Engineering Design Projects (ES 100), the capstone course at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, challenges seniors to engineer a creative solution to a real-world problem.
Battery Storage Optimization Algorithm
Amy Donna Bittler, S.B. ’20, engineering sciences
As the world transitions to using more clean energy, effective battery storage will be a critical factor in overcoming the challenges posed by the variability of renewable energy sources. To tackle that problem, Bittler set out to develop an optimization algorithm that considers how grid emissions vary throughout the day and outputs a schedule for when batteries should charge and discharge to best reduce those emissions. Using historical data from Harvard and ISO New England, Bittler’s model showed that optimizing battery usage could lead to an emission reduction of 42kg of CO2 per day. The biggest challenge she faced was finding useful data on hourly grid emissions. But by working with the Harvard Office for Sustainability, Bittler learned a great deal about the University’s efforts to pursue renewable energy and battery storage.
“In addition to more effectively utilizing existing batteries, optimization could also provide a better argument for purchasing new energy storage capabilities, since it could provide an approximation of the emission saving potential of new batteries,” she said.
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