2023 MIT Energy Initiative Annual Research Conference

Decarbonization at scale

September 13-14, 2023

MITEI’s Annual Research Conference seeks to frame the key technology, policy, and economic drivers that are shaping today’s energy system and its future. This year’s conference looks at the geopolitical implications of the energy transition as we approach mid-century, carbon capture and storage, investment risks with new technologies, nuclear fission, hard-to-decarbonize industrial processes, scaling up technologies in industry and infrastructure, and varying generational perspectives on the energy transition. We will review promising discoveries from MITEI’s Seed Fund program, which supports innovative early-stage research, as well as hear from MIT-connected startup companies on their work.

MIT Samberg Conference Center (E52), 7th floor | 50 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA

Questions? Contact MITEI Member Services.

Preliminary Schedule

Wednesday, September 13
7:30-8:15 am ET Breakfast and registration
8:15-8:30 am ET Welcome and opening remarks
Robert Stoner, Interim Director, MIT Energy Initiative; Founding Director, MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design
8:30-9:00 am ET Keynote address
Decarbonization at scale: The role of the research university

Anne E. White, Vice Provost and Associate Vice President for Research Administration, MIT
9:00-10:15 am ET

Geopolitical implications of the energy transition at mid-century

Moderated by: Christopher Knittel, Deputy Director of Policy, MIT Energy Initiative; George P. Shultz Professor of Energy Economics, MIT Sloan School of Management; Director, MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research

Speakers include:
Suzanne Berger, Institute Professor, MIT
G. Ganesh Das, Chief, Collaboration & Innovation, The Tata Power Company Limited
Catherine Wolfram, William F. Pounds Professor of Energy Economics, MIT Sloan School of Management

10:15-10:45 am ET Break
10:45 am-12:00 pm ET

Advancing carbon capture and storage

Moderated by: David M. Babson, Executive Director, Climate Grand Challenges, MIT Office of the Vice President for Research

Speakers include:
Elisabeth Birkeland, VP Hydrogen and Low Carbon Technology Solutions, Equinor ASA
Betar M. Gallant, Professor and the Class of 1922 Career Development Professor, MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering
Luc Huyse, Manager, Operations & Facilities, Chevron Technology Ventures
Kripa K. Varanasi, Professor, MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering

12:00-1:30 pm ET Lunch and viewing of student posters
1:30-2:45 pm ET

Investment and risk in transformational energy technologies

Moderated by: Jacquelyn Pless, Assistant Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management

Speakers include:
Lesley Harding, Global Head of Strategic Partnerships, Energy & Transition, Liberty Mutual
Andrew W. Lo, Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management
Francis O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Clean Energy, S2G Ventures
Milo Werner, General Partner, The Engine

2:45-3:15 pm ET Break
3:15-4:30 pm ET

Nuclear fission: A new beginning?

Moderated by: Jacopo Buongiorno, TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering

Speakers include:
Doug Bernauer, CEO, Radiant
Michael Coon, Vice President of New Plant Projects, Westinghouse Electric Company
Jennifer Uhle, Vice President of Technical and Regulatory Services, Nuclear Energy Institute
Juan A. Vitali, Director, Army Nuclear Power Branch, Office of Chief of Engineers, Headquarters Army

4:30-5:30 pm ET

Startup showcase

Introduction by: J.J. Laukaitis, Director of Member Services, MIT Energy Initiative

Moderated by: Catarina Madeira, Director, Startup Exchange, MIT Corporate Relations

Speakers include:
Aaron Baskerville-Bridges, VP of Operations & Co-Founder, AeroShield
Peter Godart, Co-Founder & CEO, Found Energy
Jessica Harrison, Executive Director of Growth, VEIR
Emmanuel Kasseris, CEO and Co-Founder, Emvolon
Adam Rauwerdink, SVP, Business Development, Boston Metal
Michael Stern, Director of Process R&D, Sublime Systems
Mike Strauch, Senior Systems Engineer, Transaera
KC Tran, CEO, MAAT Energy

5:30 pm ET Networking reception with startup companies
Thursday, September 14
7:45-8:30 am ET Breakfast and registration
8:30-9:45 am ET

MITEI General Seed Fund Project annual check-up

Moderated by: Martha Broad, Executive Director, MIT Energy Initiative

Speakers include:
Kerri Cahoy, Professor, MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Joint Professor, MIT Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
presenting on Multi-sensor satellite remote sensing framework for emissions and energy infrastructure monitoring
Ariel L. Furst, Paul M. Cook Career Development Professor, MIT Department of Chemical Engineering
presenting on Multiscale control of copper nanoparticle DNA conjugates for improved electrochemical CO2 reduction
Admir Masic, Associate Professor, MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
presenting on Electrochemical precipitation of brucite for carbon capture
Kripa K. Varanasi, Professor, MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering
presenting on Membraneless electrolyzers for efficient hydrogen production using nanoengineered 3D gas capture electrode architectures

9:45-10:00 am ET Break
10:00-11:15 am ET

Hard-to-decarbonize industrial processes Moderated by: Randall Field, Executive Director, Future Energy Systems Center, MIT Energy Initiative

Speakers include:
Antoine Allanore, Professor of Metallurgy and Heather N. Lechtman Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Yet-Ming Chiang, Kyocera Professor of Ceramics, MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Greg Wilson, Vice President, Science and Advanced Technologies, JERA Americas
Guiyan Zang, Research Scientist, MIT Energy Initiative

11:15 am-12:00 pm ET

Student slam competition

Moderated by: Antje Danielson, Director of Education, MIT Energy Initiative

Speakers include:
Tori Hagenlocker, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science presenting on Accelerating commercial building electrification through heat pumps
Reed Tubbs, Chemical Engineering presenting on Electrodeposition of metal species
Elaine Liu, Mathematics presenting on Optimal EV charging station allocation for grid reliability and consumer satisfaction
Trent Lee, Mechanical Engineering presenting on Electrodialysis for lithium production from battery leachates
Johlesa Orm, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science presenting on Machine learning modeling to optimize bioenergy production
Colin Klick, Management presenting on Network analysis on wind energy in Maine
Samantha Rencher, Nuclear Science and Engineering presenting on The competitive landscape for distributed nuclear cogeneration
Ernesto Gomez, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science presenting on Renewable energy facilities siting conflict analysis and engagement
Jakob Byrd, Mechanical Engineering presenting on Siting a nuclear platform green fuels facility on the Gulf Coast
Wendy Zhang, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science presenting on Network analysis on wind energy in Maine
Zixuan Liu, Biological Engineering presenting on Miniaturized ultra-efficient micropumps using shape memory alloy-based peristaltic architectures

12:00-1:15 pm ET Lunch for the Society of Energy Fellows and viewing of student posters
1:15-2:30 pm ET
Afternoon sessions on September 14 are open to the MIT community.

How will large established companies lead the massive energy transformation?

Moderated by: J.J. Laukaitis, Director of Member Services, MIT Energy Initiative

Speakers include:
Ángel Benitez, Director, Offshore Procurement, Avangrid
David Dankworth, Hydrogen Technology Portfolio Manager, ExxonMobil Technology and Engineering Co.
Ingo Drescher, Senior Manager for Connected Energy Systems, Group Innovation, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

2:30-3:00 pm ET Keynote address: Enabling commercial liftoff for clean energy technologies
Jonah Wagner, Chief Strategist, Loan Programs Office, U.S. Department of Energy
3:00-3:30 pm ET Break
3:30-4:45pm ET

Generational perspectives on the energy transition

Moderated by: Antje Danielson, Director of Education, MIT Energy Initiative

Speakers include:
Andres Alvarez, Partner and Research Director, Creative Renewable Solutions
Amar Dayal, MBA Candidate, MIT Sloan School of Management; Co-President, MIT Sloan Energy Club
Dyanna Jaye, Graduate Student, MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Shreyaa Raghavan, First-year PhD Student, MIT Institute of Data, Systems, and Society; Co-President, MIT Energy and Climate Club
Peter Scott ’23, Graduate Student, MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering

4:45-5:00 pm ET Closing remarks
Robert Stoner, Interim Director, MIT Energy Initiative; Founding Director, MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design
5:00 pm ET Reception

About the speakers

Antoine Allanore

Professor of Metallurgy and Heather N. Lechtman Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Director, MIT Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology

Antoine Allanore is a professor of Metallurgy in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, currently recipient of the Heather N. Lechtman Chair. Allanore received his higher education in Nancy (France) where he earned a chemical process engineer diploma from Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Industries Chimiques and a MSc and a PhD from Lorraine University. He joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010 as a post-doctoral with Professor Sadoway, after several years of service as a research engineer for ArcelorMittal (Ulcos project with Jean-Pierre Birat). In 2012, he was appointed the T.B. King Assistant Professor of Metallurgy in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT. He teaches thermodynamics and sustainable chemical metallurgy at both the undergraduate and graduate level. His research has led to several new process technologies that are currently under deployment either at MIT or around the world, including for the production of iron and steel by electrolysis without GHG emissions. He has been organizer of several TMS symposia dedicated to materials processing since 2012, and was a member of the editorial board of Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B between 2017 and 2023. He is the current director of the Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology (CMRAE) at MIT.

Andres Alvarez

Partner and Research Director, Creative Renewable Solutions

Andres Alvarez is a partner and research director at Creative Renewable Solutions (CRS), a clean energy consulting firm that provides advisory services to several leading renewable energy developers, utilities, and investment management funds. Both a computational scientist and an energy market specialist, he is committed to creating clean energy solutions through rigorous data analysis and deep industry research. At CRS, Alvarez steers client-focused research and pioneers the creation of innovative computational tools geared towards evaluating and optimizing wind, solar, energy storage, and green hydrogen resources. Before CRS, Alvarez served in Avangrid CEO’s office, where he crafted sustainability and innovation reports, led competitor and industry assessments, and provided support to the Avangrid CEO Office, the Iberdrola Chairman’s Office, and the Iberdrola Innovation team. He later transitioned to Avangrid Renewables, spearheading a renewable hybridization initiative, and conducting in-depth techno-economic analyses of renewable resources, energy storage assets, and various emerging technologies. Beyond his commercial experience, Alvarez has also held several researcher roles at the MIT Energy Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy, and Argonne National Labs. Alvarez holds a BSc in nuclear science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a minor in energy studies from the MIT Energy Initiative.

David M. Babson

Executive Director, MIT Climate Grand Challenges

David Babson is the executive director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Climate Grand Challenges Initiative, which develops and manages research challenges that seed research aimed at developing impactful solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Prior to leading MIT’s CGC, Babson served as a program director for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) at the U.S. Department of Energy where he focused on biotechnology, innovations for agriculture system carbon drawdown, and carbon removal and management. Before joining ARPA-E he was the senior advisor for Renewable Energy, Natural Resources, and the Environment in the Office of the Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Babson detailed in his USDA role from the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) where he was a technology manager. At USDA, Babson led R&D coordination efforts on carbon management, climate change mitigation, sustainability, and agricultural systems innovation. At BETO, Babson oversaw projects for its Conversion Program and worked to understand how to leverage new technologies to advance the emerging bioeconomy and address global energy and climate challenges. Before joining DOE, he worked as the Senior Fuels Engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists and as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Babson completed post-docs at the University of Minnesota’s Biotechnology Institute and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. Babson has a PhD in chemical and biochemical engineering from Rutgers University and a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Aaron Baskerville-Bridges

VP of Operations & Co-Founder, AeroShield

Aaron Baskerville-Bridges is co-founder & VP Operations of AeroShield Materials in Hyde Park, MA. AeroShield is a seed-stage MIT spinout developing super-insulating, transparent aerogels to enable the next generation of energy-efficient windows, freezers, solar thermal receivers, and more. Baskerville-Bridges completed his SM in chemical engineering and MBA as part of the MIT Leaders For Global Operations program. His background in business and engineering means he wears many hats at AeroShield, including developing industry partnerships, leading AeroShield’s financial function, and identifying sites and equipment for manufacturing expansion. Prior to MIT, Baskerville-Bridges worked at the Boston Consulting Group supporting operational improvement projects in the energy sector, supply chain optimization, and private equity due diligence work.

Ángel Benitez

Director, Offshore Procurement, Avangrid

Ángel Benitez studied international business management and administration in Spain and The Netherlands. Since 2009, he has been working for Iberdrola in the energy sector for many different positions in Europe and since 2013 in the United States.

Benitez has large experience in the energy sector managing many large-scale CAPEX energy projects, which also involve a large number of suppliers. He currently leads the procurement department for the Renewables Offshore Business in the U.S., which includes the first large scale commercial project, Vineyard Wind One, currently under construction, among others.

Suzanne Berger

Institute Professor, MIT

Suzanne Berger is Institute Professor and member of the Political Science Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She co-chaired the MIT Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE) Commission—a project bringing MIT engineers, social scientists, and management experts together to analyze the role of manufacturing in bringing innovation to market in advanced economies. She is the author of their report, Making in America: From Innovation to Market (MIT Press, 2013). She currently participates in the Manufacturing@MIT project.

She was a member of the 1989 Made in America project at MIT and led the MIT study of globalization, outsourcing, and offshoring published in How We Compete: What Companies Around the World Are Doing to Make It in Today’s Global Economy (2006).  She is currently working on a study of the first globalization before World War I, a part of which appeared in her Notre Première Mondialisation: Leçons d’un échec oublié (2003).

Berger served as head of the Department of Political Science, MIT; vice president of the American Political Science Association; and first chair of the Social Science Research Council Committee on Western Europe. She founded the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI).  She graduated with a BA from the University of Chicago and a PhD from Harvard University.

She has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The French government has awarded her the Légion d’Honneur, Palmes Academiques and l’Ordre National du Mérite.

Doug Bernauer

CEO, Radiant

Doug Bernauer is the CEO and co-founder of Radiant, a “test first” nuclear technology company. He brings over a decade of experience from SpaceX, where he led Avionics for Grasshopper, their first rocket with landing legs. While working on power systems for Mars, Bernauer realized that nuclear technology would be required for life to become multi-planetary. However, he quickly understood the need to provide clean energy for humans on earth needed urgent action. Thus, the team began to develop Kaleidos–a portable high temperature gas microreactor, to replace diesel generators for microgrids, reliable backup power, and clean charging power for electric vehicles.
When he is not challenging nuclear reactor design or forging a hands-on engineering culture, Bernauer enjoys spending time with his wife and four kids, engaging in debates about history, economics, or music, and is a self-proclaimed rule-master at game nights.

Elisabeth Birkeland

VP Hydrogen and Low Carbon Technology Solutions, Equinor ASA

Elisabeth Birkeland is VP for Hydrogen and low carbon solutions within Equinor’s Technology, digitalization and innovation unit. She holds a master’s degree in geology from the University of Tromsø¸. She has held various technical and leadership positions in Equinor within exploration, petroleum technology, research, and technology development. Through these positions she has really seen the value of building on the knowledge from oil and gas industry to make an impact in the energy transition. She grew up in a small industrial town in the western part of Norway that back then was heavily polluted. However, the local focus on the nature and environment back in the 1980s transformed the small town and it is today known for the beautiful nature. A small-scale transformation that has given her faith that collaboration, competence and technology are key enablers for the energy transition. Birkeland is married and has four children who are all passionate about nature and outdoor activities.

Martha Broad

Executive Director, MIT Energy Initiative

Martha Broad is MITEI’s executive director. As part of the leadership team, she works to link science, innovation and policy to transform the world’s energy systems. She has a track record of successfully partnering with business, government and nonprofit stakeholders to support the clean energy transition. At MITEI, she works closely with member companies who collaborate with MIT researchers on a spectrum of topics, including the Future Energy Systems Center.

In addition, she spearheads MITEI’s collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy to design, manage, and host the annual Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Women in Clean Energy Symposium and serves as a C3E Ambassador.

Previously, as part of the senior management team of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), Broad led programs and studies that focused on the commercialization of clean energy technologies. By collaborating with universities and public and private partners, she helped facilitate the state’s successful installation of hundreds of megawatts of wind and solar systems.

Jacopo Buongiorno

TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, MIT

Jacopo Buongiorno is the TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the director of the Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems (CANES), and the director of Science and Technology of the MIT Nuclear Reactor Laboratory.  He has published over 100 journal articles in the areas of reactor safety and design, two-phase flow and heat transfer, and nanofluid technology. For his research work and teaching, he has won several awards, among which recently the 2022 ANS Presidential Citation. Buongiorno is a consultant for the nuclear industry in the area of reactor thermal-hydraulics, and a member of the Accrediting Board of the National Academy of Nuclear Training. He is also a fellow of the American Nuclear Society, a fellow of the Nuclear Reactor Thermal Hydraulics (NURETH) conference, a member of the ASME, past member of the Naval Studies Board (2017-2019), and a participant in the Defense Science Study Group (2014-2015).

Kerri Cahoy

Professor, MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Joint Professor, MIT Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Kerri Cahoy is a professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and joint in Earth and Planetary Sciences. Cahoy’s research focuses on using spacecraft to study the atmosphere of the Earth, Solar System planets like Mars, and even exoplanets. She leads the MIT Space Telecommunications, Astronomy, and Radiation Laboratory (STAR Lab) at MIT. Her group develops nanosatellites, also called CubeSats, for technology and science demonstrations. Current flight projects include instruments for Earth observation, such as imagers and weather sensors. STAR Lab also focuses on ways to get large amounts of science data from these tiny, resource-constrained platforms down to Earth using laser communications. In addition to developing nanosatellite technologies, STAR Lab researchers work on increasing the use of data from Earth observing satellites and developing new analysis techniques to help manage climate change and improve sustainability.

Yet-Ming Chiang

Kyocera Professor of Ceramics, MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Yet-Ming Chiang is Kyocera Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, where his research focuses on clean energy technologies including non-aqueous and aqueous batteries for transportation and grid-scale storage, and electrochemical production of industrial materials. He has published over 300 scientific articles and holds over 100 issued U.S. patents, of which more than 70 have been licensed to or are held by practicing companies. Chiang is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and Fellow of the Electrochemical Society, Materials Research Society, American Ceramic Society, and the National Academy of Inventors. His work in energy has been recognized by the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer Award (2016), the Economist’s Innovation Award (Energy and Environment Category, 2012), The Electrochemical Society Battery Division’s Battery Technology Award (2012), and an R&D 100 Editor’s Choice Award (2006). Chiang has brought several laboratory discoveries to commercialization, including high-power lithium iron phosphate batteries, the semi-solid electrode approach to low-cost lithium-ion battery manufacturing, and batteries for long-duration grid storage. He has co-founded several companies based on his research including American Superconductor Corporation (1987), A123 Systems (2001), 24M Technologies (2010), Desktop Metal (2015), Form Energy (2017), and Sublime Systems (2020). He co-directed the MIT Future of Energy Storage study (2022) and leads the Center for Electrification and Decarbonization of Industry at MIT.

Michael Coon

Vice President of New Plant Projects, Westinghouse Electric Company

Michael Coon is vice president, New Plant Projects within the Energy Systems division at Westinghouse Electric Company.

Coon has more than 32 years of experience in the nuclear industry and is currently responsible for the development of Westinghouse efforts in pursuit of AP1000 new plant business in various European markets.

Prior to his current position, Coon served as vice president and executive project director, New Plant Projects responsible for execution of the China Wave 2 AP1000 projects, and the APR1400 projects in South Korea and United Arab Emirates.

Coon has an engineering and projects background with significant experience in nuclear new build having participated in three successful NRC Design Certification efforts and the development, construction and startup of 24 new nuclear plants.
In addition to the new build business, he has experience in Westinghouse’s operating plant business supporting fuel and services for both Pressurized and Boiling Water Reactors.

Coon joined Westinghouse in 2000 through the acquisition of the nuclear division of ABB Combustion Engineering. Before joining Westinghouse, Coon held engineering positions with varying levels of responsibility at ABB-Combustion Engineering in Windsor, CT.

Coon holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts and is certified in Six Sigma and Project Management at Westinghouse.

Antje Danielson

Director of Education, MIT Energy Initiative

Antje Danielson is the director of Education at the MIT Energy Initiative, where she directs existing energy programs—such as the MIT Energy Studies Minor and the Energy Fellows Program—conceives and oversees the development of new programs—such as the Future of Energy Systems online MicroMasters—and engages in interdisciplinary research related to transformation systems. She co-teaches energy- and climate-related classes, and leverages her extensive international network of like-minded academic and professional colleagues to accelerate climate change related capacity building.

Prior to her position at MIT, she directed the Institute of the Environment at Tufts University, where she was also an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health. From 2005 to 2008, she was the Deputy Director for Sustainability at the Centre for Research into Earth Energy Systems at Durham University in the UK, where she initiated a carbon capture and storage working group.

Danielson’s approach to finding climate solutions is systemic, interdisciplinary, collaborative, and entrepreneurial. She advances her goals through research, education, and implementation of solutions. In 1999/2000, she co-founded the car-sharing company Zipcar.

Danielson is a member of the Board of Directors of the Global Council for Science and the Environment and has also served as President of the U.S. Council for Environmental Deans and Directors. She received teaching awards from Harvard University and an Exceptional Contribution Award from Durham University.

David Dankworth

Hydrogen Technology Portfolio Manager, ExxonMobil Technology and Engineering Co.

David Dankworth has spent over 30 years working for ExxonMobil, where he currently holds the title of Hydrogen Portfolio Manager.

He has held many different, highly varied positions in multiple U.S. and overseas locations. Following completion of his PhD in chemical engineering, Dankworth joined the company as a researcher in reactor engineering, progressed into management roles in the downstream petroleum-refining and chemicals-manufacturing technology sectors.

Dankworth then returned to research as a distinguished scientific advisor, serving as a liaison between the senior executives and the researchers in the company. In this role he looked at the various technology needs and connected with experts to explore collaborations for solutions, including other scientists and engineers throughout ExxonMobil, university professors, technical experts at the U.S. Department of Energy, and then share the resulting insight to develop technology portfolios that can be considered to address the significant technological challenge at hand.

Dankworth obtained a BS degree in chemical engineering from Rice University and a PhD, chemical engineering, from Princeton University, with a year spent studying at Cambridge University.

G. Ganesh Das

Chief, Collaboration & Innovation, The Tata Power Company Limited

G. Ganesh Das is a PhD from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India. His areas of specialization are Strategy, Marketing & Consumer Behaviour;. He has a postgraduate in Management and LLB from University of Delhi, an executive qualification on export management from Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, and a Swedish Institute Management Programme (SIMP) Diploma from Swedish Institute. He is a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and a honorary fellow at the Centre of Urban Energy in the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Sciences, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

His professional experience spans more than 34 years in the areas of technology management, collaborations & partnership development, sustainability, strategy planning, innovation management, consumer management, digital & business intelligence, corporate performance management, business and market development, and customer relationship management in the areas of power, smart grid, technology, solar renewables, electric vehicles infrastructure, automotive, and services across international geographies. Has done significant research in the areas of consumer behavior and strategy with papers written on the subject in international journals. He has also co-authored a book Aesthetics in Marketing published by Sage Publications, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and Singapore.

He was part of the global team involved in conceptualizing, development, and enablement of “smart Grid Maturity Model” (SGMM) whose rights now rest with Software Engineering Institute (SEI), Carnegie Mellon University (USA). One of his key areas of interest is looking at how changing technologies derives from and improves quality of consumer life with papers published in the areas of energy management technologies and strategies in the demand side management of energy. He has presented papers and participated in panel discussions in more than 80 international conferences in relation to electricity distribution, energy, and smart grid including electric vehicles and renewables.

Amar Dayal

Co-President, MIT Sloan Energy Club; MBA Candidate, MIT Sloan School of Management

Amar Dayal is a second year MBA candidate at MIT Sloan working towards a Sustainability certificate in Sustainability. Prior to Sloan, Dayal graduated from Williams College and worked at EY-Parthenon for four years, where he conducted due diligence work for private equity clients in the industrials space. During his first year, Dayal worked as a vice president of Sponsorship for the 2023 MIT Climate & Energy Prize, helping to raise ~$200k in funding dollars and to launch the competition’s first European chapter. Dayal also served as a panel director for the 2023 MIT Energy Conference, organizing a panel on the climate tech venture capital landscape featuring Clean Energy Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, Energy Impact Partner, and the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund. This summer, Dayal interned at the climate tech venture capital firm Clean Energy Ventures, where he investigated exit best practices for climate tech investors and conducted a top-down research project on emissions reduction technologies, eventually focusing on solutions within the agriculture sector. Dayal was also selected to travel with the MIT Energy Initiative on a trip to Denmark, where he was able to immerse himself into the Danish climate tech ecosystem. During his final year at Sloan, Dayal will continue to focus on climate-related coursework across MIT’s different academic departments. He will also serve as a co-president of the Sloan Energy Club, where he will help organize treks to climate tech hubs, such as the Bay Area and Houston, initiate Sloan’s first climate tech-focused career fair, and launch the club’s first mentorship program.

Ingo Drescher

Senior Manager for Connected Energy Systems, Group Innovation, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

Ingo Drescher studied Physics in Germany and Sweden and did his PhD in Germany at the RWTH Aachen in Chemistry. Since 199, Drescher has been with Volkswagen. The topic of energy is dominant in his carrier. Drescher has been responsible at Volkswagen for topics as fuel cell, bio and synthetic fuels, as well as battery research.

Currently, he is responsible as head of department for decentralized connected energy systems. The objective is to synchronize the energy- and mobility transition by Innovations for the coming renewable energy management system.

Randall Field

Executive Director, Future Energy Systems Center, MIT Energy Initiative

Randall Field is executive director of the MIT Future Energy Systems Center which examines the accelerating energy transition as emerging technologies, policies, demographics, and economics reshaping the landscape of energy supply and demand. He is also executive director of MIT’s Fusion Study examining the global multidecadal dynamics of the energy transition and how fusion energy can contribute to decarbonizing global energy systems. He was previously executive director for MITEI’s Mobility Systems Center, assessing the impact of transformations in vehicle and fuel technologies, service and business models, and consumer behavior in the movement of both passengers and goods. He was also executive director for MIT’s Mobility of the Future study which produced the Insights in the Future Mobility report covering global projections of alternative fuel vehicle fleets and energy consumption, deployment of charging and fueling infrastructure, attitudes towards mobility, and the impacts of innovative technologies and business models on urban mobility. As executive director for the Conversion Research Program at MIT for 10 years, Field worked with a multidisciplinary team of researchers to explore various conversion technologies for production of alternative fuels. Prior to MIT, Field worked for Aspen Technology for 23 years. Field received a SM in chemical engineering practice from MIT and a BS in chemical engineering from Caltech.

Ariel L. Furst

Paul M. Cook Career Development Professor, MIT Department of Chemical Engineering

Ariel L. Furst is the Paul M. Cook Career Development Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT. Her work centers on inventing technologies to improve human and environmental health by making access to resources more equitable. Her lab develops transformative technologies to solve important problems related to healthcare and sustainability by harnessing the inherent capabilities of biological molecules and cells. She is also a co-founder of the regenerative agriculture company, Seia Bio. She completed her PhD at Caltech developing non-invasive diagnostics for colorectal cancer and was then an A.O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley, where she developed sensors to monitor environmental pollutants. She is a 2023 Marion Milligan Mason Awardee, a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar for Bio-Inspired Solar Energy, and an ARO Early Career Grantee. She was recently awarded the MIT UROP Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award for her work with undergraduate researchers. She is passionate about STEM outreach and increasing participation of underrepresented groups in engineering.

Betar M. Gallant

Professor and the Class of 1922 Career Development Professor, MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering

Betar M. Gallant is a professor and the Class of 1922 Career Development Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, where she leads the Energy and Carbon Conversion Laboratory. She obtained her SB, SM, and PhD degrees from this department. Following her PhD, Gallant was a Kavli Nanoscience Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech. Her research group at MIT focuses on advanced battery chemistries and materials for high-energy primary and rechargeable batteries, including fluorinated cathode conversion reactions and lithium and calcium metal anodes and their interfaces. Her group is also leading research into CO2 capture and its integration with direct electrochemical conversion in the captured state. She is the recipient of multiple awards including an MIT Bose Fellow Award, Army Research Office Young Investigator Award, Scialog Fellow in Energy Storage, Scialog Fellow in Negative Emissions Science, National Science Foundation CAREER Award, The Electrochemical Society (ECS) Battery Division Early Career Award, an ECS-Toyota Young Investigator Award, and the Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Distinguished Teaching at MIT.

Peter Godart

Co-Founder & CEO, Found Energy

Peter Godart is the co-founder and CEO of Found Energy, an MIT spinout commercializing breakthrough technology that turns aluminum into fuel for generating low-cost, clean hydrogen on demand. He holds BSc degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering and an MSc and PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT. After earning his bachelor’s degrees in 2015, Godart spent two years as a research scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (347G), where he worked daily operations for the Mars Science Laboratory (“Curiosity”), qualified hardware for the Mars 2020 Rover (“Perseverance”), and led a research team in the exploring aluminum-based fuel for potential Europa lander applications. For his doctoral work, Godart developed new ways of extracting energy from aluminum waste to power electricity generation and seawater desalination in the aftermath of natural disasters, laying the groundwork for his company. Godart is also an avid educator and writer, and his first book Thermodynamics and Climate Change is available on MIT Opencourseware.

Lesley Harding

Global Head of Strategic Partnerships, Energy & Transition, Liberty Mutual

Lesley Harding has 30 years of experience in the management of risk and insurance in the energy sector. Harding served seven years in BP Treasury as VP, Global Head of Insurance Risk Solutions where she managed a portfolio of hydrocarbon, renewable, and emerging technology risks as the company transitioned from an International Oil & Gas company into an Integrated Energy Company. Having joined Liberty as Global head of Energy, she has recently moved internally to focus on developing strategic partnerships in support of Liberty ‘s Energy & Transition Risk strategy.

Jessica Harrison

Executive Director of Growth, VEIR

Jessica Harrison is the executive director of Growth at VEIR. In this role she identifies growth strategies and opportunities to deploy VEIR’s technology. Prior to VEIR, Harrison was the senior director of R&D at the Midcontinent Independent System Operator. In this role, she built a research division to assess industry trends and prototype wholesale market design and grid operator solutions. Harrison has a diverse background in clean energy, including experience with engineering analysis, public policy, and economic analysis. She holds a BS in physics from the University of Michigan and dual MS degrees in civil and environmental engineering and technology and policy from MIT.

Luc Huyse

Manager, Operations & Facilities, Chevron Technology Ventures

Since October 2020, Luc Huyse leads the Operations and Facilities Technical Team of Chevron Technology Ventures. His team integrates innovative externally developed technologies into Chevron’s business; within the low carbon space his team delivered Chevron’s first post-combustion carbon capture plants among other efforts. Huyse is an experienced technology developer and R&D portfolio manager with a proven track record of delivering value. He has a strong background in mechanical integrity as well as data analytics and optimization. Huyse joined Chevron in 2008 after a career in aerospace and engineering consulting. He is the recipient of Chevron’s ETC President’s Award (2015). His contributions to the return-to-flight mission following the loss of Columbia Space Shuttle (2003) were recognized by a NASA Group Achievement Award. He also received an R&D 100 Award for the co-development of industry-leading probabilistic assessment software. Huyse has served in technical committee leader roles for ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers), PRCI (Pipeline Research Council International), API (American Petroleum Institute) and IOGP (International Oil & Gas Producers). He also served as a voting member on the ASME B31.8 Pipeline Committee (American Society of Mechanical Engineers). He currently serves on the board of the Subsea Systems Institute in Houston. Huyse holds a PhD and MSc civil engineering (Univ. of Calgary, Canada, 1996 and 2000) and a Bachelor of Applied Science degree from KU Leuven in Belgium (1991).

Dyanna Jaye

Graduate Student, MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Dyanna Jaye comes from Tidewater, Virginia. Her work is dedicated to guiding people and policies to address the climate crisis and build a society where we have clean air, water, and safe homes for generations.
Jaye co-founded the Sunrise Movement where she helped launch the Green New Deal and win federal climate policy. As the National Organizing Director, Jaye supported the movement to grow to 500 local chapters and elevate climate change as an urgent issue across the United States.
Jaye currently works for the Massachusetts Governor’s Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience and she is also completing her Masters in city planning in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Emmanuel Kasseris

CEO, Emvolon

Emmanuel Kasseris is the CEO and co-founder of Emvolon, an MIT spin-off revolutionizing chemical manufacturing by using internal combustion engines from cars and trucks as miniature chemical plants. He has more than 15 years of experience in the energy sector. As a research project manager for Chevron, ConocoPhillips and MIT, Kasseris has led several new energy technologies from concept to laboratory prototype and eventually full-scale pilots. An internal combustion engine expert, Kasseris has worked on fossil fuel/combustion, renewable power generation technologies and energy storage, especially in micro grid applications.

Additionally, Kasseris has worked extensively as an energy systems strategic advisor for senior management at Chevron and MIT in both transportation and power generation. His work has been cited by the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Academy of Sciences. It has also been used in expert testimonies to the US Congress as well as on DOE’s fueleconomy.gov website.

Kasseris holds a PhD and MSc from MIT and a diploma from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, all in mechanical engineering. He is the inventor of six U.S. patents and the author of nine publications with over 900 citations.

Christopher Knittel

Deputy Director of Policy, MIT Energy Initiative; George P. Shultz Professor of Energy Economics, MIT Sloan School of Management; Director, MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research

Christopher Knittel is the deputy director of policy at MITEI and the George P. Shultz Professor of Energy Economics in the Sloan School of Management MIT. He is also the director of MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, which has served as the hub for social science research on energy and the environmental since the late 1970s. Knittel is also a co-director of The E2e Project, a research initiative between MIT, UC Berkeley, and the University of Chicago, to undertake rigorous evaluation of energy efficiency investments. He joined the faculty at MIT in 2011, having taught previously at UC Davis and Boston University. At MIT, he teaches Energy Economics and Policy to undergraduates, MBA students, and graduate students from outside of the Sloan School of Management.

J.J. Laukaitis

Director of Member Services, MIT Energy Initiative

J.J. Laukaitis is the director of Member Services at the MIT Energy Initiative, where he manages the growth of impactful collaborations between leading corporations and MIT faculty, researchers, and innovators.

Laukaitis has over 25 years of experience in engineering, product management, and large account sales management across multiple industries including mechanical design, software, electronics, and semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

During his industry career Laukaitis has led new revenue growth and business development initiatives at large established corporations and was a key contributor to early revenue generation and the IPO at PTC.

At MIT, Laukaitis has a track record of initiating and growing large, strategic engagements between industry partners and MIT, resulting in mutually beneficial research projects and technology commercialization initiatives. For 11 years, Laukaitis has worked closely with some of the largest and boldest initiatives across MIT, such as the MIT Energy Initiative, Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Systems Lab, and Advanced Manufacturing Initiatives.

Laukaitis received a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University and a masters in Science from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Laukaitis is a graduate of Leader 2 Leader (L2L), MIT’s nationally-recognized development program for MIT leaders.

Andrew W. Lo

Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management

Andrew W. Lo is the Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, director of MIT’s Laboratory for Financial Engineering, and principal investigator at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. His current research interests include new financial engineering tools and business models for funding “hard tech” initiatives such as drug development, fusion energy, climate-change mitigation, and space exploration. He is a co-founder and chairman of QLS Advisors, and a member of the advisory board to the American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge Impact Fund, and Proto Ventures, MIT’s venture studio initiative. Lo received his BA in economics from Yale University and his AM and PhD in economics from Harvard University.

Catarina Madeira

Director, Startup Exchange, MIT Corporate Relations

Catarina Madeira joined the Office of Corporate Relations as program director of Startup Exchange, in May 2021. She was promoted to director of Startup Exchange in December 2022.

Madeira has been working with the Cambridge/Boston startup ecosystem for over 10 years and joined Corporate Relations with a solid network in the innovation and entrepreneurial community. Prior to MIT, she was part of the team that designed and launched the startup accelerator IUL MIT Portugal, later rebranded to Building Global Innovators. She was based in Lisbon and worked in direct relation with the Cambridge team. She held positions including operations coordinator, program manager, and business developer. The accelerator soon achieved steady growth in large part due to the partnerships that Madeira led with regional and global startup ecosystems. After that, she worked at NECEC, leading a program that connects cleantech startups and industry. In this role, she developed and built a pipeline of startups and forged strong relationships with both domestic and European companies. She has also held positions in Portugal and France including at Saboaria e Perfumaria Confiança and L’Oréal as technical director and pharmacist.

Madeira earned her Bachelor in chemistry at the University of Porto and her Bachelor in pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She went on to earn her Master of engineering for health and medicines at University Lyon 1 and EM Lyon in France.

Admir Masic

Associate Professor, MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Admir Masic’s research focuses on the science-enabled engineering of sustainable construction materials for large-scale infrastructure innovation. A chemist by training, with expertise in biomineralization, he specializes in the development of multifunctional cement-based materials, ranging from self-healing concrete materials to carbon absorbing concretes and electron conducting cement-based materials. He is a principal investigator in the Concrete Sustainability Hub at MIT, a faculty fellow in Archaeological Materials at MIT’s Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology (CMRAE), and the faculty director of the Refugee ACTion Hub (ReACT) at MIT. MIT ReACT aims at providing new professional content development for displaced learners around the world.

Francis O’Sullivan

Managing Director, Clean Energy S2G Ventures

Francis (Frank) O’Sullivan is managing director for S2G Ventures where he oversees the fund’s Clean Energy investments. Previously, O’Sullivan was a senior vice president and head of Onshore Strategy for Ørsted, one of the world’s leading renewable energy developers. In this role, O’Sullivan was responsible for the long-term commercial planning and market analysis across onshore wind, solar, and storage, and was a member of the management team responsible for growing Ørsted’s onshore business from <1GW of wind in 2019 to >5GWs of wind solar and storage today. Prior to Ørsted, O’Sullivan was director of research for the MIT Energy Initiative and co-director of the MIT Electric Power System Center where he led the research agenda of one of the world’s leading energy and sustainability-focused academic research initiatives with an annual budget approaching $50M. O’Sullivan continues to hold a senior lecturer position at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where each Fall he teaches his class, “Climate & Energy Ventures.” O’Sullivan has previously served as a member of the U.S. National Academies’ Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability. He is a senior associate with the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and he is a distinguished associate with the Energy Futures Initiative. He has also served as a member of the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s working group on methane emissions, and as a senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy for the 2016 Quadrennial Energy Review.

Jacquelyn Pless

Assistant Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management

Jacquelyn Pless is an assistant professor in the Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management group at the MIT Sloan School of Management, holding the Fred Kayne (1960) Career Development Professor of Entrepreneurship. Her research interests are in the economics of innovation, energy and environmental economics, and public finance. Most of her work studies the effects of policies and investment (public and private) on innovation for social progress–innovation that protects the planet and people, focusing primarily on energy and environmental innovation.

Prior to joining MIT, Pless held various positions in the public and private sectors. She worked in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and National Conference of State Legislatures supporting state and tribal governments on energy policy and project finance, was a research economist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and was the Head of Analytics for a boutique consulting firm in the UK helping companies manage their reorganizations.

Pless has a PhD in mineral and energy economics from the Colorado School of Mines. She is also currently an honorary research associate with the University of Oxford, a research affiliate of CESifo, and an invited researcher with J-PAL’s Science for Progress Initiative.

Shreyaa Raghavan

Co-President, MIT Energy and Climate Club; First-year PhD Student, Social & Engineering Systems, MIT Institute of Data, Systems, and Society

Shreyaa Raghavan is a first-year PhD Student in Social & Engineering Systems at MIT’s Institute of Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS). Her research interests are using deep learning and optimization techniques to accelerate sustainable energy technologies. She has previously researched optimization algorithms to improve the efficiency of solar cells at the MIT Photovoltaic Research Lab and worked on improving photovoltaic forecasting in residential areas at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. Outside of research, Raghavan was also the managing director of the 2023 MIT Energy Conference and is currently the co-president of the MIT Energy & Climate Club. She is passionate about creating a hub at MIT where researchers and students of all backgrounds can play a role in the energy transition.

Adam Rauwerdink

SVP, Business Development, Boston Metal

Adam Rauwerdink is the SVP of Business Development at Boston Metal, the technology company revolutionizing how steel and other metals are made. Rauwerdink joined as one of the earliest employees and has subsequently raised over $300M in equity, has developed partnerships with global industry leaders, such as ArcelorMittal and BMW, and has earned countless awards for the company, including 2023 North America Company of the Year from the Cleantech Group. Prior to Boston Metal, he led global development at several utility-scale energy storage companies. Rauwerdink holds a BS in engineering from the University of Connecticut and a PhD in engineering and innovation from Dartmouth College.

Peter Scott

Graduate Student, MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering

Peter Scott is a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering currently studying green hydrogen production through a thermochemical process. Scott attended MIT as an undergraduate, completing a major in mechanical engineering with a concentration and minor in energy studies. As a part of MIT Divest since 2019, Scott has advocated for policies that would reduce the extremely harmful influence of the fossil fuel industry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Michael Stern

Director of Process R&D, Sublime Systems

Michael Stern is the director of Process R&D at Sublime Systems, a low-carbon cement company in Somerville, MA that uses electrochemistry and alternative feedstocks to dramatically reduce the carbon intensity of cement. Stern has over a decade of experience researching and evaluating carbon abatement technologies. In his current role, he oversees the research and development of Sublime’s electrochemical and chemical process technologies. Prior to joining Sublime, Stern was a senior managing engineer at Exponent, an engineering and scientific consulting firm, where he provided a mix of failure analysis and process evaluation support to a range of clients. He obtained his PhD in chemical engineering at MIT under the direction of Professor Alan Hatton evaluating electrochemically mediated carbon capture technologies.

Mike Strauch

Senior Systems Engineer, Transaera

Mike Strauch is a senior systems engineer for Transaera, a startup developing a new class of ultra-efficient air conditioning systems. Transaera is on a mission to cut the cost of ownership of air conditioners by more than half using a combination of novel materials and systems. Strauch is responsible for managing commercial partnerships and system modeling efforts for Transaera’s technology, which uses materials with nano-scale pores to remove moisture from the air, dramatically reducing the energy consumption of air conditioning. Prior to joining Transaera, he worked as a design engineer for GE Aviation, after completing GE’s engineering development program. He earned an MS in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from MIT and a BS in aerospace engineering from Ohio State.

Robert Stoner

Interim Director, MIT Energy Initiative; Founding Director, MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design

Robert Stoner is the interim director of MITEI and founding director of the MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design. He was previously MITEI’s deputy director for science and technology. Stoner is currently a member of the MIT Energy Council. He also serves on the Board of Directors of, and the Science and Technology Committee of, the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, which oversees the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and as a member and secretary of the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty.

Stoner is the inventor of numerous computational and ultrafast optical measurement techniques and has built and managed successful technology firms in the semiconductor, IT, and optics industries. From 2007 through 2009, he lived and worked in Africa and India while serving in a variety of senior roles within the Clinton Foundation, including as the CEO of the Clinton Development Initiative, and director of the Clinton Climate Initiative for Africa. His present research at MIT focuses on solutions to energy poverty, and the design and optimization of energy systems and business models in the developing world. He earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Queen’s University and PhD from Brown University in condensed matter physics.

KC Tran

CEO, MAAT Energy

KC Tran is CEO of MaaT Energy. Tran has developed world class innovation teams and partnerships. He has scaled large scale production of hydrogen, carbon capture, and built the world’s first CO2 to methanol plant as CEO of Carbon Recycling International. Tran is also a visiting scientist at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center.

Jennifer Uhle

Vice President of Technical and Regulatory Services, Nuclear Energy Institute

Jennifer Uhle is the vice president of Technical and Regulatory Services at the Nuclear Energy Institute. Prior to joining NEI in 2018, Uhle served as the director of Reactor Safety Programs at Jensen Hughes, a consulting company to the nuclear industry working in the areas of advanced reactors and thermal-hydraulics.

Previously, she served at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for 23 years in several senior executive positions including the director of the Office of New Reactors.

Uhle obtained her BS and PhD in nuclear engineering from MIT with a specialization in reactor systems and design. She served as the U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s first fact-finding mission to Fukushima in 2011, served on the advisory committee to MIT’s Department of Nuclear Engineering, and on the National Academy of Science Committee focused on a U.S. fusion pilot program.

Kripa K. Varanasi

Professor, MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering

Kripa K. Varanasi is a professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. He received his BTech from IIT Madras, India and his SM (ME and EECS) and PhD from MIT. Prior to joining MIT as a faculty member, Varanasi was a lead researcher and project leader at the GE Global Research Center. At GE he received many awards for his work including Best Patent, Best Technology Project, and Leadership Award. At MIT, the focus of his work is in understanding the physico-chemical phenomena at interfaces and developing novel materials, devices, and products that can dramatically enhance performance in energy, water, agriculture, transportation, medical, and consumer devices. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and translating technologies from lab to market. He has co-founded multiple companies including LiquiGlide, Dropwise, Infinite Cooling, and Everon24. Time and Forbes Magazines have named LiquiGlide to their “Best Inventions of the Year.” His Infinite Cooling project has won first prize at DOE’s National Cleantech University Prize, first prize Rice Business Plan Competition, first prize Harvard Business School Energy & Environment Start-up, first prize at MIT-100K, and first prize at MassChallenge. Varanasi has received numerous awards for his work: NSF Career Award, DARPA Young Faculty Award, SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award, ASME Bergles-Rohsenow Heat Transfer Award, Boston Business Journal’s 40 under 40, ASME Gustus L. Larson Memorial Award for outstanding achievements in mechanical engineering, APS Milton van Dyke award, and MIT Graduate Student Council’s Frank E. Perkins Award for Excellence in Graduate Advising.

Juan A. Vitali

Director, Army Nuclear Power Branch, Office of Chief of Engineers, Headquarters Army

Juan A. Vitali is the Army’s nuclear engineer and chief of the Nuclear Power Branch. He leads a team of engineers to shape conditions for the adoption of nuclear power by the Army. He was the chief concept architect for the development of mobile nuclear power plant for ground operations. He is the senior advisor to the Chief of Engineers on Nuclear Power Matters. Vitali was principal research faculty for eight years at Georgia Tech Research Institute and was director of the Washington Office for the Electro-Optics Environment and Materials Laboratory. Throughout his career, Vitali has maintained a dedication to excellence not only in science and technology but, in general, quietly effecting change through increasing leadership roles. In 2000, his work in halon replacements earned him the International US-EPA Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award. Vitali completed studies at National Defense University/Eisenhower School and obtained a master’s degree in national security studies and resource strategy in 2013. Vitali is a Harvard University senior executive fellow. Vitali holds a Doctorate in engineering Physics/Nuclear Engineering (1992), a Master of engineering (1987) and a bachelor’s degree cum laude in engineering physics/nuclear engineering (1984), all from the University of Florida.

Vitali is married to the former Kathryn Bowler of Needham, MA. Vitali is excited to be part of the OSTP team as assistant director for Nuclear Energy Innovation, under Sally Benson’s leadership, to help advance the President’s agenda in dealing with climate change through the use of nuclear energy.

Jonah Wagner

Chief Strategist, Loan Programs Office, U.S. Department of Energy

Jonah Wagner is the chief strategist at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Programs Office, where he focuses on BIL and IRA implementation and defining pathways to scale for clean energy technologies. Prior to DOE, Wagner was an associate partner at McKinsey & Company in the public finance practice, and he worked for the New Zealand Treasury on infrastructure and environmental policy. He was also LATAM Regional Director and Global Head of Strategy for Delterra, a social enterprise focused on standing up municipal recycling systems, and led business development for Piramal Water LLC, a distributed infrastructure company in Gujarat, India.

Wagner has an AB from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, and he is based in Washington, D.C.

Milo Werner

General Partner, The Engine

Milo Werner is a general partner at The Engine. She serves as a Board Member for Atlantic Quantum, Foundation Alloy, Mori, Resonant Link, and TeraDar.

Werner joined The Engine from Ajax Strategies where she was a partner, leading mid-stage investments across energy, transportation, agriculture, and industrial applications. Before Ajax Strategies, Werner joined Tesla in 2007, at a critical stage in the company’s trajectory, where she led New Production Introduction, launching the Model S powertrain (battery, drive unit, and all the stuff in between), dual motor, drivers assist, and, most importantly, Model X. During her tenure, the company grew from 200 employees to 12,000. In addition to Tesla, Werner ran New Product Introduction at Fitbit, launching four factories in China and transitioning the company to fully automated production. She also led engineering and product for micro-grid company Zola, a startup providing distributed energy to over a million families in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Werner earned a BS in geology and civil & environmental engineering from the University of Vermont, as well as an MS in civil engineering and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management. She sits on the boards of the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, AxelHire, and Infinitum Electric.

Anne E. White

Vice Provost and Associate Vice President for Research Administration, MIT

Anne E. White is the vice provost and associate vice president for Research Administration. She oversees Research Administration Services, Research Administration Systems and Support, and Research Development. She also oversees the Office of Strategic Alliances and Technology Transfer (OSATT), which includes the Technology Licensing Office, Corporate Relations, and OSATT Core. The associate provost and associate vice president for research administration engages with Task Force 2021 and beyond to advance its recommendations as well as with special projects of the provost.

Greg Wilson

Vice President, Science and Advanced Technologies, JERA Americas

Greg Wilson is the vice president for Science and Advanced Technologies at JERA Americas. Wilson is an expert in decarbonized fuels; power generation with zero-carbon fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia, and biofuels; hydrogen synthesis from both renewable electricity and natural gas with CCS; hydrogen transport and storage; renewable energy including photovoltaic devices and reliability plus deep expertise involving the crystalline silicon photovoltaics supply chain. Wilson was at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) from 2011 to 2018 where he was the director of the National Center for Photovoltaics. In 2018 he started his own consulting practice focused on the technology and business opportunities associated with the rapid decarbonization of the global energy system. After consulting for JERA Americas, he joined the company in 2021. Wilson was trained as a chemical engineer (BS, MS and DSc) and his industrial experience includes both chemical and semiconductor processing. His research and academic experience involve complex fluid mechanics, chemical vapor deposition and photovoltaics.

Catherine Wolfram

William F. Pounds Professor of Energy Economics, MIT Sloan School of Management

Catherine Wolfram previously served as the Cora Jane Flood Professor of Business Administration at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

​From March 2021 to October 2022, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate and Energy Economics at the U.S. Treasury, while on leave from UC Berkeley.

​Before leaving for government service, she was the program director of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Environment and Energy Economics Program and a research affiliate at the Energy Institute at Haas. Before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley, she was an assistant professor of Economics at Harvard.

Wolfram has published extensively on the economics of energy markets. Her work has analyzed rural electrification programs in the developing world, energy efficiency programs in the US, the effects of environmental regulation on energy markets, and the impact of privatization and restructuring in the US and UK. She is currently working on several projects at the intersection of climate and trade.

She received a PhD in economics from MIT in 1996 and an AB from Harvard in 1989.

Guiyan Zang

Research Scientist, MIT Energy Initiative

Guiyan Zang is a research scientist at the MIT Energy Initiative, where her research includes techno-economic analysis (TEA) and life cycle analysis (LCA) on ammonia production and application, clean hydrogen and ethylene production, bio-methanol production, and carbon capture for hard-to-abate industries. Before MIT, she spent three years working for Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) as a postdoctoral scholar and then as an energy system analyst. At ANL, her research was energy conversion system design, TEA, and LCA, in particular, decarbonization for industrial processes, synthetic fuel/chemicals production, and waste material conversions. She developed the e-fuel pathways in GREET software and earned two Impact Argonne Awards. She holds a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Iowa.

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