Post Graduate Opportunity at US @EPA RTP


This research training opportunity is available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD) National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL). The appointment is with the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Division (APPCD) in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina.


APPCD helps provide the basis for EPA’s environmental policies and programs by playing a vital role in the scientific research mission of the Agency. The division seeks to provide information and tools that enable the Agency to develop cost effective and sustainable approaches to protecting human health and the environment. APPCD concentrates efforts in four research areas: (1) Climate Change / Technology Assessment; (2) Source / Emissions Characterization; (3) Combustion / Emission Control; and (4) Indoor Air Quality.


Research is needed to further highlight the impact of increased urbanization on natural resources and human populations in cities. Cities are facing challenges of managing increased energy use; increased air pollution; specifically ozone formation; negative impacts to aquatic habitats; negative impacts to public health; and increased mortality rates, especially in low-income neighborhoods. Improving the reliability of wastewater and electric power systems; increasing robustness of the electricity and energy supply; reducing building peak energy demands; and creating livable spaces through increased green canopies will create resilient communities while combating climate change.


The team is currently developing a community scale MARKAL database for New York City and the surrounding counties using MARKAL energy modeling framework. The database focuses on building sector, water, and wastewater infrastructure to capture and analyze energy and water nexus in the city. The database includes reference building energy profiles, water, and wastewater infrastructure. It also includes various building energy retrofits; green infrastructure alternatives (e.g., green roofs); distributed energy options (e.g. roof-top solar PV and combined heat and power plants) that can demonstrate trade-offs to create communities resilient against climate change and minimize disruptions in electric and water supply. The research will explore energy and water tradeoffs associated with implementing green infrastructure technologies (specifically green roof applications) to regulate building energy load and storm water retention times. Additional micro grid applications (through rooftop solar, white roofs and combined heat and power applications) will be included in the database to analyze the mitigation of stress on the electric grid.


MARKAL modeling results will include variations in summer peak electricity loads; changes in waterbody withdrawal rates; discharges for thermoelectric cooling; changes in wastewater treatment plant loads; and impacts of distributed energy systems. MARKAL will also be used to quantify the impacts of environmental and energy policy instruments, including air emission regulations and alternative energy portfolio standards (e.g., Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency).


The participant will become knowledgeable on building, maintaining, and calibrating the MARKAL database; developing case studies for communities; exploring expansions to the model applications; communicating results with team members and stakeholders; and generating reports and manuscripts.


This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and EPA.