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Speaker Bios

Banny Banerjee Photo

Banny Banerjee
Mechanical Engineering — Design, Stanford University

Banerjee is an associate professor (teaching) of mechanical engineering at Stanford University’s and the Stanford Design Program. He is the founder of the Stanford ChangeLabs, a network of innovation experts, behavioral scientists and  technology strategists working towards new paradigms for scaled interventions  to global challenges, such as climate change, water and energy.

In India, Banerjee worked in a variety of fields, including architecture, adobe housing for the rural poor and low embodied energy building systems. From 1998-2007, he was a senior designer/strategist at the U.S. firm IDEO.

He received a bachelor of architecture degree from the University of Bombay, MS degree in architecture from Washington State University and two MS degrees from Stanford in product design and mechanical engineering.

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Allen Bard Photo

Allen Bard
University of Texas at Austin

Bard is the lead principal investigator for the GCEP effort Novel Electrolyte Energy Storage Systems that sets out to develop efficient, cost-effective energy storage systems using redox flow batteries.

He joined the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin (UT) in 1958, and has spent his entire career there and is currently part of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Bard has been the Hackerman-Welch Regents Chair in Chemistry at UT since 1985. He spent a sabbatical in the CNRS lab of Jean-Michel Savéant in Paris in 1973 and a semester in 1977 at the California Institute of Technology, where he was a Sherman Mills Fairchild Scholar.  He was also a Baker lecturer at Cornell University in the spring of 1987 and the Robert Burns Woodward visiting professor at Harvard University in 1988. 

Bard was born in New York City on December 18, 1933 and grew up and attended public schools there, including the Bronx High School of Science (1948-51).  He attended The City College of the College of New York (CCNY) (B.S., 1955) and Harvard University (M.A., 1956, PhD., 1958). 
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Sven Beiker
Center for Automotive Research at Stanford (CARS)

Beiker is the executive director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford. CARS is dedicated to re-envisioning the automobile and so is Beiker as the program's manager. His motivation is to bring academia and industry together to shape the automotive future. Since 2008, he has been taking care of the program's strategic planning, resources management and internal/external communications. Since Spring 2009, he has been lecturing the Stanford class about "The Future of the Automobile" to educate students in interdisciplinary automotive thinking and to get students involved early on with the industry.

Before joining Stanford, Beiker worked at the BMW Group for more than 13 years. Between 1995 and 2008, he pursued responsibilities in technology scouting, innovation management, systems design and series development. He primarily applied his expertise to chassis and powertrain projects, which also provided him with profound insights into the industry's processes and best practices. In addition, he worked at three major automotive and technology locations: Germany, Silicon Valley and Detroit.

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Sally Benson Photo

Sally Benson
Director, Global Climate and Energy Project
Professor, Energy Resources Engineering
Stanford University

Benson is director of GCEP at Stanford University. She is also a professor of energy resources engineering in Stanford's School of Earth Sciences and a lead principal investigator on the GCEP research program entitled, Multiphase Flow of CO2 and Water in Reservoir Rocks. She also leads the GCEP energy systems analysis team.

Benson is a member of the American Geophysical Union, Society of Petroleum Engineers, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. In 2012, she received the Greenman Award from the IEA Greenhouse Gas Programme.

A groundwater hydrologist and reservoir engineer, Benson has conducted research to address a broad range of issues. Over the past 15 years, she has studied how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by capturing CO2 from power plants and pumping it into deep underground formations for permanent sequestration as a means of climate change mitigation. Her research interests also include energy systems analysis.

Benson was a convening lead author of the 2012 Global Energy Assessment and a coordinating lead author on the 2005 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on CO2 capture and storage.

She received a B.A. in geology from Barnard College at Columbia University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in materials science and mineral engineering from the University of California-Berkeley.

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Mark Brongersma Photo

Mark Brongersma
Stanford University

Brongersma is an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University. He leads a research team of 10 students and four postdocs. Their research is directed towards the development and physical analysis of new materials and structures that find use in nanostructured electronic and photonic devices. His most recent work has focused on solar energy harvesting devices, light sources, modulators, detectors and nanostructures that can manipulate and actively control the flow of light at the nanoscale.

He is a principal investigator on the GCEP research program entitled, Toward High-Efficiency Thin Film Solar Cells Combining Multi-Junctions and Nano-Scale Light Management. He completed work on three other GCEP efforts, Plasmonic Photovoltaics, Lateral Nanoconcentrator Nanowire Multijunction Photovoltaic Cells and Nanostructured Metal-Organic Composite Solar Cells.

Brongersma has given over 50 invited presentations in the last five years on the topic of nanophotonics and plasmonics. He has also presented five tutorials at International conferences on these topics. He has authored\co-authored over 120 publications, including papers in Science, Nature Photonics, Nature Materials and Nature Nanotechnology.

Brongersma received his Ph.D. in Materials Science from the FOM Institute in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 1998. From 1998-2001, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the California Institute of Technology.

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Gro Brundtland Photo

Gro Brundtland
United Nations Foundation

Brundtland is on the Board of Directors of the United Nations Foundation and is also a member of The Elders, an independent group of high-profile global leaders who work together to promote peace and human rights. She was a Special Envoy on Climate Change for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and a member of the Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability that aimed to create a new blueprint for achieving low-carbon prosperity in the 21st century.

A medical doctor who also earned a master’s degree in public health, Brundtland spent 10 years as a physician and scientist in the Norwegian public health system. For more than 20 years, she served in public office and was elected director-general of the World Health Organization in 1998, where her many skills as doctor, politician, activist and manager came together.

At the age of 41, Brundtland was appointed prime minister of Norway in 1981 and was the youngest person and the first woman ever to hold that office. Serving in that position also from 1986 to 1989 and 1990 to 1996, she was head of the Norwegian government for more than 10 years.

Throughout her political career, Brundtland developed a growing concern for issues of global significance. With her strong belief of the link between health and the environment, she became Norway’s minister of the environment in 1974.

During the 80’s, Brundtland gained international recognition championing the principle of sustainable development as the chair of the World Commission of Environment and Development. This commission is best known for developing the broad political concept of sustainable development published in its report Our Common Future in April 1987. The group's recommendations led to the Earth Summit — the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

The sense of global awareness that began in Brundtland’s childhood developed when, as a young mother and new doctor, she won a scholarship to the Harvard School of Public Health. Working alongside distinguished public health experts at the university, Brundtland’s vision of health extended beyond the confines of the medical world into environmental issues and human development.

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Chris Chidsey
Chemistry, Stanford University

Chidsey is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at Stanford and a principal investigator on the GCEP program, Electrohydrogenation: Enabling Science for Renewable Fuels.

He received his Bachelors degree in Chemistry from Dartmouth College in 1978 and his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1983 and completed a year of postdoctoral Study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was a Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories (1984-1992) before joining the Stanford faculty in 1992. His research concerns the chemistry of surfaces and interfaces, particularly the interface between electrically conductive solids and molecular materials.

The Chidsey group research interest is to build the chemical base for molecular electronics. To accomplish this, the members synthesize the molecular and nanoscopic systems, build the analytical tools and develop the theoretical understanding with which to study electron transfer between electrodes and among redox species through insulating molecular bridges. Members of the group have synthesized several series of saturated and conjugated oligomers with which we have studied the fundamental aspects of electron tunneling through well-defined molecular bridges.

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Bruce Clemens Photo

Bruce Clemens
Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University

As a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Clemens studies the growth, structure, magnetic properties, and mechanical properties of thin films and nanostructured materials. By controlling growth and atomic scale structure, he is able to tune and optimize properties. He is currently investigating materials for metallization, magnetic recording, electronic device, and hydrogen storage applications.

Clemens has been a principal investigator on three GCEP efforts:

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Yi Cui Photo

Yi Cui
Stanford University

Cui is an associate professor in materials science and engineering at Stanford University and has a joint appointment at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. His current research interests include nanomaterials for energy storage, photovotalics, topological insulators, biology and environment.  He is a principal investigator on the three GCEP projects:

In 1998, Cui received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Science and Technology of China. He attended graduate school at Harvard University where his Ph.D. thesis focused on semiconductor nanowires for nanotechnology. He was a Miller Postdoctoral Fellow at University of California-Berkeley, working on electronics and assembly using colloidal nanocrystals.

Cui is an associate editor of Nano Letters. He is a co-director of the Bay Area Photovoltaics Consortium, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. He founded Amprius Inc., a company to commercialize the high-energy battery technology.

Cui has received numerous awards and honors including: IUPAC Distinguished Award for Novel Materials and Synthesis (2013). Scientist in Residence of University of Duisburg-Essen (2013), Next Power Visiting Chair Professorship (National Tshinghua University, 2013), Wilson Prize (2011), David Filo and Jerry Yang Faculty Scholar (2010), Sloan Research Fellowship (2010), and Global Climate and Energy Project Distinguished Lecturer (2009). 

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Chris Edwards Photo

Chris Edwards
Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University

Edwards is a professor in mechanical engineering at Stanford. He was the GCEP Deputy Director for the first four years of the Project and a GCEP Research Theme Leader in the area of carbon mitigation. He currently is the lead investigator on three GCEP efforts:

Edwards completed masters and Ph.D. degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, while investigating plasma jet ignition processes for ultra lean engine combustion. In 1985, he joined the technical staff at the Combustion Research Facility of Sandia National Laboratories, where he worked on experimental, theoretical, and diagnostic development components. In 1995, he was appointed a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, the highest technical ranking at Sandia. In September of 1995, Edwards joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford, in the thermosciences group. Here he is pursuing research in the areas of advanced energy and propulsion systems with ultra high efficiency and low greenhouse gas emissions, while teaching courses that range from introductory to advanced thermodynamics, energy systems and engines.

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Ira Ehrenpreis Photo

Ira Ehrenpreis
Technology Partners

Ehrenpreis is a general partner with Technology Partners. He has been with the firm since 1996 and leads the company’s cleantech investment practice investing in energy technology, water technology and advanced materials opportunities. He is a recognized leader in both the venture capital industry and the cleantech sector, and in 2007, was named one of the “Top 50 Most Influential Men Under 45” by Details Magazine. 

In the venture community, Ehrenpreis has served on the Board and Executive Committee of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and on the Board of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists. He served as Chairman of the 2010 NVCA Annual Meeting. He also serves as the Co-Chairman of the VCNetwork, the largest and most active Bay Area venture capital organization.

In the cleantech sector, Ehrenpreis has served on several industry boards, including the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Advisory Committee, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Advisory Council, the Clean-Tech Investor Summit (Conference Chairman in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013), Cleantech Venture Network (Past Chairman of Advisory Board), American Council on Renewable Energy, Energy Investors Forum (Past Conference Chairman), Energy Venture Fair and California Climate Change Advisory Board.

Ehrenpreis is also an active leader at Stanford University, where his contributions have included teaching a course on venture capital, serving on the Board of Visitors of Stanford Law School and being an advisory board member of Stanford’s Global Climate and Energy Project. 

Ehrenpreis received his JD/MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Law School, where he was an Associate Editor of Stanford Law Review. He holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude

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Chris Field Photo

Chris Field
Carnegie Institution for Science

Field is the founding director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, professor og Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies at Stanford University, and faculty director of Stanford's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.

He is the GCEP Research Theme Leader in bioenergy and a principal investigator on the GCEP program, "The Climate-Protective Domain."

Field’s research emphasizes impacts of climate change, from the molecular to the global scale. He has, for two decades, led major experiments on responses of California grassland to multi-factor global change. Field has been deeply involved with national and international scale efforts to advance science and assessment related to global ecology and climate change. He is co-chair of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which in 2012 led the effort on the IPCC Special Report on "Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation" and which is currently working on the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, scheduled for release in 2014. He is a recipient of a Heinz Award and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Field is a fellow of the American academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Ecological Society of America. Field received his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1981 and has been at the Carnegie Institution for Science since 1984.
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James Harris Photo

James S. Harris
Electrical Engineering, Stanford University

Harris utilizes molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) of III-V compound semiconductor and Group IV materials to investigate new materials for optoelectronic devices. He utilizes heterojunctions, superlattices, quantum wells and three-dimensional self-assembled quantum dots to create metastable "engineered materials" with novel or improved properties for optoelectronic devices. He has recently focused on integration of photonic devices and micro optics for creation of new minimally invasive bio and medical systems for micro-array and neural imaging, integrated optical interconnects and advanced solar cells.

Harris is a lead principal investigator for the GCEP effort, Toward High-Efficiency Thin Film Solar Cells Combining Multi-Junctions and Nano-Scale Light Management.
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Harold Hwang Photo

Harold Hwang
Applied Physics - Stanford University, Photon Science - SLAC

Hwang is the lead principal investigator on a GCEP exploratory effort involving solar water-splitting catalysts.

He received a BS in Physics, BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993, and a PhD in Physics from Princeton University in 1997. He then joined Bell Laboratories as a member of the technical staff in the Department of Materials Physics Research. In 2003, he joined the University of Tokyo as an associate professor in the Department of Advanced Materials and the Department of Applied Physics (professor in 2009).

In 2010, he joined Stanford University as a professor in the Department of Applied Physics and the Department of Photon Science (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory), and is currently Deputy Director of the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences.

His current research interests are in correlated electrons at artificial interfaces and in confined geometries; atomic-scale synthesis of thin film complex oxide heterostructures and their use in energy applications; low-dimensional superconductivity; and novel devices based on interface and surface states. Recognition of his work includes the Materials Research Society Outstanding Young Investigator Award in 2005, the IBM Japan Science Prize in Physics in 2008, and the Ho-Am Prize in Science in 2013. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

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Jagannatha Kumar
Reliance Foundation

Kumar heads Reliance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), India. Through its various programs, the foundation works with some of the most vulnerable and marginalized communities across India with the objective of integrating them into the mainstream development process of the country.

He is a part of the leadership team of RIL engaged in various strategic initiatives in emerging technologies related to the energy sector. He has been with RIL for over 13 years and has helped raise large amounts of capital for various businesses and projects of the group. He was also the CFO of Reliance Petroleum Ltd. Prior to joining Reliance, he worked with ICICI Ltd, an Indian financial institution, in various positions including as head of a large SBU.

Kumar worked across various areas including corporate finance, project and structured finance, M&A, strategy & policy, venture capital, and PPP in addition to the development sector. Energy sector has been one of the focus areas of his work and covered conventional, non-conventional and renewables.

He graduated in business management from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and has a Bachelors degree in electronics and communications engineering.

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David Lobell Photo

David Lobell
Environmental Earth System Science, Stanford University

Lobell is an associate professor at Stanford University in Environmental Earth System Science and associate director of Stanford’s Center on Food Security and the Environment.

He was recently named a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and honored for his research on the impact of climate change on crop production and food security.

He is a principal investigator on the GCEP program, The Climate-Protective Domain.

Lobell's research focuses on identifying opportunities to raise crop yields in major agricultural regions, with an emphasis on adaptation to climate change. He is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and received the 2010 James B. Macelwane Medal. He is currently serving as lead author on the "Food Production Systems and Food Security" chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report.

Lobell received a Ph.D in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University in 2005, and a Sc.B. in Applied Mathematics from Brown University in 2000.

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Gary Mavko
Geophysics, Stanford University

Mavko works to discover and understand the relationship between geophysical measurements and the rock and fluid properties that they sample in the Earth. He and his group have begun to understand the impact of rock type, porosity, pore fluids, temperature, and stress on seismic wave propagation and electromagnetic response. They are also working to quantify the links between geophysical measurements and the sedimentary and diagenetic processes that determine rock mineralogy and texture. Ultimately, this work allows us to better infer, from geophysical images, the composition and physical conditions at depth.

Mavko is currently a lead principal investigator on the GCEP effort, Linking Chemical and Physical Effects of CO2 Injection to Geophysical Parameters that examines how geochemical reactions change the physical properties of rocks which result in changes to its seismic attributes.

His professional activities include: associate chair, Department of Geophysics (2006-2008); distinguished lecturer, Society of Exploration Geophysicists (2006); honorary membership, Society of Exploration Geophysicists (2001); nominated for Reginald Fessenden Award, Society of Exploration Geophysicists (2000); School of Earth Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award (2000).

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Michael D. McGehee
Materials Science and Engineering Department, Stanford University

McGehee is a professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department, Director of the Center for Advanced Molecular Photovoltaics and a senior fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University. He has worked on a number of GCEP research efforts and is currently the lead principal investigator on the GCEP program:

McGehee’s research interests are patterning materials at the nanometer length scale, semiconducting polymers and solar cells.  He has taught courses on nanotechnology, nanocharacterization, organic semiconductors, polymer science and solar cells. He received his undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University and his Ph.D degree in Materials Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he did research on polymer lasers in the lab of Nobel Laureate Alan Heeger.  He won the 2007 Materials Research Society Outstanding Young Investigator Award and has been ranked by Reuters as the 11th most influential materials scientist in the world.  He is a technical advisor to Next Energy, PLANT PV, Plextronics and Sinovia. His students have founded four solar cell companies and one transparent electrode startup.

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Jennifer Milne
Stanford University

Milne joined GCEP as an energy assessment analyst in August 2007.  As part of a team, Milne oversees the technical aspects of the proposal review process and helps guide portfolio development through workshops and research.  In this role, she contributes assessment reports and book chapters to the energy research community.  In 2012, Milne was co-lead in organizing a GCEP workshop on "Energy Supply with Negative Carbon Emissions" at Stanford University, which led to a worldwide request for proposals in this area.  She is currently a member of the energy education advisory board for National Geographic.  Prior to her role at GCEP, she was a post-doctoral scholar at Stanford University, Department of Biology and at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Department of Plant Biology.  She holds a Ph.D. in biology from the University of York, U.K., and a bachelor of science in biochemistry, graduating with first class honors from the University of Stirling, U.K., in 1997.

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Joey Nelson photo

Joey Nelson
Stanford University

Nelson is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University. His research broadly focuses on how mineral-fluid reactions, mesoscale confinement and fluid transport processes govern isotopic fractionation, porosity evolution and the release and storage of natural and anthropogenic contaminants. The goal of his research within GCEP is to find new approaches to enhance sorption reactions and engineer porosity of reservoir rocks that will enable safe storage of carbon dioxide in the subsurface and reliable sealing of potential leaks through caprocks. To study such processes within natural materials, he uses a variety of tools including experimental isotope geochemistry, atomic-scale computational modeling, synchrotron-based spectroscopy, and geochemical and hydrological modeling.

Nelson received his B.A. in mathematics and B.S. in environmental sciences with highest honors from the University of Virginia in 2011. He has been working with Kate Maher in the Environmental Isotope Geochemistry Group since 2011 and was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2012.

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Mark O'Malley
University College Dublin, Electricity Research Centre

O'Malley is a professor of electrical engineering at University College Dublin and founder and director of the Electricity Research Centre, an industry-supported research group. He has received two Fulbright awards, is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. He is recognized as a leading world authority on grid integration of renewable energy and is actively involved in many different international bodies and organizations advising on this topic. These include the International Energy Agency, European Research Council, European Academy of Sciences Advisory Council, Utility Wind Interest Group, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Energy Foundation.  He is currently on sabbatical at NREL working in energy systems integration.

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Kirit Parikh
Former Member – India Planning Commission

Parikh is chairman of the Expert Group for Low Carbon Strategy for Inclusive Growth at the Planning Commission of India and a former member of the commission. He is also chairman of Integrated Research and Action for Development in New Delhi.

Parikh has authored and edited 27 books on development planning and policy. He was a member of the Economic Advisory Council of five prime ministers of India and is widely recognized as the architect of India’s Integrated Energy Policy Committee.

From 1960-80, he was a professor of economics (and sometimes head) of the Indian Statistical Institute. From 1980-86, he was the food and agricultural program leader at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). From 1986-2000, he was founding director of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research in Mumbai.

Parikh is a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India, and an honorary life member of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. In 2009, he was honored with Padma Bhushan by the president of India. In 2007, he was named the most distinguished and illustrious alumni of the decade from India by MIT, and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology. Parikh received a master’s degree ineconomics and a DSc in civil engineering from MIT.

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Mauro Pasta
Stanford University

Pasta is a postdoctoral fellow in the Materials Science and Engineering department at Stanford University, working in Prof. Yi Cui's research group. He received his Ph.D. in Industrial Chemistry from the University of Milan in 2010. His thesis on glucose electro-oxidation was awarded the "De Nora prize" as a best Ph.D, thesis in electrochemistry by the Italian Chemical Society. Before joining Stanford he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Electrochemical Sciences of Ruhr University-Bochum. His work on batteries for efficient seawater desalination and lithium recovery from brines was awarded the International Society of Electrochemistry Travel Award for Young Electrochemists. His research focuses on electrochemistry and materials science applied to energy storage and conversion devices. In particular he is working on batteries for stationary storage applications, energy extraction from salinity differences and carbon dioxide sequestration.

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John Ralph
University of Wisconsin

Ralph is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin and the Plant Improvement Group Leader for the DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. He was the lead principal investigator for the GCEP research program, "Efficient Biomass Conversion: Delineating the Best Lignin Monomer-Substitutes."

Ralph has been engaged in cell wall chemistry/biochemistry, with an emphasis on lignins, for nearly 40 years. His research interests focus on general plant cell wall chemistry/biochemistry with a particular focus on lignin biosynthesis (including pathway delineation), lignin chemistry and lignin reactions.

He has published more than 260 peer-reviewed papers and is recognized by the Institute for Scientific Information as one of the most highly cited authors, having "exceptional citation count in the field of Agricultural Science." A highlight of his career has been the ability to productively collaborate on more than 30 publications with GCEP partners. In 2005, he was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Ralph received his B.Sc. (Hons) in Chemistry at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand in 1976 and his Ph.D. in Forestry/Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1982.

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Burton Richter
Stanford University
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Richter received the Nobel Prize in Physics (1976) and the E.O. Lawrence Medal of the Department of Energy (1976). He received the American Association for the Advancement of Science Philip Hauge Abelson Prize (2007) for his world-class contributions to research, his successful management of a leading scientific laboratory, and his unrelenting efforts to advance science and to promote its responsible use in shaping public policy. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society; a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science; past-president of the American Physical Society (1994); and past-president of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (1999-2002).

Richter chaired the APS Energy Efficiency Study in 2008 that published, "Energy Future, Think Efficiency, How America can look within to achieve energy security and reduce global warming." He is a member of the Department of Energy's Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee and its Energy Research Advisory Committee. He is on the advisory boards of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Precourt Institute for Energy and Precourt Energy Efficiency Center. He has served on the Department of Energy's Secretary of Energy Advisory Board and Laboratory Operations Board; and was Chairman of the National Research Council's Board on Physics and Astronomy.

He has been interested in industry and its use of science and technology and has been a member of the General Motors Science Advisory Committee, chairman of the technology advisory board of an artificial intelligence company and a member of the Board of Directors of Varian Associates, Varian Medical Systems, and Areva Enterprises, Inc. Richter serves as Senior Fellow of Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies, Woods Institute on the Environment, and Precourt Institute for Energy.  He is the Paul Pigott Professor in the Physical Sciences Emeritus, Stanford University, and Director Emeritus, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

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Andrew Scheuermann
Stanford University

Sheuermann is a Ph.D. candidate in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Stanford advised by Paul McIntyre and co-advised by Chris Chidsey in chemistry. His dissertation research is on atomic layer deposited tunnel oxides for silicon photoelectrochemical cells. He previously performed research at two other universities, in the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), and for the U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense spanning from hydrogen fuel cells and single molecule design to high-power electronics and nuclear technology. He holds a B.S. in chemistry and a B.A. in economics from the University of Florida.

Scheuermann was named an Arnold and Mabel Beckman Scholar in 2008, a Goldwater Scholar in 2010, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow and Coleman Foundation Stanford Graduate Fellow in 2011, among other awards. Most recently, he was honored as one of the first twelve Accel Innovation Scholars recognizing the top entrepreneurial Ph.D. students at Stanford.

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Alfred Spormann
Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Stanford University

Spormann is a microbial physiologist and biochemist, and faculty member in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and of Chemical Engineering. He is a principal investigator leading two GCEP efforts:

His research interests are focused on developing fundamental understandings of microbial electron transferring processes in natural as well as engineered environments. Current projects include i) molecular mechanisms of cathodic electron uptake by microbial communities for microbial electrosynthesis of useful chemicals and biofuels, and ii) mechanistic and genomic studies on reductive dehalogenases as key catalysts for microbial degradation of organohalogen compounds in bioremediation.

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Daniel Stack
Chemistry, Stanford University

Stack is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at Stanford and a principal investigator on the GCEP program titled, CO2 Reduction by Discrete Copper Catalysts.

He received his Bachelors degree in chemistry from Reed College in 1982 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1988, which was followed by an NSF postdoctoral study at University of California-Berkeley. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1991, where his research has focused on discrete bioinspired copper, iron and manganese oxidation catalysts and the role of the metal-based ligands in stabilizing intermediates in catalytic reactions. The use of extremely low solution temperatures (-125°C) allows intermediates in many of the reactions with small molecules such as dioxygen to be detected and characterized through chemical reactivity and spectroscopic correlation to density functional theory predictions. Tethering such complexes to mesoporous materials or electrode surfaces also provides an opportunity to investigate their redox reactivity in site-dense and site-isolated environments.

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JB Straubel
Tesla Motors

As one of the co-founders and the chief technical officer of Tesla Motors, Straubel is today responsible for all software, electronics and propulsion across Tesla’s portfolio with direct operational responsibility for roughly one-fourth of the company. This includes all aspects of powertrain R&D, engineering and production. The propulsion performance of Tesla’s Model S has been the determining factor in winning many awards including the prestigious 2012 MotorTrend car of the year by unanimous vote.

Straubel is also the point executive driving OEM partner relationships at Tesla with Toyota, Daimler, Panasonic and others. From these partnerships have come vehicles such as the new electric Toyota Rav4, the Smart EV from Daimler and the A-class EV from Mercedes. In addition, he is managing the creation and construction of the Tesla Supercharge network of fast, free DC chargers making EV travel from coast to coast possible with no loss of convenience. Tesla has grown to become the leading electric vehicle company in the world and remains committed to making long-range, fun electric cars increasingly affordable to accelerate the world’s transition away from oil.

Straubel’s passion for electric vehicles began at a young age starting with rebuilding electric golf carts at the age of 14, converting a Porsche 944 that held a world electric vehicle racing record. He continues to push the boundaries for electric vehicle advancements and enjoys exploring new innovations for renewable energy systems and energy storage solutions.

Prior to Tesla, Straubel was the chief technical officer and co-founder of the aerospace firm, Volacom, which designed a specialized high-altitude electric aircraft platform. At Volacom, he invented and patented a new long-endurance electric propulsion concept that was later licensed to Boeing.

Straubel holds a Bachelor of Science in Energy Systems Engineering and a Master of Science in Energy Engineering from Stanford University. He is the holder of 10 U.S. patents and is on 19 pending patent applications for motors, batteries and powertrain components. In addition to his current work at Tesla Motors, he serves on the Board of Directors of SolarCity and is an accomplished private pilot with multi-engine, instrument and glider ratings.

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Richard Swanson
Founder - SunPower Corporation

Swanson was on the Electrical Engineering faculty at Stanford University from 1976 to 1991. His research investigated the semiconductor properties of silicon relevant for better understanding the operation of silicon solar cells. These studies have helped pave the way for steady improvement in silicon solar cell performance. In 1991, Swanson resigned from his faculty position to devote full time to SunPower Corporation, a company he founded to develop and commercialize cost-effective photovoltaic power systems. He is presently retired from SunPower.

Swanson has received widespread recognition for his work. In 2002, he was awarded the William R. Cherry award by the IEEE for outstanding contributions to the photovoltaic field, and in 2006, the Becquerel Prize in Photovoltaics from the European Communities. He was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 2008 and a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2009. He received the 2009 Economist Magazine Energy Innovator Award. In 2010, he was awarded the IEEE Jin-ichi Nishizawa Medal for the conception and commercialization of high-efficiency point-contact solar cell technology, and in 2011, the Karl Boer Solar Energy Medal of Merit Award.
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James Swartz Photo

James R. Swartz
Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, Stanford University

Swartz obtained his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.  After working for two years for Union Oil Co. of California, he earned his M.S. in chemical engineering and D.Sc. in biochemi-cal engineering at MIT. Following a scientific exchange visit to the U.S.S.R. and an initial research position at Eli Lilly and Co., he joined Genentech in 1981, where he served in both scientific and managerial positions related to rDNA protein production and protein pharmaceutical development for nearly 18 years.

In 1998, he moved to Stanford University as a professor of Chemical Engineering focusing on cell-free biology. In 1999, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and in 2003, helped initiate Stanford’s new Department of Bioengineering. He was named the Leland T. Edwards Professor in the School of Engineering in 2006 and was named the James H. Clark Professor in 2009.  He is the lead principal investigator for the GCEP program:

Swartz is a founder of Sutro Biopharma, Inc., dedicated to developing cell-free protein pharmaceutical technologies, and of GreenLight Biosciences, a cell-free metabolic engineering company. He is also a founder of Bullet Biotechnology, a company developing patient-specific anti-cancer therapeutic vaccines. His research seeks to reproduce and direct complex metabolism in a cell-free environment. Current applications include improved vaccine architectures, new cancer diagnostics, and biological hydrogen production from sunlight and from biomass.

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Mark Thurber
Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, Stanford University

Thurber is associate director of Stanford's PESD. The program studies how policy and regulation intersect with business strategy, economics and technology to determine global patterns of energy production and use (and the associated health, climate, and local environmental impacts).

He directs the research at PESD on how energy services can more effectively be delivered to low-income populations. He has written several academic articles on how design, demographic and distribution factors affect uptake and usage of improved biomass stoves in India. Current research explores entrepreneurial efforts to provide solar home systems to households in East Africa.

Thurber also studies the role of state-owned enterprises in the most important energy markets around the world. He co-edited and contributed to a major volume on national oil companies, Oil and Governance: State-owned Enterprises and the World Energy Supply. He is currently editing a book manuscript on the emerging global market for coal.

Along with Frank Wolak, Thurber teaches a course on "Energy Markets and Policy" in Stanford's Graduate School of Business. In this course, Thurber and Wolak run a classroom simulation of California's electricity market under cap and trade.

Thurber holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering (Thermosciences) and a B.S.E. from Princeton University in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering with a certificate from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

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Jennifer Wilcox
Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University

Wilcox is an associate professor in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford University and a lead principal investigator on the GCEP effort, Carbon-based Sorbents for Selective CO2 Capture.

With a background in kinetics, catalysis, and chemical modeling, she investigates technologies associated with making energy production from carbonized sources cleaner. Investigations include understanding the transport and fate of heavy metals (mercury, arsenic, and selenium) released from coal combustion or gasification processes using quantum mechanical-based modeling coupled with direct experimental measurements using a custom-built electron ionization quadrupole mass spectrometer. Additional research efforts include sorbent testing for carbon capture, adsorption studies of CO2 on coal and gas shales, and membrane design for N2 and H2 separations.

Wilcox’s professional activities include: assistant professor of chemical engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (2004-08); NSF CAREER Award on arsenic and selenium speciation in coal combustion flue gas; Army Young Investigator Award on inorganic membrane modeling for H2 Separation; Lead Coordinator of Workshop on Carbon Capture (June) and Carbon Capture Tutorial (October) for GCEP (2011); Co-chair: Membrane Transport, Annual NAMS Conference (2011-present); Co-chair, "Hydrogen from Coal" and "Mercury Control," Pittsburgh International Coal Conference, Johannesburg, South Africa (2007); invited panel speaker, DOE-NETL, "Mercury Control Technology Conference, Mercury Measurements," Pittsburgh (2007).

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