Rhythima Shinde

Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management

Rhythima Shinde completed two master’s programmes: Engineering and Policy Analysis (EPA, with honours), including field work in India, and Computer Science, including a graduate project at ETH Zurich. Her career as an Honours student at Delft furthermore included an active board membership of the Energy Club, the publication of several journal papers and a book chapter, various student assistantships to support cybersecurity and open-data research, and the development of MOOCs. She also co-founded a start-up company ‘Energy Bazaar’, where she now puts her research findings and recommendations to immediate use.

Rhythima graduated from MSc EPA on electrifying rural India through institutional innovation. Her thesis was rewarded with a grade 9.5. She executed empirical research in India and developed an institutional innovation framework to analyse her empirical findings, furthering Nobel prize winner Elinor Ostrom’s work. She built various agent-based computational models to verify her framework and then, through this framework and her models, she identified feasible and durable system designs and policy alternatives for electrifying rural India. She more than proved her mastery of all skills that make her a true Delft-trained policy analyst: providing computationally strong, empirically-sound engineering solutions for solving society’s critical issues.

“Rhythima’s career in Delft is nothing short of impressive and she may be the ultimate example of a scientifically driven, intelligent, broadly-interested, entrepreneurial, socially responsible engineer, with a demonstrable impact on science and society.”

Graduation committee – Prof. Paulien Herder, Dr Amineh Ghorbani, Dr Martijn Warnier

Thesis synopsis

Around 100 million households live without electricity in India. At the same time, there is a booming solar panel market in India. This gives an opportunity for escalating the reach through peer to peer (p2p) electricity exchange. The thesis explored the potential and challenges of this p2p solution with an extensive field study, development of theoretical framework to understand diffusion of emerging technologies considering community benefits (e.g. role of cooperative shops, etc.) and finally proposing socio-tech policies (e.g. hybrid microgrid-p2p solutions, anonymization of network) for making such projects a success for energy companies and consumers. The results of this thesis were successfully implemented in a computer science thesis to facilitate AI based optimization platform. The cumulative knowledge thus gained has lead to start-up 'Energy Bazaar' to implement the results in India. If implemented at scale, these solutions would accelerate complete household electrification of India by 2025.

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