Precourt Institute for Energy
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Associate Professor of Chemistry and Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy
BioAssociate Professor of Chemistry Matthew Kanan develops new catalysts and chemical reactions for applications in renewable energy conversion and CO2 utilization. His group at Stanford University has recently developed a novel method to create plastic from carbon dioxide and inedible plant material rather than petroleum products, and pioneered the study of “defect-rich” heterogeneous electro-catalysts for converting carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide to liquid fuel.
Matthew Kanan completed undergraduate study in chemistry at Rice University (B.A. 2000 Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa). During doctoral research in organic chemistry at Harvard University (Ph.D. 2005), he developed a novel method for using DNA to discover new chemical reactions. He then moved into inorganic chemistry for his postdoctoral studies as a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he discovered a water oxidation catalyst that operates in neutral water. He joined the Stanford Chemistry Department faculty in 2009 to continue research into energy-related catalysis and reactions. His research and teaching have already been recognized in selection as one of Chemistry & Engineering News’ first annual Talented 12, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, Eli Lilly New Faculty Award, and recognition as a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Environmental Mentor, among other honors.
The Kanan Lab addresses fundamental challenges in catalysis and synthesis with an emphasis on enabling new technologies for scalable CO2 utilization. The interdisciplinary effort spans organic synthesis, materials chemistry and electrochemistry.
One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is to transition to an energy economy with ultra-low greenhouse gas emissions without compromising quality of life for a growing population. The Kanan Lab aims to help enable this transition by developing catalysts and chemical reactions that recycle CO2 into fuels and commodity chemicals using renewable energy sources. To be implemented on a substantial scale, these methods must ultimately be competitive with fossil fuels and petrochemicals. With this requirement in mind, the group focuses on the fundamental chemical challenge of making carbon–carbon (C–C) bonds because multi-carbon compounds have higher energy density, greater value, and more diverse applications that one-carbon compounds. Both electrochemical and chemical methods are being pursued. For electrochemical conversion, the group studies how defects known as grain boundaries can be exploited to improve CO2/CO electro-reduction catalysis. Recent work has unveiled quantitative correlations between grain boundaries and catalytic activity, establishing a new design principle for electrocatalysis, and developed grain boundary-rich copper catalysts with unparalleled activity for converting carbon monoxide to liquid fuel. For chemical CO2 conversion, the group is developing C–H carboxylation and CO2 hydrogenation reactions that are promoted by simple carbonate salts. These reactions provide a way to make C–C bonds between un-activated substrates and CO2 without resorting to energy-intensive and hazardous reagents. Among numerous applications, carbonate-promoted carboxylation enables the synthesis of a monomer used to make polyester plastic from CO2 and a feedstock derived from agricultural waste.
In addition to CO2 chemistry, the Kanan group is pursuing new strategies to control selectivity in molecular catalysis for fine chemical synthesis. Of particular interest in the use of electrostatic interactions to discriminate between competing reaction pathways based on their charge distributions. This effort uses ion pairing or interfaces to control the local electrostatic environment in which a reaction takes place. The group has recently shown that local electric fields can control regioselectivity in isomerization reactions catalyzed by gold complexes.
Professor (Research) of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus
BioProfessor Kazovsky and his research group are investigating green energy-efficient networks. The focus of their research is on access and in-building networks and on hybrid optical / wireless networks. Prof. Kazovsky's research group is also conducting research on next-generation Internet architectures and novel zero-energy photonic components.
Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, at the Precourt Institute for Energy and at the Woods Institute for the Enviornment and Professor, by courtesy, of Economics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research interests are broadly in environmental economics and related areas of industrial organization and public economics. My policy-related focus within these fields is climate change and energy markets.
I currently have several projects related to uncertainty and learning in strategic contexts regarding the provision of public goods. For the most part, the application is international environmental agreements. This work is primarily theoretical, though with some empirical and experimental work to validate and illuminate theory. I also have research interests in energy economics (particularly regulation) and other dimensions of the economics of climate change.
I welcome new PhD students who wish to study with me. Typically, my students train to be environmental or resource economists, which means they receive strong training in economics. At Stanford this means successfully taking the first year PhD sequences in microeconomics (Econ 202-204) and econometrics (Econ 270-272) offered by the Department of Economics. In addition, students should take the PhD classes Economics 250 (Environmental Economics) and 251 (Resource and Energy Economics). This is a minimum and other coursework would depend on student interest and needs. Strong preparation in math is essential.
There are a number of PhD programs at Stanford that are appropriate for someone seeking training as an environmental economist. In addition to the Department of Economics, there are several other departments in which students may apply and matriculate, including the Emmet Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER).
William Alden Campbell and Martha Campbell Professor in the School of Engineering and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment
BioJeff Koseff, founding co-director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, is an expert in the interdisciplinary domain of environmental fluid mechanics. His research falls in the interdisciplinary domain of environmental fluid mechanics and focuses on the interaction between physical and biological systems in natural aquatic environments. Current research activities are in the general area of environmental fluid mechanics and focus on: turbulence and internal wave dynamics in stratified flows, transport and mixing in estuarine systems, phytoplankton dynamics in estuarine systems, coral reef, sea-grass and kelp-forest hydrodynamics, and the role of natural systems in coastal protection. Most recently he has begun to focus on the interaction between gravity currents and breaking internal waves in the near-coastal environment, and the transport of marine microplastics. Koseff has served on the Board of Governors of The Israel Institute of Technology, and has been a member of the Visiting Committees of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Carnegie-Mellon University, The Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research, and Cornell University. He has also been a member of review committees for the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan, The WHOI-MIT Joint Program, and the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment. He is a former member of the Independent Science Board of the Bay/Delta Authority. He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2015, and received the Richard Lyman Award from Stanford University in the same year. In 2020 he was elected as a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.
Keleen and Carlton Beal Professor of Petroleum Engineering and Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsResearch
I am interested in the recovery of unconventional hydrocarbon resources and mitigating carbon emissions from fossil fuels via geological sequestration of greenhouse gases. My research group and I examine the physics of flow through porous media at length scales that vary from the pore to the laboratory to the reservoir. The organizing themes are flow imaging to delineate the mechanisms of multiphase flow (oil, water, and gas) in porous media and the synthesis of models from experimental, theoretical, and field data. In all of our work, physical observations, obtained mainly from laboratory and field measurements, are interwoven with theory.
My teaching interests center broadly around education of students to meet the energy challenges that we will face this century. I teach undergraduate courses that examine the interplay of energy use and environmental issues including renewable energy resources and sustainability. At the graduate level, I offer classes on enhanced oil recovery and the thermodynamics of hydrocarbon mixtures.
Member, American Geophysical Union (2006); Editorial Board, SPE Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering (2006-present); Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty (2006); School of Earth Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching (1998); Earth Systems Program Executive Committee (2002-present); Woods Institute for Environment Energy Committee (2005-present); SPE Continuing Education Committee (2000-present, chair 2004-05); steering committee chair, SPE Forum, Enhanced Oil Recovery: What's Next? (2005-06); Editorial Board of the Journal of Petroleum Technology (2004-present) and SPE Reservoir Engineering and Evaluation (2006-present); member, Society of Petroleum Engineers, American Geophysical Union, and the American Chemical Society.