Energy Engineering Intern

Hawaii Public Utilities Commission

As part of the 2018 Energy Internship Program sponsored by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission is seeking an engineering student interested in the energy/utility sector for a ten-week internship.

The selected intern will work in downtown Honolulu, HI. The intern will receive a stipend from NARUC while supporting the development of energy efficiency programs in Hawaii. NARUC will provide a stipend of $5,000 payable directly to the intern in two installments for a 10- week internship. NARUC requires that the intern prepare a short report at the end of the internship, detailing work activities and accomplishments.

Job Description: The intern will support the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission in the development of energy efficiency programs administered by Hawai‘i Energy. The Energy Engineering Intern will participate in regular utility collaboration meetings and assist with research in areas of technology identification, pilot design, customer acquisition, and the development of evaluation metrics. Additionally, the intern will assist with evaluating the potential for energy efficiency and demand response at customer sites by working with Hawai‘i Energy engineers to review building energy usage, electro-mechanical system and customer behavior.

Role 1: IDSM – HECO collaboration

  • Develop a perspective into critical issues presented by an extremely high penetration of distributed renewables on the electric grid
  • Research solutions to challenges posed by distributed renewables penetration, such as demand response
  • Participate in collaboration meetings with the electric utility on such topics as demand response pilot program design, customer acquisition and development of evaluation metrics

Role 2: Energy in Decision Making

  • Work with the Continuous Energy Improvement team to evaluate the potential for energy efficiency in commercial facilities through energy bill analysis, end-use audits and behavioral and operational optimization
  • Develop and deliver presentations for events and meetings and participate in community events
  • Write technical summaries and briefs for both technical and non-technical audiences

Role 3: Energy Engineering Support

  • Develop energy savings calculations for the program’s Technical Resource Manual
  • Analyze billing and utility data (post project reviews, rates, weatherization, and anomalies)
  • Develop and review measurement and verification (M&V) plans, perform M&V activities and analyze data to determine savings and costs of projects
  • Review energy efficiency calculations and energy models
  • Perform pre and post inspection site visits. Review plans and project documents to perform quality control of surveys and installations
  • Perform site visits to conduct building energy audits to identify major energy consumption areas and optimize building operation, lighting, controls and HVAC equipment operation
  • Problem solve practical program implementation challenges in real-time with the Hawaii Energy team
  • Interface with industry stakeholders including distributors, trade allies and customers through meetings and outreach events

Education: Currently enrolled in an accredited Engineering Bachelor’s degree program. Preferably enrolled in a masters/graduate level program or recently graduated (in the past 12 months).

Required Skills: Strong technical, quantitative and analytic capabilities including technical report writing and advanced spreadsheet analysis. Ability to manage multiple tasks and prioritize tasks to meet deadlines. Demonstrated ability to, work independently as well as within cross functional teams. Valid Driver’s license required. Physical ability to perform energy audits and field verification of pre and post installation of energy efficiency measures.

To apply, follow the application process and mention this opportunity when you fill out the form.

Beta-gallium oxide for naval RF power electronics applications


Prof. Peide D. Ye and Prof. Peter Bermel

Overview: With increasing interest in electrical drive for vehicles, plus an increasing array of electronic devices, power electronics now play an important role in many technologies. While new power electronic materials such as gallium nitride have recently emerged, another class of materials, known as ultra- wide bandgap semiconductors, have potential for even higher power conversion efficiencies and speeds. One specific candidate material is known as beta-gallium oxide. In this project, we will study the properties of this material, particularly with respect to its surface. While certain techniques for improving performance have been built and tested by our group, we will use complementary techniques to explore a broader range of possibilities. If successful, this effort may lead to a major improvement in DoD electronic systems, including radars and communication, electrical drives, plus navigation and munition electronics.

Preferred academic backgrounds include: Electrical Engineering, Physics, or Mechanical Engineering, with particular emphasis on semiconductor devices and materials.

To apply, follow the application process and mention this opportunity when you fill out the form.

Battery Electrode Synthesis, Testing, Safety and in situ Diagnostics


Tom Adams, Corey Love, Vilas Pol & Vikas Tomar

Overview: Work with an interdisciplinary team with expertise in lithium ion battery manufacturing, in-situ nanomechanical testing, and battery health management. Focus of the summer study is on hands-on-training in manufacturing of energy devices, hands-on-training in in-situ chemical and mechanical diagnostics, and device performance analysis. Cadet/Midshipman will be exposed to a variety of spectroscopic measurements and electron microscopy measurement techniques. Exposure also includes training in chemical handing of new types of energy materials and develop of new processing methods.

Preferred academic backgrounds include: Mechanical Engineering, Systems Engineering, Mechanics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Physics, Nuclear Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Astronautical Engineering and Space Ops.

To apply, follow the application process and mention this opportunity when you fill out the form.

Laser assisted large-scale manufacturing of nano-architectured composites for high energy density and high power output Li-ion batteries


Dr. Gary Cheng & Dr. Kejie Zhao

Overview: Design and fabricate nano-architectured nanocomposites for high-performance Li-ion batteries. Researchers will be trained the interdisciplinary skills of large-scale material processing, electrochemical characterization, in-situ experimentation, finite element modeling, and quantum-mechanics/molecular dynamics simulations.The research will address manufacturing challenges of simultaneously improving the mechanical reliability and electrochemical performance of electrode for Li-Ion battery.

Preferred academic backgrounds include: Science, engineering, and technology.

To apply, follow the application process and mention this opportunity when you fill out the form.

Low Cost Catalyst for Portable Hydrogen Generation and On-demand Power


Dr. Timothee Pourpoint

Overview: Our service members can be wounded or killed in battle because of the weight and unwieldiness of the batteries they carry. Our objectives are to provide Marines with a highly reliable way to recharge their common 3.1 lb batteries with a system weighing less than 1 lb under storage and the ability to trigger that system with nearly any water source. By the end of the 3-year effort, and with our industrial partner’s expertise with Special Forces equipment, our goal is to have a field-ready system. Additional Navy and commercial sector opportunities, including for emergency first responders, cell phone emergency power, and recreational use, are also of great interest to the team. The development of the Portable Hydrogen Generation system into a field ready system and the characterization of the acid catalyzed hydrolysis of ammonia borane is a great opportunity to develop unique skill sets in chemistry, chemical engineering, and particularly in the upcoming three years, fuel cell technologies, mechanical engineering and design.

Preferred academic backgrounds include: Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, or Chemical Engineering.

To apply, follow the application process and mention this opportunity when you fill out the form.

Engineered Surface Wettability for Enhanced Boiling Heat Transport


Dr. Justin Weibel

Overview: Extreme heat fluxes must be dissipated in the next-generation military electronics systems to prevent the deterioration of electrical performance and reliability at high temperatures. Efficient thermal management of electronics is also critical to operation of electrified vehicles, renewable energy technologies, data centers, and other computational systems. Your internship in the NEPTUNE Center for Power and Energy Research will explore fundamental issues related to the development of novel techniques for high-performance heat removal from compact spaces through combined experimental and modeling approaches. Our current project is related to the understanding of surface wettability on boiling process. This research will enable the development of improved thermal management technologies, and will have broader impacts on widespread energy production processes where liquid-to-vapor phase change is an energy transfer process.

Preferred academic backgrounds include: Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, or Chemical Engineering.

To apply, follow the application process and mention this opportunity when you fill out the form.

Correlating chemical composition of aviation fuel to physical and chemical properties and performance for the rational development of alternative fuels


DR. Hilkka Kenttämaa, Dr. Gozdem Kilaz & Dr. Rodney Trice

Overview: Replacing petroleum-derived fuels with resilient fuels has reached national priority status. To reach this goal, it is imperative that the physical and chemical properties of resilient fuels are comparable to those of petroleum-derived fuels. These properties are dictated by the fuel’s chemical composition. Our current goals are to identify and quantify compounds present in different fuels by using several analytical instruments (i.e., GCxGC/(EI)TOF MS). Our group uses this vital information to predict how the chemical composition of new, resilient fuels will influence their physical and chemical properties and the overall performance of an aircraft. For example, we have developed a testing rig to explore how aromatic compounds in fuel influence the propensity to swell o-ring seals in fuel circulation systems of an aircraft. Students will have the opportunity to contribute to a wide range of projects in our group. Such projects include, but are not limited to a) determination how mixtures of aromatic compounds influence o-ring swelling, b) testing complete tensile strength of o-ring seals immersed in fuel samples c) measuring physical and chemical properties (i.e., density, freezing point) of surrogate mixtures, d) creating a database to correlate fuel chemical composition with properties, e) using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to identify and quantify compounds present in fuel samples and f) study the effects of bioimpurities on ceramic thermally cycled surfaces. Students will be trained and mentored in projects they are interested in so no experience in projects mentioned above is required.

Preferred academic backgrounds include: Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Engineering, Aviation Technology, Aeronautical Engineering.

To apply, follow the application process and mention this opportunity when you fill out the form.