Trevor Hale, associate professor of management, marketing and business in the University of Houston-Downtown’s College of Business, recently was awarded his fourth Summer Faculty Fellowship from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), an executive branch of the U.S. Department of Research.
Hale, who earned a doctorate in engineering operations research, will spend 10 weeks this summer at Port Hueneme Naval Base in Oxnard, California, researching ways to effectively reduce the organizations $1 billion monthly energy expenses.
“The Navy is not necessarily in the business of making money,” Hale said. “However, it is in all of our best interest that they are saving and conserving their resources as much as possible.”
Hale believes strongly that energy security is a matter of national security, and that one of the ways in which the Navy can secure energy is to supply or store its own. During his three former terms in the fellowship, Hale explored energy security and options for energy storage to make the Navy more efficient.
In particular, he determined that an investment in energy storage technologies would allow the Navy to purchase energy during off-peak hours, store it, and use it during peak times.
“As a result of that research, some low-tech methods are now in use as a proof-of-concept project,” Hale said. “Now, I hope to build a case for upgrading to more high-tech solutions such as flywheel technology, to give them an even bigger bang for their buck.”
Renewable energy is another topic of interest for Hale and naval decision makers. Specifically, at Camp Lemonnier, the only US military base in Africa, diesel generators are often used to power campsites, requiring continual imports of diesel and related resources from as far as Naples, Italy. As an alternative, the research team will explore ways to efficiently harness solar power in the East African desert by overcoming challenges created by boundless sand and high winds.
The Office of Naval Research sponsors the Summer Faculty Research program for professors and researchers from colleges and universities across the nation who participate in research of mutual interest to them and their peers at the U.S. Navy Laboratories. About 120 fellows are selected each year – an average of 25% of all applicants.
Hale is a senior member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Science and the Decision Sciences Institute. He has published both theoretical and applied research in the Annals of Operations Research, the European Journal of Operation Research, the International Journal of Production Research, and the International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management among several other journals.