Type Of Challenge: Analytics, visualizations, algorithms

Timeline

  • Submission start (ET):
    02/15/2019 12:00 PM UTC
  • Submission end (ET):
    04/08/2019 11:59 PM UTC
  • Winner announced:
    05/01/2019 12:00 PM UTC

The majority of U.S. fossil fuel-fired electricity generating units submit quarterly reports on their hourly nitrogen oxides (NOX), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions along with select operating parameters (e.g., hourly heat input, gross electricity generation). EPA’s Clean Air Markets Division (CAMD) makes these data available through a variety of online reports and applications. Information about CAMD data can be found in the Plain English Guide to Part 75.

CAMD is looking to academic and research institutions to propose practical and replicable projects that benefit academic institutions, the environment, and the public.

Submissions for innovative and creative uses of CAMD data should advance the knowledge, use, and understanding of CAMD data and related information, with priority on the following possible project themes:

  • Analyzing emission data: Answer timely and relevant research questions using CAMD data
  • Enhancing communications: Design new and innovative ways (e.g., data visualizations) to present CAMD data to the public
  • Developing technology and data mashups: Develop new technologies or analytic methods to integrate CAMD data with other datasets to unlock the broader potential of CAMD data
  • Promoting environmental education: Explore opportunities to use CAMD data in high school or university classrooms
  • Improving data quality: Identify and apply algorithms (e.g., machine learning) to electronically audit CAMD data and enhance data quality

Recognition & Support

As a challenge winner, you will receive direct support from EPA CAMD staff experts to answer questions and assist you with CAMD tools and data analysis as you complete your project. In addition, you can expect to:

  • Receive national recognition for your university or organization, students, and project activities by being featured on the EmPOWER Air Data Challenge webpage and offered opportunities to speak at conferences and events
  • Collaborate with EPA and peers to advance power sector-related research and knowledge
  • Participate in special networking events and webinars
  • Improve understanding of and solve timely and relevant environmental problems
  • Gain practical experience working on environmental issues with EPA

While no funding is available for these projects, existing grants may be leveraged by participants, and we suggest that applicants reach out to their communities or other organizations for additional financial support, if needed.

Anyone who is affiliated with an accredited college or university, or a research organization (e.g., think tank) is encouraged to apply. Proposed projects may range from one semester to one academic year. Applicants may include:

  • Academic faculty and researchers
  • Undergraduate/graduate students with faculty leadership
  • Ph.D. candidates
  • Post-doctoral researchers
  • Research fellows

Applicants may work as individuals or teams. If applying as an individual, you must meet one of the criteria listed above for the duration of the project. If applying as a team, then the team leader must meet one of the above criteria for the duration of the project, but other team members need not be limited to the list above. Teams may be composed of individuals from more than one institution.

EPA will evaluate the technical merit of each submission using the following factors:

  • Clarity and Effectiveness of Proposed Approach (40 points)
    • Demonstrates innovative and effective technical approach(es)
    • Describes how the proposed project supports EmPOWER Air Data Challenge objectives
    • Identifies project schedule and project milestones
  • Project Outcomes (40 points)
    • Describes specific results and/or products that will be developed
    • Describes overall project benefits to stakeholders, other colleges/universities, and/or students
    • Discusses how the project advances research and knowledge
    • Identify specific project-related metrics
  • Partner Capabilities (20 points)
    • Briefly states why you're interested in your proposed project
    • Describes qualifications of Project Team and/or Project Director
    • Discusses student involvement, if applicable

Submissions should include:

  • Detailed description of the approach of the project and how CAMD data will be used
  • Explanation of why the project meets challenge objectives
  • A project schedule
  • Description of the work product(s) and outcome(s)
  • Brief bio(s) about applicant(s), including area(s) of expertise

Submissions should not exceed eight pages.

Applicant must submit the Application Form with their submissions. All materials should be submitted electronically in either PDF or Microsoft Word document format to EmPOWER@epa.gov.

If you have any questions about the application process or the EmPOWER Air Data Challenge in general, email EmPOWER@epa.gov.

For more information, please see EPA’s EmPOWER Air Data Challenge website.