Cummins Partners with Great Minds in STEM to Provide Scholarships and Support

Cummins Great Minds in STEM - 2021 Scholarships

For more than a decade, Cummins has partnered with Great Minds in STEM™ (GMiS) to provide scholarships that support Hispanic students seeking STEM-related degrees in U.S. colleges, helping to close financial gaps so they can focus on their future. This year’s Cummins Scholarship recipients were recognized during the organization’s virtual conference, held last month, along with more than 80 other outstanding STEM Scholars from around the country. 

Great Minds in STEM - Cummins Scholars
This year's GMiS Cummins Scholarship recipients were recognized during the organization's virtual conference.

"College education costs keep rising year over year, and for some students, this has made the dream of pursuing higher education unattainable,” said Erika Murguia, Data Science and Innovation Director, Quality Analytics, Cummins. "Through our participation with GMiS, Cummins aspires to support and attract top STEM talent that can bring innovation, diverse experiences and insights to our company." 

In order to be eligible for the Cummins Scholarship in conjunction with the GMIS Scholarship Program, students have to exhibit academic achievements, leadership and involvement in campus and/or community activities. They must be enrolled in a STEM degree and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Each Cummins Scholar received $5,000 and the opportunity to interview with Cummins for an internship or co-op position during 2022.

During this year’s GMiS conference, Cummins Supplier Quality Manager Jesus Escobar was honored with The Luminary Spotlight Award, an honor for those who have made significant contributions to the Hispanic technical community as leaders and role models in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Read more: GMiS Luminary Spotlight: Jesus Escobar of Cummins Inc. - Great Minds in STEM

Cummins also participated in and sponsored several events at the conference including [email protected] in Computing, Speed Networking, College Bowl, a hackathon, a webinar entitled "Things Your Parents Didn’t Tell You," and a virtual career fair.

Great Minds in STEM™ is the gateway for Hispanics in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Established in 1989, as HENAAC, Great Minds in STEM focuses on STEM educational awareness programs for students from kindergarten to career. Cummins has been partnering with Great Minds in STEM for nearly a decade.

Read more: GMiS scholarships - Three GMiS 2021 Scholars awarded Cummins scholarships - Great Minds in STEM
 

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Catherine Morgenstern - Cummins Inc.

Catherine Morgenstern

Catherine Morgenstern is a Brand Journalist for Cummins, covering topics such as alternative propulsion, digitalization, manufacturing innovation, autonomy, sustainability, and workplace trends. She has more than 20 years of experience in corporate communications, holding leadership positions most recently within the Industrial Capital Goods sector.

Catherine began her career as a marketing writer for a biotechnology company, where she learned to take complicated and highly technical information and make it accessible to everyone. She believes the concept of “storytelling” is more than a trendy buzzword and loves to find ways for her readers to make personal connections to her subjects. Catherine has a passion for technology and innovation and how its intersection can make an impact in all our lives.

Catherine recently moved back to her hometown in the Hudson Valley, New York after a several decades in Los Angeles and Chicago. She is a graduate of UCLA and enjoys gardening and spending time with her husband and three children.

Learn to overcome power failure with successful generator paralleling for emergency power systems

The centralized power grid may fail but your standby power system should not. With the changing climate and an outdated centralized power grid, the importance of emergency power systems continues to grow. This in turn has increased the need for a highly reliable standby power systems solution. 

Join Cummins Power Generation’s free upcoming webcast with Consulting-Specifying Engineer on February 17th for a comprehensive overview of fundamental control features needed to parallel generator sets together and with the electrical grid. Traditional switchgear paralleling is reviewed and compared with the integrated paralleling controls that use distributed logic architecture to help you specify a reliable paralleling system. This course can be attributed to continuous learning credits as attendees qualify for a Certificate of Completion.

This informative seminar will be led by our Global Technical Advisor, Hassan Obeid. Hassan has been with Cummins since 2007 in a variety of roles encompassing power systems design engineering, project engineering and application engineering. His passion for solving a wide range of complex technical problems led him to design several crucial power systems components such as switchgears, controls, paralleling, transfer switches, generator sets and digital solutions for a variety of power system applications. 

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Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

What is the hydrogen rainbow?

Perhaps you’ve heard of blue hydrogen, green hydrogen, or even pink hydrogen, but what do these multi-hued descriptors actually mean? The colors that make up the hydrogen rainbow tell us a lot about how each specific kind of hydrogen is produced and the effects it can have on our planet.

Hydrogen might be the most abundant element in the universe, but it doesn’t exist on its own. Instead, it is produced through a number of processes that each yield different types of energy, which come with their own sets of benefits, byproducts and uses. The production method is what gives each kind of hydrogen its colorful moniker — though there is no universal naming convention, so definitions can change over time and vary between countries.

Let’s break down the current hydrogen color code and take a look at how one hue of hydrogen, in particular, is leading scientists and manufacturers to the pot of gold — a zero-emission future — at the end of the hydrogen rainbow.

Grey hydrogen

Grey hydrogen is created from natural gas, most commonly methane, through a process called steam methane reformation. While it is currently the most common form of hydrogen production, the greenhouse gases made in the process aren’t captured. 

Blue hydrogen

Blue hydrogen relies on the conventional process of steam methane reforming, but the carbon dioxide produced as a byproduct is captured and sequestered underground.  It is a source of clean hydrogen with a low carbon content. 

Turquoise hydrogen

One of the newer colors to join the hydrogen spectrum, turquoise hydrogen is produced via a process called methane pyrolysis. Its primary outputs are hydrogen and solid carbon. While turquoise hydrogen has no proven impact at scale yet, it has potential as a low-emission solution if scientists can find ways to power the thermal process with renewable energy and properly use or store the carbon byproduct. 

Pink hydrogen

Pink hydrogen taps into nuclear energy to fuel the electrolysis required to produce it. The high temperatures of the nuclear reactors provide an additional benefit — the extreme heat produces steam that can be used for electrolysis or fossil gas-based steam methane reforming in other forms of hydrogen production.

Brown/black hydrogen

If green and blue hydrogen hold the key to cleaner hydrogen production, brown or black hydrogen are the exact opposite and the most environmentally damaging. Relying on gasification of coal to produce hydrogen, this process releases harmful carbon emissions that can have a long-lasting impact on our climate

Green hydrogen

Amidst the hydrogen rainbow, green hydrogen is the only variety produced with zero harmful greenhouse gas emissions. It is created using renewable energy sources like solar, wind and hydropower to electrolyze water. The resulting reaction produces only hydrogen and oxygen, meaning zero carbon dioxide is emitted in the process.

While the benefits of green hydrogen are significant, its production is more expensive today. Consequently, green hydrogen makes up just a small percentage of current hydrogen production. But as new advances and innovations in green hydrogen are made, the price will come down, and it will hopefully become common across the globe.

The future of hydrogen is green

Hydrogen has been used as fuel for more than two centuries. Today, thousands of vehicles and machines around the world are powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The emphasis on reducing carbon emissions and working towards a greener, sustainable future has shifted the focus of many power leaders, including Cummins, to investment and innovation in green hydrogen production. It could prove to be the gold at the end of the hydrogen rainbow.

The cost of production has slowed the wide-scale adoption of hydrogen power. Many leaders in the power industry are now putting an emphasis on making hydrogen fuel cells more readily available to consumers. Cummins is building on our industry-leading electrolyzer technology to reduce the cost of hydrogen fuel cells and make it easier to get green power solutions into our customers’ hands. 

Green hydrogen isn’t just taking center stage in the private sector, either. Governments around the world are putting forth hydrogen strategies and passing legislation to encourage the production and use of these green technologies. 

The exciting possibilities of green hydrogen are guiding innovation for Cummins and other power leaders, but the idea of a zero-emission future can’t rest solely on green hydrogen. We’re leveraging all of our alternative power technologies to further global decarbonization and provide the right solutions at the right time to our customers seeking sustainability.

Keep up with alternative power innovation

From long-range possibilities to innovations happening now, Net Zero News delivers monthly highlights for low-carbon energy. Subscribe today to receive the next issue in your inbox.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Types of distributed energy resources

Distributed energy resources, or DERs, have rapidly expanded over the past decade. Their expansion is one of the most significant changes that the power generation sector has experienced in that period. 

If DERs are new to you, don’t forget to check out what are distributed energy resources and how they work before going ahead.

Homeowners and businesses install DERs to reduce their energy bills and to have backup power in the event of a service outage. 

Utilities and independent power producers (IPPs) install DERs as standalone assets on the grid to supply a variety of grid services. Increasingly, the industry is focusing on aggregating residential and commercial DERs to provide services to the electricity grid. There are several benefits of distributed energy resources in these use cases, including transmission deferral and generation balancing. 

DERs include several categories of small and modular electricity generation technologies. Here are the main ones:

Small hydro as a distributed energy resource

Hydroelectricity remains one of the most widely used forms of renewable energy

Hydroelectric plants of all scales exist, from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s enormous dams, to small run-of-the-river turbines which provide a few kilowatts of power. Small hydro consists of units smaller than 5 MW, though definitions vary. Small hydro units usually involve no dam, so they have less environmental impact than large projects, and can be built with less red tape. 

Small hydro units are built wherever streams, rivers and other water resources are available, which naturally results in a highly distributed development model.

Solar as distributed energy resource

Solar panels are one of the fastest growing power generation technologies. 

In the residential, commercial and industrial sectors, the growth of solar power has been promoted by feed-in tariff and net metering policies, as well as rapidly falling prices for solar arrays. Under feed-in tariffs, utilities are required to purchase solar electricity from homeowners and businesses, usually at an attractive rate. 

Net-metering policies, meanwhile, allow solar producers to credit the electricity they produced, against their consumption, on their utility bill. Where such policies are in place, significant quantities of solar DERs have thus become integrated into the broader electric grid.

Demand response as distributed energy resource

Demand response schemes have also existed for a long time. 

Traditionally, they consisted of agreements between utilities and industrial sites with large electric loads. When the utility called, the factory would shut down a set of large machines or heaters, thus alleviating the load on the grid. 

Lately, demand response schemes have trended towards an even more distributed form. 

Changes in the regulatory environment have enabled homeowners and small businesses to become participants in demand response aggregates. The load from a single home is not significant in terms of balancing the grid. When aggregated, however, the load from several thousand homes constitutes a DER which utilities have come to value highly.

Battery energy storage as distributed energy resource

Battery energy storage has been growing at a rapid pace since its appearance in the power sector as a mainstream technology in 2016. 

Most stationary battery systems in service or in construction today use lithium-ion batteries—the same kind that power phones and electric vehicles, but other types of stationary energy storage technologies are sometimes used in power applications. Flow batteries, for example, are an emerging category of energy storage batteries which use a liquid electrolyte, and can be made to last a very long time, overcoming many of the technological challenges of lithium ion batteries.

Battery energy storage systems of all scales exist, from large centralized systems with several hundred megawatt-hours of capacity to home battery packs rated for a few kilowatt-hours. The latter can be included in virtual power plant aggregations along with demand response contracts. Residential energy storage aggregations are actually an innovation that has only recently been deployed at scale.

Power generators as distributed energy resources

Standalone power generators are a popular choice for many businesses and homeowners. Residential and commercial generators are typically used to provide backup power. 

Types of distributed energy resources

For data centers, hospitals , air traffic control centers and many other types of activities, a power outage can lead to significant negative consequences, so backup generators are kept on-site in case of a grid outage. 

Some facilities also use on-site generators during normal times to optimize their energy profile. Most of the time, these generators serve the facility’s own needs and are not interconnected to the grid in a way that allows them to export power. 

Increasingly, however, facility managers are able to enter into power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the utility, or with private off-takers to whom they supply power via the grid. From an economic standpoint, this makes a lot of sense. Why leave backup generators doing nothing more than 99% of the time when they could be used to make money instead? 

It’s not just large industrial generators that can be used to export power to the grid. Small-scale commercial and residential generators can also potentially be aggregated into virtual power plants in the same way that demand response schemes and battery systems are.

Upcoming technologies of distributed energy resources

Distributed energy resources belong to a field which is rapidly evolving.  

Several upcoming technologies are likely to achieve broad appeal in the next decade or two. Fuel cells, for example, rely on technologies that are well understood. Though their cost remains prohibitively high for mainstream applications, many companies and research institutions are developing more affordable fuel cells. In a home, a fuel cell could run on either natural gas or hydrogen and could provide electricity, heat and hot water, all in the same package. Fuel cells could, like generators, also be interconnected to the grid and serve as DERs.

Some see the utilization of electric vehicles to provide energy storage on the grid as a sort of Holy Grail of DER technology. Electric vehicles contain lithium-ion battery cells that are very similar to the battery cells used in home battery packs and in large-scale energy-storage applications. When they are plugged in, their batteries have the potential to serve as distributed energy storage assets for the grid. There are various technical and practical obstacles to overcome before this can be the case, but this is an area of active research and development. 

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Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Benefits of distributed energy resources

Distributed energy resources, or DERs, are increasingly popular among utilities and wholesale electricity market participants. 

DERs are a category of power generation resources defined by their size and their location. Definitions vary, but few physical DERs would be larger than a couple of megawatts. Diesel or natural gas generators, microturbines, run-of-the-river hydro units, solar arrays, wind turbines, and battery energy storage units are common sub-megawatt DERs. For more on this, check out what are Distributed Energy Resources and how do they work.

DERs, being smaller in size than traditional power plants, have lower permitting requirements, use less land, and don’t involve extensive infrastructure upgrades. 

Crucially, many DERs are already there. DERs can be found within microgrids, central generation networks, and beyond. Numerous homes and businesses are now equipped with battery energy storage units or backup power generators designed for their own use. Increasingly, utilities and DER aggregators incorporate these assets in virtual power plants that support the wider electric grid. From a utility’s perspective, installing the communications upgrades and software platform needed to effectively control these existing assets as a virtual power plant is easier, less expensive and faster than building an equivalent generating resource from scratch.

DERs can also be located close to load centers. Most people don’t want to live next to a power plant, so historically, power plants have been built away from cities. In most parts of the world, this has led to a power grid development model where large remote power plants are connected to customers via long-distance transmission lines. These transmission lines are limited in capacity, creating a variety of constraints which utilities and grid operators must carefully manage. It’s not enough to generate electricity—the electricity also needs to be delivered to consumers. 

DERs, in contrast, can be deployed and located in densely populated areas. Residential energy storage units, for example, are found in population centers. Likewise, demand-response DERs are usually provided by factories located in industrial areas and, increasingly, by homes located in residential neighborhoods.

Different types of distributed energy resources are available for these various application scenarios.

Their unique attributes mean strategically placed DERs can deliver attractive benefits in return for a relatively small investment. These benefits can be categorized as follows:

Benefits of DERs: Transmission and distribution deferral

DERs located within or close to cities are not subject to transmission constraints in the same way remote power plants are. 

On the contrary, alleviating transmission and distribution constraints is one of the top reasons why utilities deploy DERs. This is known as transmission deferral, or distribution deferral. When, for example, a small city grows, there comes a time when existing transmission lines are no longer sufficient to carry all the electricity needed. Traditionally, a new transmission line would be built. 

Deploying DERs within city limits provides an alternative. A comparatively small investment in DERs can result in enough locally available capacity to sustain the incremental growth of the city for a few years. 

The additional capacity allows the utility to defer the construction of new power lines for a number of years without compromising the reliability of the city’s power supply. From a financial point of view, delaying such a major investment can save the utility, and in turn the ratepayers, a lot of money.

Distributed Energy resources provide a way for utilities to defer costly grid upgrades

Benefits of DERs: Generation capacity and balancing

In some cases, it may be possible to avoid building a new transmission line entirely. If enough DERs are deployed within a city, the DERs can potentially shave off the peaks in the electric demand coming from the city. Battery energy storage units, back-up generators and demand response resources, specifically, are all great ways to reduce peak demand. 

The result is the city overall has a flatter load profile, which is easier to support, reducing the level of investment needed in the regional electricity grid infrastructure. For example, this may delay or remove the need to build a new peaker power plant, upgrade a substation or build new transmission lines.

Peak-shaving assets are in especially high demand in areas where the potential for renewable energy such as solar or wind power is good. In some of those areas, the rapid growth of solar and wind power—under both distributed and centralized models—has made it very difficult to balance the electric grid. Solar and wind power resources are inherently intermittent, so other resources are needed for balancing them out. 

To simplify, for every megawatt of solar capacity on the grid, another megawatt of non-intermittent capacity needs to be available for cloudy days and for evenings—this is what peak-shaving resources do. 

Benefits of DERs: Ancillary services

Ancillary services make up the third category of DER benefits. 

Making sure consumers receive distortion-free AC current, with a frequency of exactly 50 Hz and a voltage of exactly 120V is not a simple task. The utility or the grid operator relies on a set of specialty service resources to achieve the required quality of service. 

For example, if a frequency deviation is detected on the grid, the system operator may request the intervention of frequency control resources. Frequency control resources can be power generation or demand-response resources. By adding or removing a small amount of power from the grid, they return the grid frequency to its nominal value. 

Ancillary services have been traditionally provided by large production units such as coal power plants. In recent years, however, DERs have emerged as valid alternatives for certain categories of ancillary services.

Some categories of DERs, for example, are great at providing fast response services such as fast frequency control. At best, large thermal power plants take several minutes to start up or ramp up when responding to frequency control calls. Battery energy storage units, in contrast, can respond in milliseconds. 

Likewise, residential demand-response resources can provide load reductions in seconds or less. 

In some areas, DERs have been so successful they have almost entirely displaced traditional power generation units for certain categories of ancillary services. In the United Kingdom, for example, more than 90% of ancillary service capacity contracts awarded by the grid operator in the past several years have gone to aggregated demand-response resources, energy storage units, or hydroelectric power plants. DERs may thus have contributed, in an indirect way, to the retirement of coal and gas-fired power plants, which previously subsisted by offering ancillary services to the grid.

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Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

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