The sustainable energy transition poses a grand challenge to the world; a wicked problem of tremendous technical, environmental, and social complexity. Working together on Pumped Underground Storage Hydropower (PUSH, sometimes called UPSH) required us to grapple with practical problems faced by real sites and communities. We assembled a team built upon our university's longstanding and uniquely interdisciplinary social science programs in environmental and energy policy and industrial heritage and added expertise from our network researchers in science and engineering. KETL has now grown into a collaborative community that is pushing beyond inter- and multi- into a genuinely transdisciplinary, problem-led research program.
Roman Sidortsov (MS, JD, PhD) is an Assistant Professor of Energy Policy and is KETL's Director. His research focuses on legal and policy issues related to the development of sustainable energy systems, risk governance in the energy sector, and energy justice. Dr. Sidortsov is an award-winning teacher offering a wide range of energy courses for undergraduate and graduate students. He leads several research projects funded by U. and international entities. His most recent leadership roles include the principal investigator of a pumped underground storage hydro project funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and a Co-PI of JUSTNORTH, a Horizon 2020 project funded by the European Commission. The JUSTNORTH consortium brings together researchers from fifteen partner institutions in ten countries, developing justice-based approaches to economic decision-making in the Circumpolar Arctic. The 18 case studies will link justice theories with sustainable development goals, moving from past social, environmental, and economic inequities to create policy, regulatory, and legal instruments for ethical development.
Timothy Scarlett (MS, PhD) is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology and is the Director of Graduate Programs for the Department of Social Sciences. As an industrial archaeologist, Dr. Scarlett leads interdisciplinary studies of industrial landscapes, sites, and communities. Using a collaborative teaching model, Tim and his students partner with community heritage organizations and/or government agencies, solving real world preservation problems at major industrial heritage sites in the United States, such as the West Point Foundry (New York), Pullman National Monument (Illinois), and Michigan’s copper and iron mining districts. As an archaeologist, he is interested in the long term co-evolution of energy systems and landscapes and conducts field and archival research to support PUSH design processes. Dr. Scarlett is studying ways by which the archaeological research process can be transformed into a community-driven design process, transforming heritage management from consultation-based decision making into a culture-building and problem-solving process.
Chelsea Schelly (MS, PhD) is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Social Sciences. She teaches and conducts research on technology adoption, conservation behaviors, and energy policy in a wide array of settings, with much of her work involving community engaged scholarship. She is Co-PI on NSF-INFEWS and NSF-Convergence funded projects and is involved in several funded research projects on community engagement to enhance solar technology development projects in regions as diverse as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (funded by the American Public Power Association) and Long Island, New York (funded by The Nature Conservancy) and at multiple scales including residential, mid-to-large scale, and utility scale mixed-use through agrivoltaics (funded by the Department of Energy). Through these projects she has built strong relationships with project partners and local actors engaged in community level socio-technological systems transitions.
Sarah Green (PhD) is Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Green is a marine chemist with expertise in biogeochemical systems. She has studied the aquatic chemistry of mine wastes, integrating ecological and biogeochemical systems in surface waters. She also studies the policy-science interface, with particular emphasis on climate change. Dr. Green recently served as the co-vice chair for the Scientific Advisory Panel on the United Nations Environment Programme’s Sixth Global Environmental Outlook.
Ana Dyreson (MS, PhD, PE) is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological University. Dr. Dyreson researches the energy-water-climate nexus, working to understand the co-evolution of human and natural systems over multiple sectors and scales (i.e. MultiSector Dynamics (MSD)). Her studies involve modeling power plant-level thermodynamics as well as system level modeling incorporating climate, hydrology, and electrical grid operation to understand such questions as how heat and drought stress will impact evolving energy infrastructure. Her research and teaching passions also include hybrid solar photovoltaic and thermal power plants, energy efficiency, grid integration of wind and solar energy, as well as improving pedagogy for inclusive teaching.
Texas A&M University
Joe Dancy (BS, MBA, JD) is Senior Lecturer of Law and Economics at Texas A&M University, a board member of the Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation (MTEC), and a Trustee for the Michigan Tech Foundation. Mr. Dancy teaches energy and environmental law, oil and gas law, litigation, and energy finance. He is a recognized expert on energy markets, after decades of service as an appointed delegate on the Legal Committee and the Environmental & Safety Committee of the Texas/Oklahoma Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Joe has published broadly, addressing issues and concerns in the energy sector, including cybersecurity, applications of UAV “drones” and remote monitoring, and regulatory and operational issues. Joe manages the LSGI Technology Venture Fund LP, a private mutual fund focused on equity market investment, and serves as a mentor for student investment teams at both Southern Methodist University and Michigan Technological University.
Shardul Tiwari (MSc) is a PhD Student in Environmental and Energy Policy and a research scholar at Michigan Technological University. He is currently pursuing his research on energy justice, energy policy, and looking at the integration of renewable energy technologies in the U.S. electricity market. Mr. Tiwari has over seven years of experience in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency policy formulation in the least developing countries. In his novel career, he has worked both at the district level and with the Ministry in energy policy formulation. He has been associated with Madhya Pradesh Government think tank, TATA TRUSTS, Sterlite Technologies Limited, and German Development Cooperation. His work with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) as an energy policy expert under the Nepal Energy Efficiency Programme (NEEP) in Nepal, involved the development of energy efficiency, and biomass energy strategy for the country. He has also worked on energy efficiency and demand-side management projects for the vertically integrated utilities.
David Watkins (PhD) is Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, where he teaches and conducts research in the areas of water resources management and sustainable development. Prior to 1999, he was a research engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), where he conducted applied research to improve the management and operations of multi-purpose water resources systems, including hydropower systems. He has been a PI or Co-PI on several research projects sponsored by NOAA, NSF, and USACE that involve the water-energy nexus. Dr. Watkins is conducting a preliminary life cycle benefit-cost analysis and water quality impact assessment of a potential PUSH system.
Chee-Wooi Ten (MSc, PhD) is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is actively researching cyber-physical systems for the power grid in the context of security and resilience. His experience in both academic and industry bring holistic and practical views to studies of the energy transition, including enhancement for possible topological reconfiguration and operational planning for future load growth and renewable resources.
Andrew Barnard (MS, PhD) is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics and is the outgoing Director of MTU’s Great Lakes Research Center. Dr. Barnard has interests in acoustics, noise control, and vibration, as well as water resources and marine technology. His expertise includes the implementation of maritime autonomous vehicles in commercial and defense applications. As Director of the GLRC, Dr. Barnard oversaw Michigan Tech's lake-level marine facility and our deep-water dock, which providing a year-round home for Michigan Tech's surface and sub-surface fleet of marine vehicles. He coordinates faculty members from many different departments using state-of-the-art laboratories to support research on a broad array of topics, ranging from air–water interactions to biogeochemistry to food web relationships.
Great Lakes Research Center
Timothy Eisele (MS, PhD) is the Endowed Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering. His specialty is sustainable mineral processing and metals extraction, and he has a strong interest in utilization of the wastes and residues that remain after mining operations. He is currently serving on the Committee for Michigan's Mining Future, which is charged by the legislature to make recommendations on mining policy in the state. He has worked on research projects relating to extraction of coal, phosphate, iron ore, copper, silicate minerals, limestone, flue gas scrubber sludge, fly ashes, and other related materials.
Lindsay Hiltunen (MS, MS) is the University Archivist at the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections in the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library. Ms. Hiltunen's academic areas are library science and United States history, and she specializes in archives, rare books, special collections, and European history, and 20th century labor history. She curates the university's collection of primary documents related to mining history, including the Abandoned Mines Survey records, the Quincy Mining Company Collection, the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company Collection, and the Copper Range Company Records. She is leading the archives effort to develop collections related to environmental history and enhancing the voices of underrepresented communities, materials essential to defining the historical contexts of community development, energy justice and equity.
Qingli Dai (PhD) is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She teaches and conducts research on renewable energy and infrastructures, with particular focus on design and analysis of system efficiency in energy production. She is PI on several NSF projects; one of her NSF projects aims to improve wind turbine blade resilience for efficient energy production. Dr. Dai has worked on the technical feasibility study for the PUSH project based on mine site information.
Stan Vitton (PE, PhD) is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Affiliated Professor Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences. Dr. Vitton studies applied geomechanics. He worked in the minerals sector before taking his teaching position at Michigan Tech, experiences that gave him a practical perspective on both research and teaching. Stan’s expertise in mining and geology extends our engineering knowledge. He is also active as a civil engineer supporting heritage preservation of industrial monuments in the region.