The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded faculty from UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, Aalborg University (Denmark), and the Technical University of Denmark a grant exceeding four million dollars, to be distributed over the next five years, in response to a “Partnerships for International Research and Education” (PIRE) proposal titled “US-Denmark Cooperative Research and Education in Intermittency-Friendly Community-Scale Renewable Energy Micro-grids” submitted by faculty from the two UC campuses. The grant will be used to fund sustainable energy research at the four institutions, as well as a Renewable Energies Summer School Program which involves a student exchange component. In this program, American students will have the opportunity to visit the participating Danish Universities to learn about their sustainable energy infrastructure and research, and Danish students will have the same opportunity at UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis.
The major goals of this project are to improve sustainable energies technologies, to use Danish infrastructure as a model for implementing localized renewable energy generation in the US, and to use these projects as an experiential learning tool for the participating UC and Danish students. Funds from this grant will also be used to continue and expand research on the Green Wharf Project, which was initiated in 2009 and aims to harness wind, solar, and hydro energy to make the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf energy independent. Grant funds will also be allocated to support the Sustainable Engineering and Ecological Design (SEED) curriculum, which serves as a joint collaboration between the School of Engineering and Social Sciences Divisions on the UC Santa Cruz campus.
CITRIS is deeply involved in this grant, as the Principal Investigator (PI) of this grant is a CITRIS PI, Professor Michael Isaacson of UC Santa Cruz. Two of the co-PI’s are CITRIS investigators as well, along with three other individuals listed on the grant, including Professor Patrick Mantey, Director of CITRIS @ Santa Cruz.