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CAEE Department Senior Andrew King Presents at the 2012 AGU Conference in San Francisco

January 4, 2013 — Andrew King AGU ConferenceAndrew King, a Drexel BS/MS student majoring in Environmental Engineering was recently invited to present at the American Geophysical Union Fall Conference in San Francisco on December 4, 2012.  Andrew gave a presentation on the research he has been working on for Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Paul Block.     

The presentation focused on critical aspects of filling the reservoir behind the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam under different combinations of filling policies and climate change induced precipitation trends.  The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project was launched in April 2011 by the Ethiopian government, and is located just east of the Sudan-Ethiopia Border.  The dam is the first situated along the main stem of the Blue Nile River within Ethiopia, and will have a power generation capacity of 6,000 MW, making it the largest hydropower facility in Africa.  A major benefit of the dam is hydropower production, and subsequent electricity transmission throughout Ethiopia and into neighboring countries.

Andrew’s presentation focused on a tool that he created with Dr. Block which allows a user to input different parameters, such as reservoir design specifications, future precipitation trends, and filling policies to gauge potential impact on future power generation and downstream flows.  The rate at which water is impounded in the reservoir has a direct impact on the ability to generate hydropower and to supply adequate quantities to downstream countries, specifically Sudan and Egypt.  The tool helps to address trade-offs and options available to water managers in this early planning stage and would ideally be used for quantitative discussion among invested parties.

“Although I do not intend to immediately pursue an academic route upon graduation, this work has sparked my interest in research that I would like to continue down the road.  Attending and presenting at the AGU conference was a tremendous opportunity. It was great to see all of the research not only within the hydrology field, but across all scientific disciplines.” 

Andrew’s primary academic interests are hydroclimatology and water resource systems, with a focus on how climate change could impact system performance.  He is currently part of Dr. Block’s Water Systems & Society Research Group at Drexel, which focuses its research on managing water resources for societal benefit.  Dr. Block has been working with stakeholders in the region regarding hydropower development since 2005.

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