Precourt Institute for Energy
Showing 1-9 of 9 Results
Katharine (Kate) Maher
Professor of Earth System Science and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsResearch
Chemical reactions between fluids and minerals create the environments that are uniquely characteristic of Earth’s surface. For example, chemical weathering reactions support the growth of soils and organisms and regulate the flow of elements to the oceans. The rates of these reactions also control the release and storage of natural and human-derived contaminants. Over geologic timescales, mineral-fluid reactions have helped to maintain a mostly habitable planet. Over human timescales, these reactions will regulate our ability to use Earth’s resources, such as soils, waters, and minerals.
My research focuses on the rates of reactions in different environments using a combination of geochemical tools, including isotope geochemistry, geochemical and hydrologic modeling, and geochronology in order to address the following themes: (1) defining the controls on mineral-fluid reactions rates in the environment (2) finding new approaches to use mineral-fluid reactions to safely store carbon dioxide in the subsurface; and (3) development of isotopic approaches to study mineral-fluid reactions in the environments of Earth’s past. To support these research themes, I have constructed a new mass spectrometer and clean lab facility capable of high precision geochemical and isotopic measurements, and teach a number of classes and short courses on reactive transport.
My teaching focuses on introducing students to the questions and major challenges in low-temperature and environmental geochemistry, and the application of isotope geochemistry to environmental and geologic problems. In order to introduce incoming students to Earth surface processes, materials and geochemistry, I am also teaching a freshman seminar on forensic geoscience. At the graduate level, I offer classes on isotope geochemistry and modeling of environmental transformations and mass transfer processes (i.e., subsurface reactive transport).
Dr. Arun Majumdar
Jay Precourt Professor, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and of Photon Science and, by courtesy, of Materials Science and Engineering
BioDr. Arun Majumdar is the Jay Precourt Provostial Chair Professor at Stanford University, a faculty member of the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering (by courtesy) and former Director and Senior Fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy. He is also a faculty in Department of Photon Science at SLAC.
In October 2009, Dr. Majumdar was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate to become the Founding Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E), where he served till June 2012 and helped ARPA-E become a model of excellence and innovation for the government with bipartisan support from Congress and other stakeholders. Between March 2011 and June 2012, he also served as the Acting Under Secretary of Energy, enabling the portfolio that reported to him: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Reliability, Office of Nuclear Energy and the Office of Fossil Energy, as well as multiple cross-cutting efforts such as Sunshot, Grid Tech Team and others that he had initiated. Furthermore, he was a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, on a variety of matters related to management, personnel, budget, and policy. In 2010, he served on Secretary Chu's Science Team to help stop the leak of the Deep Water Horizon (BP) oil spill.
After leaving Washington, DC and before joining Stanford, Dr. Majumdar was the Vice President for Energy at Google, where he assembled a team to create technologies and businesses at the intersection of data, computing and electricity grid.
Dr. Majumdar is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, US National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research in the past has involved the science and engineering of nanoscale materials and devices, especially in the areas of energy conversion, transport and storage as well as biomolecular analysis. His current research focuses on redox reactions and systems that are fundamental to a sustainable energy future, multidimensional nanoscale imaging and microscopy, and an effort to leverage modern AI techniques to develop and deliver energy and climate solutions.
Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Dr. Majumdar was the Almy & Agnes Maynard Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering at University of California–Berkeley and the Associate Laboratory Director for energy and environment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He also spent the early part of his academic career at Arizona State University and University of California, Santa Barbara.
Dr. Majumdar served as the Vice Chairman of the Advisory Board of US Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, and was also a Science Envoy for the US Department of State with focus on energy and technology innovation in the Baltics and Poland.
Dr. Majumdar received his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1985 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989.
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
BioAli Mani is an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. He is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Turbulence Research and a member of Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering at Stanford. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford in 2009. Prior to joining the faculty in 2011, he was an engineering research associate at Stanford and a senior postdoctoral associate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Chemical Engineering. His research group builds and utilizes large-scale high-fidelity numerical simulations, as well as methods of applied mathematics, to develop quantitative understanding of transport processes that involve strong coupling with fluid flow and commonly involve turbulence or chaos. His teaching includes the undergraduate engineering math classes and graduate courses on fluid mechanics and numerical analysis.
Professor (Teaching) of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Emeritus
BioGILBERT M. MASTERS
MAP EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF SUSTAINABLE ENERGY
B.S. (1961) AND M.S. (1962) UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES
PH.D. (1966) Electrical Engineering, STANFORD UNIVERSITY
Gil Masters has focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy systems as essential keys to slowing global warming, enhancing energy security, and improving conditions in underserved, rural communities. Although officially retired in 2002, he has continued to teach CEE 176A: Energy-Efficient Buildings, and CEE 176B: Electric Power: Renewables and Efficiency. He is the author or co-author of ten books, including Introduction to Environmental Engineering and Science (3rd edition, 2008), Renewable and Efficient Electric Power Systems, (2nd edition, 2013), and Energy for Sustainability: Technology, Policy and Planning (2nd edition, 2018). Professor Masters has been the recipient of a number of teaching awards at Stanford, including the university's Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Tau Beta Pi teaching award from the School of Engineering. Over the years, more than 10,000 students have enrolled in his courses. He served as the School of Engineering Associate Dean for Student Affairs from 1982-1986, and he was the Interim Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 1992-93.
Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor in Environmental Studies, Director, Change Leadership for Sustainability and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute
BioPAMELA MATSON is an interdisciplinary sustainability scientist, academic leader, and organizational strategist. She served as dean of Stanford University’s School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences from 2002-2017, building interdisciplinary departments and educational programs focused on resources, environment and sustainability, as well as co-leading university-wide interdisciplinary initiatives. In her current role as the Goldman Professor of Environmental Studies and Senior Fellow in the Woods Institute for the Environment, she leads the graduate program on Sustainability Science and Practice. Her research addresses a range of environment and sustainability issues, including sustainability of agricultural systems, vulnerability and resilience of particular people and places to climate change, and characteristics of science that can contribute to sustainability transitions at scale.
Dr. Matson serves as chair of the board of the World Wildlife Fund-US and as a board member of the World Wildlife Fund-International and several university advisory boards. She served on the US National Academy of Science Board on Sustainable Development and co-wrote the National Research Council’s volume Our Common Journey: A transition toward sustainability (1999); she also led the NRC committee on America’s Climate Choices: Advancing the Science of Climate Change. She was the founding chair of the National Academies Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability, and founding editor for the Annual Review of Environment and Resources. She is a past President of the Ecological Society of America. Her recent publications (among around 200) include Seeds of Sustainability: Lessons from the Birthplace of the Green Revolution (2012) and Pursuing Sustainability (2016).
Pam is an elected member of the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a AAAS Fellow. She received a MacArthur Foundation Award, contributed to the award of the Nobel Prize to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, among other awards and recognitions, and is an Einstein Fellow of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Matson holds a Bachelor of Science degree with double majors in Biology and Literature from the University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire), a Master degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, a Doctorate in Forest Ecology from Oregon State University, and honorary doctorates from Princeton, McGill and Arizona State Universities. She spent ten years as a research scientist with NASA-Ames Research Center before moving to a professorship at the University of California Berkeley and, in 1997, to Stanford University.
Mark Patrick McVay
Affiliate, Precourt Institute for Energy
BioMark joined Stanford Energy in January of 2020 to focus on business model innovation supporting energy transformation. He is working with students and faculty throughout Stanford on efforts to create solutions for Carbon Reduction and Sustainability goals in large organizations. Mark has spent his career in energy starting as a nuclear power engineer aboard an aircraft carrier. He most recently helped build and sell the energy analytics firm PowerAdvocate and currently serves on the boards of several energy related small companies. Mark earned an MBA from the Stanford GSB and an MS from the School of Engineering. He has a BS from the US Naval Academy.
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
BioThe Melosh group explores how to apply new methods from the semiconductor and self-assembly fields to important problems in biology, materials, and energy. We think about how to rationally design engineered interfaces to enhance communication with biological cells and tissues, or to improve energy conversion and materials synthesis. In particular, we are interested in seamlessly integrating inorganic structures together with biology for improved cell transfection and therapies, and designing new materials, often using diamondoid molecules as building blocks.
My group is very interested in how to design new inorganic structures that will seamless integrate with biological systems to address problems that are not feasible by other means. This involves both fundamental work such as to deeply understand how lipid membranes interact with inorganic surfaces, electrokinetic phenomena in biologically relevant solutions, and applying this knowledge into new device designs. Examples of this include “nanostraw” drug delivery platforms for direct delivery or extraction of material through the cell wall using a biomimetic gap-junction made using nanoscale semiconductor processing techniques. We also engineer materials and structures for neural interfaces and electronics pertinent to highly parallel data acquisition and recording. For instance, we have created inorganic electrodes that mimic the hydrophobic banding of natural transmembrane proteins, allowing them to ‘fuse’ into the cell wall, providing a tight electrical junction for solid-state patch clamping. In addition to significant efforts at engineering surfaces at the molecular level, we also work on ‘bridge’ projects that span between engineering and biological/clinical needs. My long history with nano- and microfabrication techniques and their interactions with biological constructs provide the skills necessary to fabricate and analyze new bio-electronic systems.
Molecular materials at interfaces
Self-Assembly and Nucleation and Growth
Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Emeritus
BioProfessor Mitchell's primary area of research is concerned with characterizing the physical and chemical processes that occur during the combustion and gasification of pulverized coal and biomass. Coals of interest range in rank from lignite to bituminous and biomass materials include yard waste, field and seed crop residues, lumber mill waste, fruit and nut crop residues, and municipal solid waste. Experimental and modeling studies are concerned with char reactivity to oxygen, carbon dioxide and steam, carbon deactivation during conversion, and char particle surface area evolution and mode of conversion during mass loss.
Mitchell’s most recent research has been focused on topics that will enable the development of coal and biomass conversion technologies that facilitate CO2 capture. Recent studies have involved characterizing coal and biomass conversion rates in supercritical water environments, acquiring the understanding needed to develop chemical looping combustion technology for applications to coals and biomass materials, and developing fuel cells that use coal or biomass as the fuel source. Studies concerned with characterizing coal/biomass blends during combustion and gasification processes are also underway.