I am currently studying the societal and regulatory aspects of advanced nuclear power plants, with a focus on molten salt reactors and small, modular reactors (SMRs). I am interested in how technologists are framing these power plants as part of a broader sustainable energy transformation and how these power plants intersect with complex and thorny issues of spent nuclear fuel management and ethics.
As part of this, I recently conducted a focus group with members of the public in Lansing, MI, to understand public perceptions of solar PV coupled with these new nuclear power plant designs. I also conducted interviews with energy experts in the Lansing, MI area to better understand how they view baseload power as part of changing energy systems. I am collaborating with Prof. Annick Anctil (Civil & Environmental Engineering) and Prof. Tom Bieler (Materials Science) on this project.
Electric Vehicles and Roadway Charging
I am working with colleagues in Civil and Environmental Engineering- Prof. Mehrnaz Ghamami and Prof. Annick Anctil- to study the societal perceptions and governance aspects of new forms of electric vehicle charging. In summer of 2017 we conducted a survey of the general public and of electric vehicle owners to understand their opinions on new forms of charging. I am interested in how new charging options and new forms of transportation affect mobility justice.
Transnational Grid Integration
Despite policy discourses about achieving energy independence, there are numerous examples of increasing cross-border transmission lines and regional integration worldwide. For example, the Southern African Power Pool connects 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority connects six countries in the Middle East, Nordpool connects Nordic countries and the Baltic states, and the ASEAN Power Grid seeks to interconnect nine countries in Southeast Asia. I am conducting cross-comparative research on grid integration and have developed a database of 59 existing and planned grid integration projects, encompassing hundreds of cross-border lines worldwide, using extensive literature review and document analysis, with a goal of including all projects and visions. The database incorporates 668 cross-border lines.