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NYU-Poly Student Receives EPA’s GRO Fellowship to Develop Fiber-Optic Sensors to Prevent Oil Spillage


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the Greater Research Opportunity (GRO) Fellowship to 40 undergraduate students in the country.

Kevin Chen, a mechanical engineering sophomore at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly), is one of the students to receive the award. He aims to prevent environmental disasters that are caused by oil spills by developing sensors that prevent such disasters.

The EPA award will provide a paid summer internship, tuition funding and stipend for student’s senior and junior years of study. The fellowship will help Chen to continue his research on fiber-optic sensors for the engineering and environmental challenge. The intensity-modulated optical fiber-loop sensors that Chen is working on provide a number of benefits compared to traditional sensors that are used in oil rigs.

Chen plans to show how the fiber-optic sensors could be used to monitor temperature, pressure, vibration, structural health and flow rates by deploying them along the oil pipelines. Since laser light is used for the sensing process, the chances of electrical sparks are eliminated. The data received would help detect any dangerous conditions that may occur in oil rigs.

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