Ay Xie, 2017, Chemical Engineering

I spent my summer in Beijing working for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an international non-profit environmental advocacy group. Much of my summer work was focused on producing two reports. For my own Climate and Energy team, I researched feasible alternatives for HFC-134a, the most common vehicle air conditioner coolant found in cars today. The Montreal Protocol has mandated global HFC phasedown, as current HFCs are strong greenhouse gases with global warming potential values thousands of times higher than that of CO2. I also produced a brief on smart grids and their integration with electric vehicles for the Demand-Side Management team. I consolidated ideas and performance results from current pilot projects, focusing on how the technology could be applied to other cities to promote efficient electricity use. This is especially important in China where coal is both the main source of electricity and the cause of the smog that shrouds Beijing. My work this summer convinced me of technology’s transformative potential to better human beings relationship with the environment. Through this internship, I reaffirmed my commitment to a greener tomorrow through scientific innovation. I am conducting junior independent work on biofuels this fall.