A Yale SOM student team won the Avangrid Clean Energy Hackathon event during an October 6 competition that asked students to brainstorm solutions to energy challenges.
The Hackathon was part of Avangrid’s sixth annual Innovation Forum, titled “Accelerating the Transformation.” Avangrid, a sustainable energy company, is part of the Iberdrola Group.
The Hackathon paired teams of students with Avangrid subject matter experts to develop solutions to some of the energy sector’s biggest challenges. Challenge winners received a $10,000 tuition scholarship, and the Hackathon provided cash prizes to first-, second- and third-place student teams.
The winning Yale SOM team included Perry Bakas ’24, Himanshu Krishnan ’24, and Nick Page ’24, who delivered a data-driven solution to the problem of strategically deploying electric vehicle charging stations.
“We had to figure out how to understand the quantity of DC fast chargers needed on interstate corridors throughout Avangrid territory and give a plan on placing those chargers,” Bakas said. Teams were given 32 hours to come up with solutions. Given the time constraints, the Yale SOM team decided to focus only on the Interstate 95 corridor in Maine.
“After understanding traffic flow, we used some public NREL tools to understand the quantity of fast chargers needed on this stretch of interstate,” Bakas said. “From there, it was really a problem of creating a replicable approach that Avangrid could follow to analyze any stretch of interstate throughout its territory. This approach was a value-add to Avangrid, and I believe it’s why we were able to win.”
Page, who is new to the sustainability/clean energy field, entered the competition to get a taste of real-world problem solving in the industry. “It was also rewarding to apply tools from our first quarter core classes, like linear programming, to develop a winning solution,” he said. “I learned that my pivot from health policy consulting to sustainability is definitely the right move for me!”
Competing teams included more than 30 students from Cornell, UConn, Harvard, MIT, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Yale.