About Duke Energy Club Projects
The Duke Undergraduate Energy Club aims to explore the real-world energy sector, engage with the greater energy community, and help solve the critical energy challenges of today. Each semester, we collaborate with companies and organizations in the energy and sustainability fields to offer pro-bono consulting projects for students. Through these projects, we connect students with industry professionals, helping students build real-world skills while also delivering results for our partners.
Fall 2023 Projects
This fall, Duke Energy Club is excited to introduce a new cohort of projects in collaboration with the climate tech and sustainability industry. Being part of an Energy Club project is an amazing opportunity to make a real-world impact, gain invaluable knowledge & perspectives, and have the experience of working with energy industry leaders & other highly enthusiastic peers. Fall projects will run from September to December 2023. We encourage everyone to apply, regardless of experience.
Undergraduate students are welcomed to apply as either project manager or project analyst.
Project managers are responsible for devising and driving project execution plans, managing the project team, and leading the communication with clients. For prospective project managers, applications are due Sunday 9/10 at 11:59 PM.
Project analysts will take ownership of individual parts of a project, as one will develop in-depth learning on specific fronts and be responsible for specific workstreams, while learning holistically from the project. For prospective project analysts, applications are due Friday 9/15 at 11:59 PM.
Graduate students are welcomed to apply as the advisory project fellow role.
For prospective project fellows, applications are due Tuesday 9/12 at 11:59 PM.
Please find the description of selected Fall 2023 projects below. The full description of Fall 2023 projects will be available soon.
Techno-economic Analysis of Lifecycle CCS: CO2 vs Solid Carbon
with Modern Hydrogen
Modern Hydrogen technologies enable cost effective decarbonization of natural gas, on-site generation of clean hydrogen, and easy sequestration of solid carbon in commercially viable products. The team at Modern Hydrogen’s expertise in high temperature physics, kinetics, and materials science is unparalleled.
For this project, a dedicated team of students will delve deep into the techno-economics of full lifecycle Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) of carbon dioxide versus elemental solid carbon. The central objective is to determine the cost implications of capturing and managing both forms of carbon across a sample set of geographies, scales, and operating environments. In the course of the study, students will undertake rigorous desktop research, interpreting data from scientific journals, policy documents, and industry reports as well as identifying what data is missing from the national conversation around carbon capture and sequestration. Engaging with stakeholders that range from startup operators to seasoned industry experts, the team will strive to gain holistic insights into the conditions of viability for each method. The culmination of their efforts will be a comprehensive model that contrasts the unit economics of the capture and sequestration of solid carbon against the direct air capture and sequestration of CO2; as well as a White Paper that will be circulated for relevant think tanks, environmental nonprofits, and policymakers. The project’s findings aim to demonstrate how, where, and why both methods can be used most effectively to reduce net emissions of economic activity.
Technology Research and Investment Brief
with Third Derivative
Third Derivative (D3) is a clean tech startup accelerator and think tank. We produce research on clean and zero carbon technologies and then educate our investment partners about opportunities in this space. We also push forward the development of such solutions by running a bespoke 18 month accelerator program, where our previous startups have raised about ~1 billion in funding, and numerous successful pilots and deployments.
In this project, a team of students will have the opportunity to dive into a sector of climate technology and present their findings on the market landscape, technology / business model solutions, and most promising areas of innovation. Recent topics we’ve covered include green hydrogen, carbon capture, waste management, low-carbon fuels, and fast-charging batteries, nuclear fusion, and aviation. Project scope of work includes desktop research into the space (reading articles, reports, etc.), interviewing stakeholders (startups, investors, etc.), building techno-economic or financial models that describe the unit economics of the innovation, and generating a slide deck to summarize key findings. Optionally, students may also write up a blog report to be promoted on the D3/ RMI website.
Building Decarbonization Startup Funding Research & Business Development
with Bex Power
Bex Power aims to be a specialized zero-carbon retrofit company, speeding up building decarbonization technologies and making it approachable to a greater population. It serves as the general contractor that will serve every step of the building electrification process for building owners. Bex Power was started by a Duke Alumnus, and it targets the Research Triangle as its initial market. The project team will therefore further be able to engage and facilitate green transition directly for the local community through the project.
In this project, a team of students will focus on conducting (1) Project funding research; and (2) Customer outreach and development. There are existing policy programs that subsidize and incentify building electrification, which contributes significantly to project funding. For project funding research, the team will research potential federal, state, local, utility, and private funding mechanisms that facilitate building electrification, which will enable a more comprehensive offering for the customers that minimizes their costs. For customer outreach and development, the team will communicate with a variety of potential customer organizations including affordable housing non-profits, commercial landlords for low-income people and commercial landlords for students. The team will engage in the complete customer development process, participating in outreach, meetings, and customer strategy buildout.
Carbon Accounting and Decarbonization Services Market Research
Terralytiq is a cutting-edge clean tech start-up that empowers companies to move their decarbonization ambition into action. Terralytiq builds SaaS solutions to help companies understand their carbon footprint and guides them towards the most efficient way to reduce it using data driven insights.
In this project, the team will conduct a comprehensive analysis on the carbon accounting and decarbonization services market that Terralytiq’s operates in, which will advise the company’s long-term business development strategy. The team will specifically analyze market sizes and trends, customer segment, competitor outlook, and product offering & pricing analysis within the space, through conducting desktop research and interviewing stakeholders (investors, companies, customers etc.)
Energy Transition Media Market Research
with Suncast Media
SunCast Media helps companies in the renewable sector share knowledge through digital media to accelerate the clean energy transition. The SunCast podcast, founded in 2015 as a first-of-its-kind solar podcast for emerging markets, now features 600+ episodes with solar industry leaders.
In this project, the team will conduct market research on leading energy transition content creators, catalog top sources, and assess the most successful content forms. Students will learn digital marketing tools and may create their own original content to test hypotheses. Final deliverable will be a presentation to SunCast on strategies the team has identified to explore and enter new channels effectively. The catalog of sources created by the team can also be used internally by the Energy Club for member development.
Market Analysis and Solar Permitting Research
with Silicon Ranch
Silicon Ranch leads the Southeast in renewable energy and storage development, with over 5GW of solar and battery systems across the US and Canada. Every project in Silicon Ranch’s portfolio is owned and operated by the company, and Silicon Ranch has a 100% success rate in delivering on every one of its contracts, with over 150 solar projects currently built and running across the country.
In this project, the team will conduct market analysis on solar development sites throughout the Southeast. Students will identify specific zoning regulations and permitting requirements at the county and state level where Silicon Ranch is looking to site projects, and determine how associated costs would impact those projects. As Silicon Ranch fully owns the land on which each project is situated, students will also examine land costs and deliver findings to the Silicon Ranch team.
Analysis of Green Diesel as Decarbonized Demand Response
with Duke Energy
Duke Energy is a major national utility serving millions of domestic customers throughout the Southeast. They are committed to decarbonization goals and actively exploring strategies to reduce carbon intensity and prepare the grid for future demand.
For this project, analysts will examine the potential of green diesel to replace traditional diesel in generators as a way to decarbonize demand response. Analysts will focus on how green diesel could be deployed in the utility's service territory, evaluating cost, transportation, and overall carbon footprint. Final deliverable will be a report on findings to stakeholders within the utility, including relevant techno-economic and policy analysis.
For Prospective Partners
Please see this document for a detailed introduction on project organization and application process. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us to discuss potential collaborations!