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GCEP Student Activities

2017 GCEP Student Energy Lectures

Stanford grad students, postdocs, faculty and staff interested in energy are invited.

Speaker Schedule, Abstracts and Bios


June 26, 2017
Jacques de ChalendarJacques de Chalendar: Management of Grid-Friendly Electrified District Heating and Cooling

Abstract: The goal of this work is to model and understand how to design and control complex energy systems such as Stanford University’s campus that interact with not one but several energy carriers such as electricity, heat and fuels; and to explore the potential of flexible energy system components that can increase the security and affordability of our energy system. Especially interesting to us are ways to control GHG emissions by coordinating the operation and planning of energy systems across geographical and temporal scales while providing reliable, cost-effective energy.

Bio: Jacques is a second year PhD candidate in Energy Resources Engineering. He works with Profs. Sally Benson and Peter Glynn on the modeling and integration of complex energy systems. He also holds an MS degree from Stanford (Energy Resources Engineering), and graduated with MS and BS degrees from Ecole Polytechnique.


Wen Song Wen Song: Transport through Carbonates and Implications for CO2 Storage Security

Abstract: Carbonate reservoirs provide enormous opportunities for CO2 storage. Flow and transport in the subsurface, however, is dictated by pore-scale fluids-fluids/fluids-solids interactions that are not well understood due to rock opacity, complex fluid dynamics, and heterogeneous surface characteristics. In this work, biogenically-functionalized calcite microfluidics are developed to visualize directly the pore-level reactive transport of CO2-acidified solutions in carbonate porous media, specifically carbonate dissolution dynamics. Experimental results show that the acid-calcite reaction produces separate phase CO2 that is retained at the reaction interface. The separate phase CO2 engulfs the grain to cut off aqueous phase reactant delivery to the calcite surface and significantly alters subsequent flow and dissolution patterns.

Bio: Wen is a 3rd year Ph.D. candidate in Energy Resources Engineering (ERE) working under Professor Anthony R. Kovscek's guidance. Her research develops and uses microfluidic platforms to study the surface interactions between fluids and solids that dictate hydrocarbon recovery and CO2 storage. Prior to Stanford she obtained her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and her B.S. in Engineering Science, both at the University of Toronto.

Mengyao YuanMengyao Yuan: Optimization of Membrane-Based Flexible Carbon Capture

Abstract: Carbon capture systems in a high-renewables grid will be required to operate flexibly to respond to varying electricity load and flue gas characteristics from fossil-fired power plants. In this this work, we explore the possibility of flexible carbon capture using membrane separation, an environmentally friendly and highly responsive alternative to amine absorption. We perform optimization to determine the optimal process design and time-varying operations of a membrane system separating CO2 from a natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) with wind energy integration. The total net present value (NPV) of the combined cycle and membrane systems as well as both design and operations of the capture plant are optimized.

Bio: Mengyao Yuan is a fifth-year PhD in Energy Resources Engineering. She works with Professors Adam Brandt and Jennifer Wilcox on membrane technologies for low-carbon energy applications. She received her MS in Environmental Engineering and Science from Stanford University and BEng in Chemical Engineering from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

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July 10, 2017

Austin Sendek Austin Sendek: Building a Better Battery with Machine Learning

Abstract: Discovering promising new materials is central to our ability to design better batteries, but research over the last several decades has been driven by inefficient guess-and-check searches that have resulted in slow progress. Focusing on solid-state electrolyte materials, we build a data-driven model for predicting material performance by applying machine learning to a small set of 40 experimental data points on crystal structure and ionic conductivity from the literature. We use the resulting model to guide an experimental search for high ionic conductivity electrolyte materials, and find that incorporating machine learning yields a several-fold improvement in discoveries over a comparable guess-and-check effort.

Bio: Austin Sendek is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Applied Physics, working under Professors Evan Reed and Yi Cui in Materials Science and Engineering. His research leverages machine learning to accelerate materials design. He is the former President of the Stanford Energy Club and holds a B.S. in Applied Physics from UC Davis.

Ananth Saran YalamarthyAnanth Saran Yalamarthy: Engineering Thermal Transport in III-V Heterostructures

Abstract: III-V heterostructures grown on Silicon are promising platforms to build sensors and electronics that can operate successfully in environments with extreme temperatures, pressures, radiation levels and heat loads. This talk will focus on my work to engineer heterostructure layers in the AlGaN/GaN on Silicon platform to improve heat flux, temperature and energy harvesting capabilities on chip. In particular, I will discuss design trade-offs and demonstrate accurate sensing of heat flux loads at temperatures as high as 500° C.

Bio: Ananth Saran Yalamarthy is a third year PhD student in Mechanical Engineering. He works on exploiting III-V heterostructure platforms for MEMS, sensing and energy applications as part of Prof. Debbie Senesky's lab.

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July 17, 2017

Raisul IslamRaisul Islam: Metal Oxide Carrier Selective Contacts for On-Chip Embedded Photovoltaics

Abstract: Thin crystalline Si (c-Si) solar cell technology is suitable for on-chip embedded photovoltaics to harvest energy from ambient light powering IoT systems for environmental, medical and agricultural monitoring. It has also the potential to be integrated with a perovskite cell to result in high efficiency tandem cell on flexible substrate. Besides, insufficient light absorption, the performance of thin c-Si cells is impacted by poor contact selectivity. In my talk, I will discuss how we can improve energy harvesting for IoT devices by metal oxide carrier selective contact integration to thin c-silicon solar cells. Our experimental results show that integration of binary metal oxides increases the efficiency of ultra-thin solar cell by ~12%.

Bio: Raisul Islam is currently a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. Before joining Stanford, he graduated from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in Bangladesh obtaining his B.S. and M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering. His PhD work with Prof. Krishna Saraswat focuses on improving the contact selectivity of ultra-thin c-Si solar cells to increase energy harvesting for IoT devices using transition metal oxides. Additionally, his work involves the study of oxides for understanding the resistive random access memory and doping in 2D semiconductors.

Matthew SmithMatthew Smith: White-Light Emission in Layered Lead-Halide Perovskites

Abstract: Pure white light from sunlight envelops the surface of our planet, yet it remains difficult to efficiently produce this light artificially. Materials that emit white light are rare but promising for solid-state lighting applications to substantially decrease the energy burden of artificial illumination. The layered lead-halide perovskites deliver on this promise, with photoluminescence that spans the visible spectrum and appears as white light. We ascribe this emission to recombination of self-trapped excitons, using ultrafast spectroscopic experiments to understand its mechanism. We further investigate the structural origins of this phenomenon, and propose design rules for optimizing white-light emission from these materials.

Bio: Matthew D. Smith is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Chemistry working with Prof. Hemamala Karunadasa on the optoelectronic properties of 2D halide perovskites, with a focus on their applications in luminescence. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from Haverford College in 2013.

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July 24, 2017

Nick RolstonNick Rolston: Scaffold-Reinforced Perovskite Compound Solar Cells for Improved Stability

Abstract: Perovskite solar cells are all the hype nowadays, but fracture analyses of state-of-the-art devices have revealed that both the perovskite active layer and adjacent carrier selective contacts are mechanically fragile—a major obstacle to further technological advance which significantly compromises their thermomechanical reliability and operational lifetimes. We report a new concept in solar cell design, the compound solar cell (CSC), which addresses the intrinsic fragility of these materials with mechanically reinforcing internal scaffolds. The internal scaffold effectively partitions a conventional monolithic planar solar cell into an array of dimensionally scalable and mechanically shielded individual perovskite cells that are laterally encapsulated by the surrounding scaffold.

Bio: Nick Rolston is a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Applied Physics in Prof. Reinhold Dauskardt's group. He received his undergraduate degrees in physics and mathematics in 2014 at the University of Iowa. His research focuses on designing robust perovskite solar cells for improved mechanical and environmental stability.

Dingchang LinDingchang Lin: Reviving Li Metal Anodes

Abstract: Li metal is one of the most prominent candidates for the next-generation Li battery anodes. Nevertheless, the dendritic Li deposition (explosion hazards) and poor cyclability hinder its practical applications. We have recognized the key role of infinite volume change of Li during cycling to all the problems, and present a new class of composite electrode that exhibits either highly reduced or negligible volume change during electrochemical cycling enabled by stable hosts with lithiophilic surface. The composites also help homogenize the Li-ion flux by the three-dimensional form of Li. The composites afford excellent electrochemical cyclability with constant low polarization and negligible nucleation energy. The new design principle offers important insights and exciting opportunities down the road to practical and stable Li anodes.

Bio: Dingchang Lin is a 4th-year Ph.D. student in Professor Yi Cui’s group in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Tsinghua University (Beijing) in 2013. His research focuses on developing advanced anodes and electrolytes for next-generation high energy lithium batteries.

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July 31, 2017

Peter AttiaPeter Attia: Autonomous Screening and Optimization of Battery Fast-Charging Procedures

Abstract: Fast charging of lithium-ion batteries is critical to enable widespread adaptation of electric vehicles (EVs). While fuel tanks of conventional gasoline vehicles can be refueled in five minutes, current EV “fast charging” often requires thirty minutes. Most ultrafast charging protocols (<10 to 80% of capacity) both subject cells to harsh conditions, significantly reducing battery lifetime, and charge via very simple “CC-CV” algorithms. Our goal is to identify advanced ultrafast charging protocols with lifetimes equaling or exceeding those of 30-minute protocols. Preliminary results indicate we can obtain 10-minute charging with equivalent degradation to the slower baseline.

Bio: Peter Attia is a third year PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering. He works with Prof. William Chueh on improving the rate capability and lifetime of lithium-ion battery anodes. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 2014.

Madhur Boloor Madhur Boloor: Solid-State Design for an Elevated-Temp Photoelectrochemical Cell

Abstract: The majority of photoelectrochemical cells used for solar water splitting operate near room temperature with a liquid or polymeric electrolyte, and are limited by slow kinetics and thermodynamic losses at interfaces. We have recently shown that small temperature increases can substantially improve the minority carrier collection efficiency, and our calculations predict far better performance at temperatures around 400°C. Here, we develop a novel solid-state architecture for elevated temperature photoelectrochemistry using a BiVO4 light absorber and an ultra-thin oxide solid electrolyte. This enables us to achieve photocurrent densities above 75 mA/cm2 – the highest observed in literature for a solid-state photoelectrochemical cell.

Bio: Madhur is a 5th year Ph.D. Candidate in Materials Science and Engineering working with Professor William Chueh, and his research focuses on solar water splitting for sustainable hydrogen generation. Madhur is interested in improving pathways for commercialization of energy research, and is hoping to pursue a career at the interface of energy technology and policy.

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August 7, 2017

Allison HinckleyAllison Hinckley: Thermoelectric Properties of Conductive Metal-Organic Frameworks

Abstract: More than 60% of the energy we consume globally each year is lost as heat. Thermoelectric devices are a compelling means of reducing total energy consumption by reconverting some of the heat loss to electricity. While the thermoelectric efficiency of inorganic materials is limited by high thermal conductivity, organic materials typically suffer from low electrical conductivity and thermopower. Hybrid inorganic/organic systems, however, can potentially overcome these limitations. We present the thermoelectric properties of a novel group of conductive metal-organic frameworks, devoid of additional chemical dopants. This study focuses on how the redox activity of the metal atoms strongly determine device performance.

Bio: Allison is a 4th year Ph.D. student in Chemical Engineering. Prior to arriving at Stanford, she received an MPhil in Micro- and Nanotechnology Enterprise at the University of Cambridge and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from MIT. Allison’s work in Prof. Zhenan Bao’s group explores a variety of different organic and hybrid materials for thermoelectric energy conversion.

Aryeh Gold-ParkerAryeh Gold-Parker: The Role of Chlorine in Perovskite Solar Cells

Abstract: Perovskite solar cells have attained high efficiencies and offer the promise of low cost via solution processing. There are many ways to deposit the perovskite material, and incorporating chlorine into the deposition is known to improve solar cell performance. We show that processing from chlorine leads to the formation of a unique precursor material, which gradually converts into perovskite upon heating. By providing a picture of the chemical pathway from solution to film, we demonstrate a toolkit for studying other perovskite conversion mechanisms in the continued effort to improve solar cell performance via tuning of the precursor chemistry.

Bio: Aryeh (Ari) Gold-Parker is a 4th year Ph.D. student in Chemistry. He works with Dr. Michael Toney at SLAC’s Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) and with Prof. Michael McGehee in Stanford’s department of Materials Science and Engineering. His research focuses on X-Ray studies of hybrid perovskite materials for solar cells. He received his B.A. degree in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard University in 2012.

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August 14, 2017

Dana ThomasDana Thomas: Storing CO2 in Volcanic Rocks Underground: Insights from Experiments

Abstract: Geologic CO2 sequestration provides a safe, fast and effective means of storing CO2 in the subsurface for the long term. The rate and extent of the transformation of CO2 into stable carbonate minerals via the dissolution of silicate phases in volcanic rocks is a function of coupled geochemical and physical processes. To improve our predictive abilities for this strategy, we are performing flow-through experiments at conditions relevant to CO2 sequestration that characterize the location and timing of flow and reaction in basaltic rocks.

Bio: Dana Thomas is a PhD student (6th year) in the Department of Geological Sciences with Professors Kate Maher and Dennis Bird. Her research focuses on the geochemical aspects of storing CO2 in the subsurface. She holds her B.S. in Geology & Geophysics from Louisiana State University.


Frauke KrackeFrauke Kracke: Sustainable Production of Fuels by Combining Microbiology and Electrochemistry

Abstract: One of the biggest challenges of today’s society is the development of novel production processes for organic chemicals that are independent of fossil fuel feedstocks. Autotrophic, electrosyntheic microbes are able to use electrons from electrodes for CO2 reduction to multicarbon compounds. However, this process is majorly limited by low electron uptake rates of the microbes. Electrochemical CO2 reduction on inorganic electrodes, on the other hand, exhibits much higher electron transfer rates and achievable current densities, however, the specificity is usually low resulting in a mixed product stream. This project combines the electrochemical CO2 reduction to small precursor molecules with the highly specific microbial conversion of these precursors to target compounds.

Bio: Frauke completed her studies of Bio- and Chemical Engineering at the Technical University Dortmund, Germany, with Diploma in 2012. She moved to Australia where she studied microbial electron transport and energy metabolism for production applications at the University of Queensland, Brisbane. She graduated with a PhD in April 2016 and joined the Spormann lab at Stanford where she continues to work on bio-electrochemical systems for sustainable production of chemicals and fuels.

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August 21, 2017

Olivia HendricksOlivia Hendricks: Transition Metal Oxide-Titania Alloys for Solar Driven Water Oxidation

Abstract: The synthesis of chemical fuels from solar energy requires a source of electrons. The oxidation of water is the most obvious choice for generating these electrons. Solar driven water oxidation can be accomplished using a metal-insulator-semiconductor (MIS) photoanode, in which a high-quality light absorber (the semiconductor) interfaces with an efficient water oxidation catalyst (the metal). In reality, however, the requirements of the metal layer are more complex. In addition to being an efficient catalyst, the material must possess a high work function and low chemical permeability. Atomic layer deposited alloys of TiO2 and IrOx are poised to meet these challenges. The alloy composition can be finely tuned to optimize their electronic and catalytic properties. Silicon photoanodes that were coated with a 10 nm 49% Ir alloy film exhibited average photovoltages of 608 mV. A maximum photovoltage of 645 mV was also observed, a new record for silicon MIS photoanodes.

Bio: Olivia is a 5th year PhD student in Chemistry working jointly for Professors Chris Chidsey and Paul McIntyre. Her research focuses on atomic layer deposition of transition metal oxide alloys with applications in solar energy storage. She received my B.A. in Chemistry from Wellesley College in 2012.


Emmett GoodmanEmmett Goodman: Uniform Nanocrystals as Active and Stable Catalysts for Emissions Control

Abstract: The challenge of regulating methane emissions and making natural gas an increasingly viable alternative fuel, requires active and stable materials that can tackle this difficult task. Although combinations of expensive and rare noble metals are often used for this application, there lacks consensus regarding what properties make these materials so active and stable. Using non-traditional synthetic approaches, we create highly uniform model materials to deconvolute structure-property-stability relationships and answer the questions (1) what makes these materials active for controlling methane emissions and (2) how do these materials lose activity over time, and how can we devise strategies against this?

Bio: Emmett is a 2nd year PhD student working with Prof. Matteo Cargnello in Chemical Engineering, and received his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Caltech. His interests revolve around using precise catalytic materials to uncover structure-property relationships, and using this knowledge to develop more active, selective, and stable materials.

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