My name is Dipti Kamath. I'm from India. I go to Michigan State University where I am a PhD Environmental Engineering candidate.
What got you interested in sustainability?
It has a lot to do with where I come from. I grew up in the Indian state of Kerala, which is a beautiful green heaven (a good chunk of the state's economy is from tourism, everything else comes from alcohol sales). When I was a kid, everything was perfect, the monsoon rains came in June and July, the spring in August, the dry, cold autumn winds in November and the summer — just about the perfect kind of hot — came with the school holidays. But now things have changed. The rains are almost always either too much or way too less. The summers are too hot and water shortages (unthinkable a few years ago, for there are like a million rivers here) are beginning to plague the people there.
And it's all getting worse, in Kerala where variable rainfall patterns are destroying crops, forests and putting endangered species at risk, in the Philippines where the last five years have seen an unprecedented number of storms, in the Marshall Islands where rising sea levels are threatening to submerge people's homes and in California where heat waves are becoming hotter and more common.
What sustainability, energy, and mobility issues are important to you?
I am mostly concerned with energy and material resources. Electric vehicles, their batteries and the charging infrastructure, and how they interact with the existing electricity grid are issues that are most important to me.
What exciting projects/research are you working on now?
I am working on a project that looks at the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of reusing electric vehicle batteries for various photovoltaic applications. It is with the aim of taking care a potential waste problem, while also trying to support the integration of renewable energy into the electricity grid.
What are your plans for the next five years?
I plan to finish my Ph.D. and get into academics. I haven't yet figured where I would work, but hey 5 years is a long time :D
What made you want to apply to SISE?
I am interested to know what research is happening in the area of mobility that could relate to my research and this time, SISE is having the perfect theme for it.
What are you most looking forward to doing in the city?
I am looking forward to the deep dish pizza <gasp> and checking out the jazz clubs :D I am super excited to come to Chicago, having heard so much about the place.
Do you like cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?
Of course, I do... meow purr purr