UC Davis-Office of Naval Research Collaboration

UC Davis is supporting the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) in its efforts to conduct energy research and train military personnel as part of the Navy Enterprise Partnership Teaming with Universities for National Excellence (NEPTUNE) program. NEPTUNE aims to help the Navy and Marine Corps discover ways to improve energy conservation, generate renewable energy, and implement energy-efficient technologies, while giving active duty military, military students, and veterans the chance to immerse themselves in university-level research.

As part of the NEPTUNE program, UC Davis is currently conducting 4 energy-related research projects. UC Davis is also completing several energy-related research projects as part of NEPTUNE 1.0. Each project will help the Navy reach its energy goals and will employ and train undergraduate and graduate level students that are prospective, current, and former military personnel.

Current Research Projects

Safety-Assured, Perception-Based Navigation and Control of Unmanned Aerial Systems in Riverine Environments

In the near future, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are envisioned to serve the tactical roles of casualty evacuation and as a wingman for dismounted Marines and SOF. The goal of the project is to develop navigation and control algorithms that allow UAS to safely and effectively fly in complex riverine areas under the canopy and weather conditions. The project will leverage my team’s expertise on vision-based control of UAS, reinforcement learning, safety-assured control, and the development of control algorithms for UAS flying in challenging weather conditions.

Project PI: Zhaodan Kong

High Accuracy, Low Cost Ventilation Verification Tool for Testing and Commissioning HVAC Systems

An efficient and effective method to validate zone-level ventilation rates and improve the HVAC commissioning process in military buildings. Using the tracer gas decay method, an in-house acceptance process will be developed to improve indoor air quality for military personnel, thereby improving decision making performance, particularly in the areas of basic strategy and initiative.

Project PI: Caton Mande

Energy Storage for Main Operating Bases

The relative interest in battery technologies is extremely high to the affiliates of the Department of Defense. On average, each person uses 0.7 - 1.8 kW, and this is equal to 420-1080 kW in a battalion (600 people). The technologies requiring battery support range from examples such as portable charging station of unmanned aerial vehicles, charging of hybrid vehicles and intermittent energy supply support and manage to smarter energy consumption. The attributes required of next-generation batteries are of course highly dependent on specific applications. This project looks into developing non-aqueous energy-dense redox flow batteries (NRFB) for use at Travis Air-Force base, or other stationary bases, with potential for future deployment at forward operating bases.

Project PI: Louise Berben

Scaling a Building Energy Audit Tool

Small and medium-sized buildings face significant market barriers to procuring deep energy efficiency retrofits. The complexity of the current market offerings and a lack of clarity regarding whole building, integrated retrofit options, produces uncertainty in the marketplace, ultimately paralyzing potential consumers and constraining the amount of comprehensive, quality, cost-effective projects that are completed. While a number of piecemeal solutions exist, there is a need to comprehensively reevaluate the retrofit process in order to transform the market. This project will create a software tool to compile and analyze building energy audit data to aid in prioritization of energy-related retrofit projects on campus. The end product will be a publicly available software tool available for use on military sites as well as small and medium commercial buildings.

Project PI: Josh Morejohn


Principal Investigators 


Erfan Rasouli

Research Coordinator

Vinod Narayanan

Overall Principal Investigator

Benjamin Finkelor

EEI Executive Director

Events and Activities

For more information, please contact Erfan Rasouli.