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Dr. Jerry M. Woodall
University of California, Davis

Dr. Jerry Woodall is a National Medal of Technology Laureate and a Distinguished Professor of ECE at UC Davis. Dr. Woodall earned a BS in Metallurgy from MIT and a Ph.D. in EE from Cornell University.

In 2002 President Bush awarded Dr. Woodall the National Medal Technology: “For the invention and development of technologically and commercially important compound semiconductor heterojunction materials, processes and related devices, such as light emitting diodes, lasers, ultra fast transistors, and solar cells”

The first part of his career was spent at the IBM Research Division, where he rose to the rank of IBM Fellow, IBM’s highest technical honor and position. While at IBM he invented and developed most of the currently important commercial high-speed electronic and photonic devices that depend on heterojunctions, notably including the first super bright red LEDs and foundation of all current LEDs. He also invented and developed the current embodiments of both the heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) and the pseudomorphic high electron mobility transistor (P-HEMT) found in all of the current 7 billion PDAs, e.g. i-phones, on the planet . This has enabled the current annual $35+billion annual market for compound semiconductor materials and devices.

The scientific impact of his work has led to three Nobel Prizes in physics: the 1998 prize awarded to Stormer and Tsui "for their discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations"; half the 2000 prize awarded to Kroemer, and Alferov "for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed- and optoelectronics"; and the 2014 prize awarded to Amano, Nakamura, and Kajita "for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources"

He is a co-founder of LightSpin Technologies Inc., a high-performance photo detector company, and Compound Photonics, LLC, a high-performance optical projector engine company, a company that is developing his patented technology of using aluminum plus water to make low-cost high purity alumina and high purity hydrogen. His university research is currently focused on three areas: large scale energy storage to enable global scale power-to-energy storage of solar and wind power; very-high-efficiency, low-cost photovoltaic devices; and ultra-fast transistor materials and devices.

He has 434 journal publications and 85 U.S. patents. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is a Fellow of the AAS, NAI, APS, IEEE, ECS, and AVS. IBM corporate recognition includes his election as IBM Fellow in 1985, and an $80,000 IBM Corporate Award in 1992 for the invention of the GaAlAs/GaAs heterojunction,. Other recognition includes the 1980 Electronics Division Award of the Electrochemical Society (ECS), the 1984 IEEE Jack A. Morton Award, the 1985 ECS Solid State Science and Technology Award, the 1988 Heinrich Welker Gold Medal and International GaAs Symposium Award, the 1990 American Vacuum Society (AVS) Medard Welch (Founder’s) Award, its highest honor, the 1997 Eta Kappa Nu Vladimir Karapetoff Eminent Members' Award, the 1998 American Society for Engineering Education’s General Electric Senior Research Award , an IEEE Third Millennium Medal (2000), the Federation of Materials Societies' 2002 National Materials Advancement Award, and the 2005 IEEE Jun-ichci Nishizawa Gold Medal. Of particular note is that Dr. Woodall received the ECS Edward Goodrich Acheson (Founder’s) Award (1998), and ECS Honorary Member (2009) its highest honors. His national professional society activities include President of the ECS (1990), and President of AVS (1998).

Title: 24/7 Electricity Produced by Intermittent Power Requires Its Energy Storage
Presenter: Jerry M. Woodall

This is a simple story with a no-brainer punchline included in the title. Except for geothermal and nuclear energy, the sun is, and has been, the source of nearly all energy used on our planet. The problem is that the earth receives plenty of intermittent solar power, but not as solar energy. Solar intermittency was not a problem before the industrial revolution, when human daily energy needs were only 1.5-2.0 kWh. The intermittency problem came with the emergence of iron and steel production, industry, and fuel powered transportation. It is important to stress is that daily sun power did not enable the Industrial Revolution. Rather, it occurred as the result of the availability of energy storage materials created by the death of life created by intermittent solar insulation over millions of years.

In retrospect, using fossil fuels, rather than using daily solar insulation, to launch and develop our current enormous energy consuming and data driven society was a human tragedy. We are now faced with two daunting global scale energy creation and distribution issues. One is having to legislate use restrictions for societies with opulent life-styles. This is a dangerous ploy because the “haves” will not be eager to give up what they already have. The other one is that, owing to instantaneous global communication, the “have nots” will “vigorously” demand energy parity.

After all the low hanging “energy conservation” fruit is picked, what’s next? Resources are available to realize a “greatly reduced fossil fuel” solution to satisfy future disparate societal demands for energy. The sun is free. Less than 10 minutes of solar insulation will create a year’s worth of global energy needs. Capitalization costs of solar cells and wind turbines make them non-competitive with fossil fuel. However, a long-life use factor amortization could bring solar power economics into parity with fossil fuels. The principal remaining issue is to mitigate the sun’s intermittency. This simply requires economical energy storage of wind and solar power.

Finally, there is plenty of fossil fuel to supply world-wide energy needs for the foreseeable future. But there are many reasons to stop using fossil fuels for energy and to get on with converting daily solar power into 24/7 electricity. An important one is that global scale conversion of solar power to electricity via storage does not raise earth’s temperature!

Dr. Daniel G. Nocera
Harvard University

Daniel G. Nocera is the Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy at Harvard University. Widely recognized in the world as a leading researcher in renewable energy, he is the inventor of the artificial leaf and bionic leaf. Nocera has accomplished the solar fuels process of photosynthesis – the splitting of water to hydrogen and oxygen using light from neutral water, at atmospheric pressure and room temperature. He has performed this solar process at efficiencies of greater than 10%. The artificial leaf was named by Time magazine as Innovation of the Year for 2011. He has since elaborated this invention to accomplish a complete artificial photosynthetic cycle. To do so, he created the bionic leaf, which is a bio-engineered bacterium that uses the hydrogen from that artificial leaf and carbon dioxide from air to make biomass and liquid fuels. The bionic leaf, which was named by the World Economic Forum as the Breakthrough Technology for 2017, performs artificial photosynthesis that is ten times more efficient than natural photosynthesis. Extending this approach, Nocera has achieved a renewable and distributed synthesis of ammonia (and fertilizer) at ambient conditions by coupling solar-based water splitting to a nitrogen fixing bioorganism, which is powered by the hydrogen produced from water splitting. Thus, using only sunlight, air and water, a distributed system powered by renewable energy has been created to produce fuel and food. Such science is particularly useful to the poor of the world, where large infrastructures for fuel and food production are not tenable. Other areas of interest in the group include the first measurement and theory of proton-coupled electron transfer and its application to radical enzymology, the development of new cancer therapies by creating nanocrystal chemosensors for metabolic tumor profiling and the design of spin frustrated materials to explore exotic states arising from highly correlated spins. He created the first quantum spin liquid from S = ½ spins on a kagomé lattice, a long-sought prize in condensed matter physics. Afield from chemistry, Nocera invented the Molecular Tagging Velocimetry (MTV) technique to make simultaneous, multipoint velocity measurements of highly three–dimensional turbulent flows. The technique has been employed by the engineering community to solve a number of long-standing and important problems.

Nocera’s research contributions in renewable energy have been recognized by several awards, some of which include the Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy, Eni Prize, IAPS Award, Burghausen Prize, and the United Nation’s Science and Technology Award and from the American Chemical Society the Inorganic Chemistry, Harrison Howe. Kosolapoff and Remsen Awards. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Indian Academy of Sciences. He was named as 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time Magazine and was 11th on the New Statesman’s list on the same topic, and he is a frequent guest on TV and radio and is regularly featured in print.

Before joining Harvard, Nocera began his career at Michigan State University, where he was a University Distinguished Professor and then in 1997 joined the faculty of MIT where he was the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy. He earned his B.S. degree at Rutgers University and his Ph.D. at Caltech. Nocera has mentored 159 Ph.D. graduate and postdoctoral students, 69 of which have assumed faculty positions, published over 450 papers, given over 975 invited talks and 128 named lectureships. In 2008, Nocera founded Sun Catalytix, a company committed to developing energy storage for the wide-spread implementation of renewable energy. In August 2014, Lockheed Martin purchased the assets of Sun Catalytix, and now Sun Catalytix technology is being commercialized under the venture, Lockheed Martin GridStar™ Flow. A second company, Kula Bio, was founded by Nocera in 2018 o to focus on the development of renewable and distributed crop fertilization and land restoration.

A Sustainable and Renewable Cycle for Food and Fuels from Sunlight, Air and Water

Daniel G. Nocera
Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy
Harvard University

Hybrid biological | inorganic (HBI) constructs have been created to use sunlight, air and water (as the only starting materials) to accomplish carbon fixation and nitrogen fixation, thus enabling distributed and renewable fuels and crop production.

The carbon and nitrogen fixation cycles begin with the artificial leaf, which was invented to accomplish the solar fuels process of natural photosynthesis – the splitting of water to hydrogen and oxygen using sunlight – under ambient conditions. To create the artificial leaf, an oxygen evolving complex of Photosystem II was mimicked, the most important property of which was the self-healing nature of the catalyst. Self-healing catalysts of the artificial leaf permit water splitting to be accomplished using any water source—which is the critical development for: (1) the artificial leaf, as it allows for the facile interfacing of water splitting catalysis to materials such as silicon and (2) the bionic leaf, as it allows for the facile interfacing of water splitting catalysis to bioorganisms. For the latter, using the tools of synthetic biology, a bio-engineered bacterium has been developed to convert carbon dioxide from air, along with the hydrogen produced from the catalysts of the artificial leaf, into biomass and liquid fuels, thus closing an entire artificial photosynthetic cycle. The HBI, called the bionic leaf, operates at unprecedented solar-to-biomass (10.7%) and solar-to-liquid fuels (6.2%) yields, greatly exceeding the 1% yield of natural photosynthesis.

Extending this approach, a renewable and distributed synthesis of ammonia (and fertilizer) at ambient conditions has been created by coupling solar-based water splitting to a nitrogen fixing bioorganism in a single reactor. Nitrogen is fixed by using the hydrogen produced from water splitting to power a nitrogenase installed in a bioorganism. The ammonia produced by the nitrogenase can be diverted from biomass formation to extracellular production with the addition of an inhibitor. The nitrogen reduction reaction proceeds at high turnover per cell and operates without the need for a carbon feedstock (other than the CO2 provided from air). This nitrogen fixing HBI can be powered by distributed renewable electricity, enabling sustainable crop production with a carbon negative budget.

The science that will be presented will show that using only sunlight, air and water, a distributed system may be established to produce fuel and food. Such science will be particularly useful to the poor of the world, where large infrastructures for fuel and food production are not tenable.

Dr. Birol Dindoruk

Dr. Birol Dindoruk is a Chief Scientist and a Principal Technical Expert in Reservoir Engineering working for Shell International E&P since 1997. He is also an adjunct faculty at the University of Houston, and a consulting professor at Stanford University. He holds BSc, MSc and PhD degrees all in petroleum engineering from Istanbul Technical University, University of Alabama and Stanford University, respectively and an MBA degree from University of Houston. He is a recipient of SPE’s Cedric K. Ferguson Medal and Lester C. Uren Awards and is a member of National Academy of Engineering. He has also served as co-executive Editor of SPE, Editor-in-Chief for JPSE and currently for JNGSE. Dindoruk is a member of the SPE board serving as the Technical Director for Management and Information.

Evolution of the Energy Mix and Its Implications:

Birol Dindoruk

With the worldwide industrial development, demand for energy increased over time. From historical perspective, such demand or hunger for energy was met through various means over the time. One of the interesting observations that we can make is that the future has been hard to predict. This talk will focus on the current state of affairs in terms of global energy mix and various trends and future and current alternatives. It is well known that Human Development Index and primary energy use per capita is correlated. As the future energy demand is expected to increase, meeting such demand in a scalable manner poses many current and also future challenges. Some of the key challenges are the GHG emissions and various environmental footprints depending on the source of the energy. Meeting the challenge of reducing GHG emissions will require a fully diversified portfolio of approaches, including conservation and efficiency gains from fossil fuels and renewables.

Dr. Jacopo Buongiorno
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Jacopo Buongiorno is the TEPCO Professor and Associate Department Head of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in thermo-fluids engineering and nuclear reactor engineering. Jacopo has published over 80 journal articles in the areas of nuclear energy system innovation, reactor design and safety, boiling heat transfer, and nanofluid technology. For his research work and his teaching at MIT he won several awards, including, recently, the Ruth and Joel Spira Award (MIT, 2015), and the Landis Young Member Engineering Achievement Award (American Nuclear Society, 2011). He is the Director of the Center for Advanced Energy Systems (CANES), which is one of eight Low-Carbon-Energy Centers (LCEC) of the MIT Energy initiative (MITEI), as well as the Director of the MIT study on the Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World. Jacopo 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 member of the Naval Studies Board (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine), a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society (including service on its Special Committee on Fukushima in 2011–2012), a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and a participant in the Defense Science Study Group (2014–2015).

Nuclear Energy: a New Beginning?

Harnessing the power of the atomic nucleus for peaceful purposes was one of the most astonishing scientific and technological achievements of the 20th century. It has benefitted medicine, security, and energy. Yet, after a few decades of rapid growth, investment in nuclear energy has stalled in many developed countries and nuclear energy now constitutes a meager 5% of global primary energy production.

In the 21st century the world faces the new challenge of drastically reducing emissions of greenhouse gases while simultaneously expanding access to energy and economic opportunity for billions of people. In the new MIT study presented here, we have examined this challenge in the electricity sector, which has been widely identified as an early candidate for deep decarbonization. In most regions, serving projected electricity load in 2050 while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require a mix of electrical generation assets that is different from the current system. While a variety of low- or zero-carbon technologies can be employed in various combinations, our analysis shows that excluding nuclear energy as an option may significantly increase the cost of achieving deep decarbonization targets. The least-cost portfolios in our analysis include an important share for nuclear, and the magnitude of this share grows substantially as the cost of nuclear energy drops. Despite this promise, prospects for the expansion of nuclear energy remain decidedly dim in many parts of the world. In this study, we have examined what is needed to reverse that trend. The salient findings will be presented in this talk.


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