2024 Impact Grants
We will develop and provide an automated sonar-based system for counting with high accuracy migrating salmonid (salmon and trout) populations as they return to their natal rivers to spawn. Our system will be affordable and will be accurate in all rivers, and all water conditions. We will strive to make our system the standard measurement system for fishery management, and we will partner with fishery managers to achieve real-time data-driven management of salmon populations, big and small, throughout the Pacific Northwest. We will also partner with governmental agencies and environmental nonprofits to accurately assess the success of salmon habitat conservation projects
This project will assess the potential for non-linearities in Antarctic Ice Sheet evolution associated with high-frequency ocean-ice interactions. Using observations, process-based modeling, and coupled ocean-ice shelf simulations, we will develop new ocean forcing fields that represent these physics, and through collaboration with project partners, will contribute to updated sea level rise projections and their economic cost. Expansion of sea-level research on campus to the EAS and HSS Divisions and preparation for future monitoring efforts will solidify Caltech-JPL as a center of excellence in modeling and observing ocean-ice sheet systems and estimating economic impacts related to sea level rise.
2024 Explorer Grants
About 40% of the world's population still relies on traditional biomass and fossil fuels as primary energy sources. Our project will uncover mechanisms that induce rural households to transition to cleaner energy sources and reduce CO2 emissions in the air. Purely technological and economic interventions miss the complex human side of decision-making. Interventions focused on capital constraints, time use, and reliability of electricity have shown a mild impact on adoption. What matters, however, is the local information flow that raises individuals' value for adoption. This project aims to understand how information flows in Nepalese villages affect the adoption of electric cookstoves. The implications are not limited to Nepal and can be applied to other contexts. Indeed, extensive literature has shown that positive peer information flows facilitate the diffusion of socially productive behavior such as vaccination. The novelty of this project is that I apply these ideas to capital goods that can produce better environmental outcomes.
A Physics-Based, Data-Ready, Modular Workflow for Sedimentary Geothermal Energy for Turning Hydrocarbon Reservoirs into Geothermal Power
This work will provide an accessible and versatile platform to perform design and optimization of the re-conversion of hydrocarbon reservoirs to produce clean and sustainable geothermal power.
We propose a bold research program to design, generate, and validate a synthetic microbial consortium, inspired by activated sludge from local wastewater treatment plants, as a modular and adaptive scaffold for bioremediation of current and emerging contaminants