Climate Corps fellowship awards

Each year Climate Corps recognizes the outstanding achievements of our alumni and fellows.

Our 2021 award winners!

Each year, Climate Corps recognizes the outstanding achievements of our alumni and fellows.

These awards are presented at our annual Climate Corps Summit, the culmination of our fellowship season where we bring together our network for best practice sharing, celebration, and connection with events in the US, China and India.

2021 Fellowship Awards

The annual Climate Corps Fellowship Awards recognize fellows who complete outstanding work in four areas:

  • The Business Case Award for the fellow who presents the strongest case for a project recommendation, backed by sound quantitative analysis and with a high likelihood of implementation.
  • The Innovation Award for the fellow who recommends the most creative approach to reducing a host organization’s emissions or an innovative solution for overcoming barriers.
  • The Collaboration Award for the fellow who most effectively facilitates work across or within organizations or the Climate Corps network to collectively bolster climate and energy initiatives.
  • The Low Carbon Award for the China Program fellow who develops the most compelling case for achieving significant carbon emissions reductions.

See below for current and past fellowship award winners. Our alumni award winners can be found here.

2021 Business Case Award Winners

Daniel McDermott: US Program

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center now has the insight they need to make data-driven decisions when identifying emissions reduction opportunities.

Daniel McDermott, of the Master in Environmental Sciences program at Oregon State University, won the 2021 Business Case Award for his work with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Daniel was tasked with implementing holistic procedures and tools to streamline emissions reduction decision making. He created a greenhouse gas calculation tool to quantify all sources of Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Daniel used this tool to aggregate data into visualizations, identify areas for improvement, develop reduction targets and create a roadmap for implementation. 

Qian Li: China Program

Qian Li, of the Master of Public Administration program at North China Electric Power University in Beijing, won the 2021 Business Case Award for her work with Pacific Market International LLC (PMI).

Qian spent time at a critical supplier factory – Zhejiang Haers Vacuum Containers Co., Ltd. – to obtain first-hand data and establish a carbon emissions baseline. She then evaluated the feasibility of several carbon emissions reduction projects, many of which have the potential to scale to other supplier factories, helping PMI better understand and manage its Scope 3 carbon emissions.

This work has enabled Haers to understand practical solutions to improve its energy efficiency and save costs.

Kai Chen: China Program

Kai Chen, of the Master of New Energy Science and Engineering program at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, won the 2021 Business Case Award for his work with the Huafeng Group.

Kai identified and analyzed opportunities for saving energy, reducing GHG emissions, and cutting costs by focusing on three areas: energy supply and transmission, electrical equipment, and thermal energy. He developed strategic and actionable recommendations including upgrades to lighting systems, motors, belt drives, thermal insulation, and transitioning coal usage to biomass.

Kai’s recommendations could lead to significant annual electricity and cost savings while slashing CO2 emissions, all of which will help to advance Huafeng’s sustainability goals.

Hariharan Thangatur Sukumar: India Program

Hariharan Thangatur Sukumar, of the Doctor in Philosophy program at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, won the 2021 Business Case Award for his work with Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited.

Hariharan was enlisted by his host to identify and evaluate opportunities for achieving energy-efficient operations, improving renewable energy procurement, and achieving a strong and integrated sustainable procurement chain.

His projects have the potential to realize significant cost savings, GHG reductions, and improved resiliency, and have the added benefit of creating economic development opportunities for farmers in the company’s supply chain.

2021 Innovation Award Winners

Olalekan Ogundairo: US Program

Olalekan Ogundairo, of the Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Electronics Engineering program at University of North Carolina, won the 2021 Innovation Award for his work with the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

Olalekan was enlisted by his host to design an electric vehicle analytics model for New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services to use to manage and operate their fleet of electric vehicles. Using data from 1,000 New York City-owned vehicles and 400 charging stations across the city, Olalekan created a model that provides electric vehicle drivers with important information such as routes to the closest or fastest charging station while accounting for the current and desired battery charge level.

This work could be transformed into a fully commercialized software app to help the city’s fleet of electric vehicle drivers navigate New York City.

Shi Chen: China Program

Shi Chen, of the Doctor of Philosophy program at Tsinghua Unviersity’s School of Environment, won the 2021 Innovation Award for her work with the LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd.

Shi was enlisted by her host to help develop a science-based carbon reduction target (SBTi) and roadmap for reducing carbon emissions to align with 1.5-degree climate targets. She analyzed emissions data, proposed implementation pathways and timeframes, and assessed risks to ensure that LONGi could successfully achieve the ambitious low-carbon development targets and transition to zero carbon emissions as soon as possible.

This portfolio of projects will support LONGi in realizing its science-based climate commitment by taking actions such as further adoption of renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, propelling supply chain enterprises to reduce emissions, and accelerating the transition to electric vehicles.

Liyuan Chen: China Program

Liyuan Chen, of the Master of Philosophy in Energy and Resources Engineering program at Peking University, won the 2021 Innovation Award for her work with the Walmart China.

Liyuan Chen was enlisted by her host to improve its ability to analyze and track energy and emissions data in order to better understand and act on opportunities to drive reductions. As a part of her work, Liyuan designed two tools: an in-store electricity cost assessment tool and a carbon emissions calculation tool.

The tools Liyuan developed could help Walmart to identify store-level opportunities for energy and emissions reductions, contributing to the company’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.

Kuladeep Kumar Sadevi: India Program

Kuladeep Kumar Sadevi, of the Doctor of Philosophy program at the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, won the 2021 Innovation Award for his work with Mahindra Lifespaces Developers Ltd. (MLDL).

Kuladeep was tasked to analyze the energy performance of the office buildings, chart out the strategies to reduce energy consumption, and pave the path towards meeting the company’s science-based targets for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. To accomplish this, he built a dynamic whole-building energy and emissions model, factoring in future business growth, and he suggested strategies for calculating and reducing carbon in the company’s buildings.

Implementation of Kuladeep’s suggestions and guidelines have the potential to achieve an EPI (Energy Performance Index) of less than 100 kWh/m2/Year, helping to reach net-zero energy buildings among all MLDL office buildings by 2035.

Ayushi Agrawal: India Program

Ayushi Agrawal, of the Master in Economics program at Indira Gandhi National Open University, won the 2021 Innovation Award for her work with Mahindra Lifespaces Developers Ltd. (MLDL).

Ayushi was tasked to help the organization reach circular built environment through maximizing material resource efficiency and Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWL) in the construction and use phase. Ayushi suggested creative strategies for calculating and reducing embodied carbon, engaging MLDL’s suppliers through master specification at the RFP stage, and achieving on-site resource optimization to reach maximum resource efficiency. She developed innovative tools for waste quantification, emissions accounting, and solution evaluation, which included key measures to evaluate investment decisions.

Her contributions have the potential to play an important role in enabling MLDL to achieve its target of 20% absolute reduction in Scope 3 GHG emissions.

2021 Collaboration Award Winners

Indraneel Dharwadkar: US Program

Indraneel Dharwadkar, of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, won the 2021 Collaboration Award for his work with PayPal.

Indraneel collaborated with a variety of internal and external stakeholders, including global organizations and local grassroots environmental justice nonprofits to further PayPal’s inclusive climate action efforts through an evaluation model for carbon credits.

By incorporating climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation into PayPal’s carbon credits investment selection process, and by working directly with local nonprofits, this carbon financing can be used as a way to empower climate-vulnerable communities.

Rahul Mishra: India Program

Rahul Mishra, Doctoral fellow at NITIE, Mumbai, won the Collaboration Award for his work at Nestle India. The Climate Corps Program in India applauds Rahul’s impressive work. He was selected for this award based on his effective engagement with a range of stakeholders, and EDF looks forward to following his career.

2021 Low Carbon Award Winners

Wei Zhang: China Program

Wei Zhang, of the Master of Engineering Science program at the University of Science and Technology of China, won the 2021 Low Carbon Award for his work with Decathlon.

Wei investigated the use of coal by Decathlon’s suppliers in China, formulated feasibility plans for replacing coal with alternative energy sources, and analyzed the cost and carbon emissions reduction potential associated with these changes.

Wei’s work has the potential to enable Decathlon’s Chinese suppliers to accelerate their transition to cleaner energy sourcing and helps to advance Decathlon’s global coal removal efforts.

Junmei Hu: China Program

Junmei Hu, of the Master of Environmental Management program at the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at Peking University, won the 2021 Low Carbon Award for her work with Huafeng Group.

Junmei was enlisted by her host to help set energy transition goals and identify solutions suitable for the textile enterprise. She analyzed four solutions including biomass, natural gas, on-site photovoltaic projects and energy procurement, and recommended several company-wide goals to reduce the company’s climate impact.

Junmei’s work culminated in a proposed 2030 Energy Transition Roadmap, which could help the company achieve coal removal by 2023 and 100% renewable electricity by 2025, among other milestones. On-site solar projects and other energy procurement opportunities identified in the Roadmap have the potential to save Huafeng millions of yuan in energy costs annually.

Past Award Winners

The Business Case Award

The Innovation Award

The Collaboration Award