Graduate Student Cara Touretzky Wins CAST Directors’ Student Presentation Award From the AIChE

Cara TouretzkyCara Touretzky has won the Directors’ Student Presentation Award from the Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

Touretzky’s paper,“Modeling and Model Predictive Control Strategies for Building Energy Management,” earned her the honor and was co-authored by her advisor, Professor Michael Baldea.  The paper presents a novel model reduction and energy management framework for buildings, which account for more than 40 percent of primary energy consumption in the U.S.

The nonlinear models take into account energy recovery features such as air preheating, air recirculation, as well as thermal energy storage, and are used in online, real-time optimization calculations to improve energy efficiency and generate cost savings.

“Cara’s work has brought novel theoretical insights in the dynamics and control of large-scale systems, with an exciting application in the proactive management of energy use in buildings,” said Michael Baldea. “Her work demonstrates that significant efficiency improvements are possible in this energy-intensive sector. Winning the CAST Directors’ Award is all the more remarkable given that Cara is only in her second year of doctoral studies.”

The annual CAST award recognizes the best presentation given by a graduate student doing research in one of the division’s areas: process control, process design, applied mathematics or process operations.  Touretzky was one of the five competition finalists and the recipient of a CAST travel grant, which supported her to attend and present her work at the 2012 AIChE Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.

Touretzky received a B.S. in chemical engineering, magna cum laude, from the University of Delaware in 2011 with minors in economics, mathematics, and chemistry, and has held several internship positions in both industrial and academic laboratories.

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