#017 – Sustainable Energy Systems – Jose Lara

Published On February 21, 2016 | Electrical Eng

Jose Lara is a PhD candidate at the University of Berkeley California within the Energy and Resources Group. He has a bachelor’s and a licentiate in Electrical engineering from the University of  Costa Rica, and a master’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo. Jose has experience working on various Energy related projects including hydro generation, electric vehicle deployment, and microgrid architecture.

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Discussion timestamps:

03:00 – Guest intro
03:27 – Why Jose decided to study engineering.
06:01 – Helping to rebuild a Hydro generation site – learning the differences between theory and applied engineering.
07:11 – A budding interest in the Energy sector.
08:41 – Having a lab space to enable further learning.
11:58 – Contributing to the deployment of the Nissan Leaf in Costa Rica. Landing a job despite being the youngest candidate.
19:44 – Going back to academia for a master’s in electrical and computer engineering.
24:46 – Researching microgrids. Stochastic optimization. Risk minimization.
28:55 – The art and science of model creation.
30:43 – Engineering in the real world: It’s not only about the technical skills.
32:43 – Working with Hatch on a microgrid project. Applying academic research to a practical application.
39:51 – The limits of technology. Incorporating economics, finance, and politics.
44:31 – Question to ask when tackling a problem: How will this be implemented?
45:36 – Forecasting the future of our energy system. A trend of decentralization.
48:45 – Future technologies that excite Jose.
50:27 – Final words to engineering students.

Episode related content:

What is the Smart Grid? by Scientific American:

Overview of the Microgrid and the role of storage to reduce cost and improve stability:

The UCSD Microgrid – Showing the Future of Electricity … Today:

Using behavioral science to reduce electricity consumption:

BBC Podcast My Perfect Country: Costa Rica

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