institutes, I am working with and learning from the veterans such as Daniel Sperling (Transportation policy), James Bushnell (Electricity markets), Alissa Kendall (Lifecycle analysis, GHG accounting).
I am using my quantitative skills for analysis that informs the decision-makers in the energy field (particularly the electricity sector). I hope my work helps them approach the new trends in mobility with a goal of solving the carbon problem.
I like digging deep to analyze problems and decisions using modeling, frameworks, and metrics such as cost-effectiveness. And being a practitioner of design thinking (HCD) I enjoy putting myself in someone else’s shoes. I believe consulting can allow me these things while working on diverse problems with diverse clients. And particularly the energy consulting is fascinating to me as it brings different disciplines like environmental economics, engineering, policy, planning, etc to inform policy and investment decisions.
Hence in my academics and career so far, I’ve made sure to take up projects and coursework that is relevant to energy consulting and simulated this career which lead me to believe it’s a good fit for me.
My seemingly odd journey so far…
Being always inclined towards STEM areas, I studied Mechanical Engineering in college and worked for an energy consulting group – Black and Veatch. Combining my love for energy problems and engineering skills, I started building a solar PV system for the Indian residential market. That experience taught me that to solve a real-world problem, the solution need not be necessarily glamorous like solar or drastic like banning fossil fuel use overnight, but can be as mundane as and seemingly insignificant as just shutting down the home-appliances when not in use (Alan Meier’s work on standby power consumption). It made me embrace technology-neutrality over technology-worshipping and taught me that one should fall in love, not with a solution but with a problem itself.
Partly because of my analytical training and partly because of my nature, I like digging deep to analyze problems and decisions based on metrics such as cost-effectiveness and try to understand the rationale behind decisions. But in most places around me especially in India, I could see people falling for greenwashing, fancy/glamorous solutions, and feel-good policies which often delivered less. All that made me believe that there was and is a need for a better framework for policy and investment decisions. That’s exactly what I found at UC Davis, first in the form of Life Cycle Assessment.
Convinced that Life Cycle Assessment is the right tool for environmental questions, I came to UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute, to work with Prof. Alissa Kendall. Over the last year here, we analyzed systems like Photovoltaic modules and Electric Vehicles in an effort to quantify their sustainability. Apart from LCA, I use quantitative methods such as data analysis, statistical modeling, optimization, systems modeling through courses and projects.
Projects I worked on during undergrad in MechE and are close to my heart,
- SWAYAM: India’s smallest satellite and built by students
- Medley Energy: A renewable energy start-up
- CLTPT: Closed Loop Two-Phased Thermosyphon for electronics cooling
- Torch-It: A navigation device for visually impaired to “sense” the surrounding
- COOLPACK: A travel pouch to keep insulin pens refrigerated
- Effi-cycle: A hybrid, energy efficient vehicle to promote sustainability
- Pico: A self-stabilized electric one wheeler