Dr. Vijay Modi

Director, Quadracci Sustainable Engineering Lab, Columbia Climate School

Affiliated with: The Columbia Electrochemical Energy Center (CEEC)

Professor, Mechanical Engineering & Earth and Environmental Engineering
Faculty Member, Data Science Institute

500 West 120th Street
Suite 220, Mail Code 4703
New York, NY 10027

BIOGRAPHY: Dr. Modi’s current areas of research interest fall broadly under two themes. One, de-carbonization of the energy system, electrification of heat/transport), digitization, interaction of the grid or a local micro-grid with buildings/storage/vehicles/HVAC. Much of the effort is built through modeling tools that aim to replicate the key features of the supply, demand, transmission, regulatory and market systems. Two, energy access, energy resource and infrastructure planning for access and renewable integration, demand estimation and role of novel payment systems in breaking barriers to upfront costs. Much of the effort is aimed at analysis and field experiments that aid cost-effective access. His laboratory, the Quadracci Sustainable Engineering Lab (QSEL), has been responsible for innovations such as a low-cost lead-acid charge/discharge circuit for solar lanterns (2005), fully digital pay-as-you-go minigrids (Sharedsolar) that have been continuously operating as pilots since 2011, battery-less PAYG smallholder irrigation systems (2013-15) and widely used tools such as “Network Planner” for making technology choices under demographic, demand and geographic variations. Finally his laboratory has been responsible for a free open-source app called FormHub, used over a million times for assessing field data. Most recently he has worked on larger scale electricity and natural gas networks, their long-term cost/benefits and impact on access to energy, fertilizer and industrial growth.
While his early work was on heat transfer, cooling towers, gas turbines, computational fluid dynamics and micro-electro-mechanical systems, his recent work has been on energy infrastructure design & planning; solar energy; energy efficiency in agriculture, and data analytics spanning from urban settings to remote rural settings. He is currently working closely with city and national agencies/utilities to understand how energy services can be more accessible, more efficient and cleaner. His recent project on minigrids is providing a unique understanding of consumer behavior, demand for energy, and business models for deploying energy solutions and energy efficiency.



Only select projects listed below
Name Start Date End Date
Affordable Healthcare in India Translation Award 10/1/11 7/31/15
Consultancy Agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Earth Institute II 6/15/12 6/14/13
Consultancy Services for Preparation of National Electrification Least Cost Geospatial Rollout Plan 1/14/16 5/28/17
Consultancy to support Preparatory Study and Readiness Assessment for Electrification Planning for B 10/18/16 12/31/18
Create a Foursquare for Development 11/1/13 4/30/15
Cutting Edge ICT : How ICT is Poised to Change the Delivery of Energy Services - a 1.5 Day Event 8/1/17 12/31/18
Development of a toolkit for planning universal access to electricity in Latin America and the Caribbean 4/11/16 10/10/16
Elaboration of a Rural electrifcation Investment Program for Senegal and Preparation of a Prospectus 4/18/16 3/31/18
Electricity Growth and Use in Developing Economies (e-GUIDE) Center 1/1/19 12/31/21
ENI SDSN Energy for all in Sub-Saharan Africa 7/26/13 6/25/17
Facilitating Combined Heat and Power Projects in New York City 7/1/11 12/31/12
Geospatial Energy Infrastructure Planning for Tanzania: Advanced Training and Follow-on Support 10/5/16 6/30/17
Geospatial Mapping and Least Cost Electrification Planning including an Access Scale- up Program Ren 9/3/12 3/3/14
Guinea National Electrification Scale-Up 10/24/14 10/23/15
Haiti Regeneration Initiative / Cote Sud Initiative 1/1/11 10/31/12
IGERT: Solving Urbanization Challenges by Design – A New PhD Program Between Architecture & Engineering 8/1/09 7/31/16
INFEWS/T1: Understanding Multi-scale Resilience Options for Vulnerable Regions 9/15/16 8/31/20
Liberia Power Sector Capacity Building and Energy Master Planning 12/15/11 8/31/13
MESA: The Metropolitan Evacuation Simulation Application 9/1/13 10/1/14
Micro-Solar Utilities for Small-Scale Irrigation in Mali 10/1/13 9/30/15
Myanmar-Support the National Electrification Project (NEP) Investment and Budget planning process 3/13/15 6/30/15
Nigeria Electricity Access Program (NEAP) Technical Assistance (TA) 6/10/14 6/30/15
Nigeria Electricity Access Program (NEAP-2) - Technical Assistance (TA) 8/25/15 6/30/16
Papua New Guinea - Toward Development of a National Electricity Roll-Out Plan 7/12/13 12/31/13
Preparing of Myanmar National Electrification Least cost Geospatial Planning (grind and off grind) 11/5/13 3/12/15
Promotion of Smart Solar Irrigation Systems in West Africa 8/7/18 8/31/20
Rural Energy Plan subaward- Network Expansion Inputs Development of the rural Energy Master Plan 7/1/15 5/1/16
Science-Based Policy Innovation and Implementation for the MDGs 10/1/06 12/31/11
TA-7512 REG: Empowering the Poor through Increasing Access to Energy-Development of GIS-Based Decision 11/14/14 3/15/16
The African Millennium Village Initiative (Phase 2) 1/1/08 6/30/11
Supporting Irrigated/Non-irrigated Land Field Survey Prioritization through Use of Satellite Imagery in Selected Areas of Ethiopia 9/1/20 1/31/21
Heating Energy Modeling with Breakthrough Energy 10/1/20 9/30/22
Energy Reform in Paraguay 6/1/20 8/26/21
Support the development of a consolidated data portal and analytics dashboard for the ATA horticulture ACCs 4/21/20 9/30/21
Interconnected Pathways to Development 9/1/21 8/31/24
Electricity Growth and Use in Developing Economies (E-GUIDE) Nigeria: Estimating Latent Demand for Electricity 12/1/19 9/1/23
Deep Atlantic's Role Millennial Atmospheric CO2 Changes 3/26/19 12/31/21