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Hanley Sustainability Institute

Final clean energy speaker series roster covers several perspectives

By Mark Gokavi

The rest of the lineup for the Clean Energy Speaker series presented by School of Engineering professor Kevin Hallinan has been announced.

From 7 to 8 p.m. on March 4, Mohammad Pakravan of Green Empowerment will discuss “From data to insight for development of low-resource communities.” Zoom link

Pakravan graduated from the University of Dayton in 2014 with a masters degree in renewable and clean energy. He also holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering design and applied economics from Oregon State University.

Pakravan’s research, funded by the National Science Foundation and published in three journal papers, is a novel method to support technology and policy design in data scarce settings in an interdisciplinary approach that integrates behavioral, context-specific and technical attributes.

Pakravan is the technical program manager at a non-profit, international development organization and focuses on providing decision makers with reliable insight for promoting renewable energy and clean water infrastructure in more than 10 countries in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Emily Burns, RE-volv, from 7-8 p.m. March 11; Nichole Hanus from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, from 7-8 p.m. March 15; and Zach Denning from artificial intelligence firm Hank, from 7-8 p.m. April 6 will round out the series.

Burns, a UD senior majoring in mechanical engineering, will give a talk titled, “Planting Solar Seeds: Financing Solar Projects for Nonprofits.” RE-volv is an organization that helps non-profit organizations switch to solar power.

Burns has been a solar ambassador for RE-volv for four years. Since its founding in 2011, RE-volv has funded solar projects at 42 nonprofits across 10 states, In Dayton, the UD RE-volv team has partnered with Mission of Mary Cooperative and East End Community services to go solar, and other projects in the country have included churches, animal shelters and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts. 

Hanus’ talk is called, “Improving electricity grid resiliency and reliability, long-term resource planning.” She works at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a Dept. of Energy Office of Science Lab managed by the University of California.

Hanus holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University, and B.S. in mechanical engineering from UD. She is a project scientist in the electricity markets and policy department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Her research is aimed at improving electricity grid resiliency and reliability, long-term resource planning, and ESCO business models.

Denning’s talk is titled, “Hank: Bringing AI to Buildings for Large-Scale Energy Reduction.”

Denning, a graduate of the California Maritime Academy, received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. He worked for three years at Schneider Electric (formerly Yamas Controls) as a programmer and field technician, learning how building automation played a key role in reducing energy consumption in buildings.

Denning also worked at Controlco and Western Allied before becoming the founder and CEO at Hank, an end-to-end, AI virtual building engineer that uses artificial intelligence to maximize comfort and energy efficiency in commercial buildings.

Earlier speakers were Andy Chang from GE Renewable Energy and John Seryak from Go Sustainable Energy.

For more sustainability news and information, visit HSI’s news blog, the Hanley Sustainability Institute website and the sustainability program website. To sign up for HSI’s Sustainability Spotlight newsletter, register here.

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