2019 ConocoPhillips Arctic Science and Engineering Endowment Awardees

The seven winning ConocoPhillips Arctic Science and Engineering Award projects for fiscal year 2019, selected by a UAA committee through a rigorous evaluation process, include:

Improving cooling performance of battery backup facilities
(Getu Hailu, principal investigator)
Cellphone towers and antennas in remote areas depend on battery backup systems to provide uninterrupted service to users, especially in emergency situations. To avoid degradation of the batteries’ performance, facilities must maintain an ideal temperature range. This project aims to develop a simple, cost-effective strategy for cooling battery backup facilities.

Combustion and dispersion model of particulate matter from in situ oil burning
(Jifeng Peng, principal investigator)
In situ burning is a widely used method in onshore and offshore oil spill cleanup. First responders nationwide lack the tools to accurately model particulate matter dispersion patterns associated with in situ oil burning, which limits its use. This project aims to develop a modeling tool to predict dispersion in order to minimize exposure to humans and the environment.

Determining interdependencies in critical Arctic networks
(Sebastian Neumayer, principal investigator; Mohammad Heidari Kapourchali, co-principal investigator)
Many remote villages in Alaska rely on infrastructure for power, communication and other necessities. Geographical remoteness makes the reliability and resilience of the networks that provide these village services essential. This project’s objective is to model the interdependencies of critical networks in Alaska to ensure their reliability and resilience.

Building a new "pipeline" of oil spill recovery research at UAA
(Patrick Tomco, principal investigator; Khrystyne Duddleston, Aaron Dotson and Timothy Bradner, co-principal investigators)
This project aims to develop new opportunities for oil spill research and outreach at UAA to help shape a new integrated teaching, research and outreach platform. The project will focus on conducting research to facilitate external funding opportunities, enhancing undergraduate education, and fostering research collaborations between the university and external partners.

Operating photovoltaics in Arctic environments: Potential threats to Alaskan power systems
(Mohammad Heidari Kapourchali, principal investigator; Ahmed AbuHussein and Matthew Kupilik, co-principal investigators)
Increasing solar penetration in Alaska has the potential to impact power-system operation for both grid-connected communities and rural diesel-based microgrids that use solar energy. The proposal aims to identify potential risks of increasing solar penetration of photovoltaics, the systems used to convert sunlight to electricity, to power system stability and efficiency for Arctic communities. This study provides hands-on research experience to undergraduate students.

Toward the prediction of climate change impact on the built infrastructures in Northern Alaska
(Caixia Wang, principal investigator; Z. Joey Yang, co-principal investigator)
In recent decades, the temperature across the Arctic has warmed at twice the rate of the global average. Alaska’s built infrastructures are facing increasing challenges posed by climate change. This project seeks to develop a prediction framework for key engineering design parameters to assess climate warming’s damage to the built infrastructure or to consider its impact when designing infrastructures.

Enhanced 3D seismic imaging and geologic modeling on Alaska’s North Slope
(Shuvajit Bhattacharya, principal investigator; Jennifer Aschoff and Z. Joey Yang, co-principal investigators)
Permafrost is a major challenge for oil and gas exploration in Arctic regions because it interferes with seismic imaging. The project’s goal is to reconstruct high-resolution 3D seismic images in permafrost areas to better visualize the subsurface for geologic modeling of shallow rock layers and hydrocarbon exploration on the North Slope of Alaska.