Research Projects

WE EXPLORE CRITICAL ISSUES and address challenges that have regional, national, and global implications. Our growing body of academic research is informed by regular conversations with scholars, industry leaders, and policy makers—who help shed light on today's most urgent research questions.
 

Faculty Research Grants

Each fall, the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy seeks requests for support from Penn faculty and doctoral students on topics that leverage existing Penn research and address timely energy policy needs. Our competitive grants program draws proposals from Penn scholars across schools and disciplines. In addition to supporting primary research, we welcome proposals that translate and apply existing research and expertise on energy policy topics for a broader audience of non-specialists across disciplines—to raise the importance of energy issues among thought leaders and the public.

Our 2016-2017 call for grants closed on September 30. Please join our mailing list to receive next year's call for grants announcement.

 

Funded Projects

2016-2017

Author:
Hongyu Xiao, PhD Candidate
This project studies the impact of sustained drought over the past decade on urban growth, economic activity and energy usage patterns in California. Using the changes brought by the interaction of water right seniority and drought conditions this project will study the impact of water availability on cities and towns in California.
Author:
Dr. Sara Byala
This project will study Coca-Cola’s relationship with the governments of Ghana around energy. Because of its franchise bottler model, in Africa Coca-Cola is deeply embedded in the community. And because of its size and sheer force as both an employer and a taxable entity, it carries enormous weight.
Author:
Dr. Jose Miguel Abito
In the US, laws that are enacted at the federal level have to be implemented by individual states. In general, although a single market for the environmental externality is ideal, only separate markets may be feasible.
Author:
Dr. Jorge J. Santiago-Aviles
As part of their Senior Design Projects, Penn engineering students will help the people of Gashora in Rwanda by designing and implementing of an alternate water supply for the village clinic, by pumping water through a solar energy system driven  from the nearest lake (Lake Rumira) to the clinic, a distance of approximately 1.5 km.
Author:
William W. Braham, PhD, FAIA
Co-author(s):
Multiple (view project listing)
What is the optimal pathway for the Philadelphia region to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?  The pathway for reducing GHG emissions is the crux of virtually every energy policy debate right now in the Philadelphia region and indeed in cities and regions around the world. Since the IPCC AR4 in 2007, many governments have adopted a policy goal of an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by the year 2050....
Author:
Dr. Shana M. Starobin
The purpose of the proposed research is to discern policy lessons on innovation in “energy smart” agriculture in Cuba.
Author:
Dr. Shu Yang
The design of new lightweight and environmentally responsive building envelopes and technologies is crucial for energy saving and CO2 emission reduction.
Author:
Dr. Arthur van Benthem
Local air pollution from vehicles is an enormous global problem, yet vehicle emissions policies are under‐studied and their effectiveness is not well‐understood. Emissions standards for new vehicles are ubiquitous, but a substantial share of pollution is emitted by old vehicles with broken emissions control equipment.
Author:
Dr. Stefan Al
While much attention on reducing carbon emission has been paid to alternative fuels and electric vehicles, better urban design is an important yet overlooked opportunity. The urban form of cities can play a substantial role in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. First, energy consumption for transportation drops when urban form gets more compact and dense.

2015-2016

Author:
Dr. Megan Ryerson
Major federal and international policy changes such as Open Skies—which allow a number of large cities to directly subsidize airlines—in addition to airlines reshaping through mergers and the introduction of “capacity discipline” practices, are radically transforming the global aviation sector. These changes leave gaping holes in our understanding of the future of global and U.S.
Author:
Dr. Jorge J. Santiago-Aviles
Rwanda, a small nation in Sub-Saharan Africa, became the subject of a project in the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) in 2014 related to the introduction of sustainable energy utilization. In this region, wood and charcoal are the primary sources of energy, and Rwanda faces costly health and environmental problems.
Author:
Dr. Randall Kamien
Though there have been incredible advances in the efficiency of lighting, we still waste much of our natural light. To retrofit existing space it is necessary to develop simple, scalable and inexpensive technologies; only then can we keep the corners brightly lit for free.
Author:
Dr. Witold Henisz
Analyzing the determinants of the financial and operational performance of energy infrastructure could help achieve increased energy production with less investment, and tap significant new capital in pension and sovereign wealth funds by improving investor and stakeholder confidence in performance.
Author:
Dr. William Braham
Co-author(s):
Dr. Barry Silverman
Urban designers have long recognized the value of using simulators and games to evaluate sustainability initiatives. Energy—in its many forms—drives urban growth and development. It provides an engine for economic activities and underlies many of the choices that urban designers, city managers and citizens make every day: where to live, where to work, how far to drive and how much to buy?
Author:
Dr. Shu Yang
Residential and commercial buildings account for nearly 40% of total energy consumption in the U.S., which includes 72% of the nation’s electricity use and 39% of carbon dioxide emissions each year due to heating, cooling and lighting. There has been tremendous interest in economizing energy uses in buildings through house roofing, skylights and architectural windows.

2014-2015

Author:
Dr. Arthur van Benthem
Co-author(s):
Dr. Sébastien Houde and Dr. Kenneth Gillingham
Partially funded by the Kleinman Center, Dr. Arthur van Benthem from Wharton, Dr. Sébastien Houde from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Maryland, and Dr. Kenneth Gillingham study the economics of mile per gallon (MPG) claims. Car manufacturers in the U.S. are required to meet corporate average fuel-economy (CAFE) standards.
Tags:
MPG, MPG Claims, Resource Economics, CAFE Standards, Fuel Economy, Advertising, Fuel Efficiency
Author:
Dr. Erick Guerra
Funded by the Urban Transportation Center of Penn and Carnegie-Mellon University, and the Kleinman Center, Dr. Erick Guerra from the City and Regional Planning Department (School of Design) will evaluate the extent to which electric motorcycles or e-bikes are a potential replacement for gasoline-powered motorcycles.
Tags:
Transportation
Author:
Professor Cary Coglianese
The Kleinman Center collaborated with Professor Cary Coglianese, Director of the Penn Program on Regulation, on the Best-in-Class Regulator Initiative.
Tags:
Regulation
Author:
Dr. Megan Ryerson
Co-author(s):
Dr. Mark Hansen
Funded by the FAA, with support from the Kleinman Center, Dr. Megan Ryerson co-affiliated with the City and Regional Planning Department (School of Design) and the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering (School of Engineering and Applied Science) and Dr. Mark Hansen from UC-Berkeley are investigating changes in FAA policy regarding airline discretionary fuel loads.
Tags:
Transportation
Author:
Dr. Robert Carpick
Co-author(s):
Dr. Andy Jackson
Tribology—the science related to friction, wear, and lubrication—offers the potential for massive reductions in energy use by reducing friction (wasted energy) and wear (which leads to energy consumed to produce replacement materials and parts, as well as down-time of manufacturing and all other manners of economic activity). 
Tags:
Tribology