Two Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Interns reported on their 10-week adventure as field scientists in an August seminar on the Atmospheric Renewable Energy Field Study at ARL.
Michael Curtice and Renea Young, who interned at ARL over the summer, presented their work in front of a group of ARL employees from 2 locations, as well as, representatives from universities and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, to practice their briefing skills. They are two of four students who interned on this ARL Project over the summer. The other two interns were Jenna Forrester, a student from the U.S. Military Academy, and Clayton Walker, a student from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Curtice, a Central State University student, worked on researching the dynamic effects of the atmosphere on solar power production. He said his research focused on acquiring, processing and conducting a preliminary analysis of power and solar radiation data to assess the atmospheric impact on solar power generation.
Young, a student at Mississippi Valley State University, researched the impact of clouds on solar power production during seasonally clear, overcast and partly cloudy conditions.
Her work involved taking images of the sky and documenting sky condition details, which put her photography skills to good use.
Their mentor, Gail Vaucher, Research Meteorologist at ARL, explained the importance of their work in the context of its future usage.
"This dataset is going to be useful to many different projects," she said. "I have two specific in mind and a third one in the making."
Their work can potentially be used to help develop future military and disaster relief power grids.
"Renewable energy in terms of military applications is evolving. This is a new frontier," Vaucher said.
"There has been atmospheric research for power grids that are in the scale of powering cities – large scale, but what do we do about the microgrid? The isolated microgrid is a relevant topic for the military," Vaucher said.
"… this is the same interest area that disaster relief (organizations) would have." Vaucher demonstrated her point by citing the needs of a hospital recovering from a hurricane power outage.
Curtice, whose goal is to work for the Department of Defense (DoD), said the internship gave him an opportunity to experience what that will be like. "My interest in working for DoD has jumped greatly," he said.
He said he will put the skills he learned to use when he starts work on his senior project. "I have a better understanding of data acquisition and processing and the importance of documentation."
Young said she applied for the internship because she was interested in experiencing something new and it would give her an opportunity to practice her photography skills.
"This is important because we are helping the Soldiers. Their task is already hard enough so ARL is trying to make their lives easier," Young said.
"It is tough doing what they (Soldiers) do and especially with how they maintain power … it is dangerous, transporting power (supplies) into the battlefield. This (alternative energy resource) will help reduce potential casualties," Curtice said.