Energy Research Opportunities Workshop

Sunday, March 1
8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Convention Center, Room 204A

Who Should Attend?
Graduate students and postdocs 

This is a one-day workshop for graduate students and postdocs that highlights the contributions physics-related research can make towards meeting the nation's energy needs in environmentally friendly ways. The workshop is aimed at young physicists who are concerned about the environment and who would like to find ways to use their scientific and quantitative skills to help meet the challenges that the world faces.

The workshop features plenary talks by leaders in the field of energy research. After an overview talk, there are talks on different cutting-edge research areas. Each talk is aimed at the level of physics graduate students who are not experts in energy research. The goal of the workshop is to provide information to physics graduate students and postdocs on how they can contribute to energy and environmental solutions while doing exciting scientific research.

There will also be an informal reception following the workshop for meeting participants sponsored by the Journal on Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

U.S. Department of Energy Wordmark Funding

A limited amount of travel expense assistance is available.

Application Information

Email your application to Sue Carter ( no later than January 30

  • PDF; maximum of 2 pages
  • Include your full name, institution, email address, current status (undergrad, graduate, or postdoc), and requested level of financial support
  • Three paragraphs describing why you want to attend, what you hope to gain from attending, and how you see yourself using the workshop information
  • Brief CV

There is no registration fee for the workshop, but you must apply by January 30 to be eligible to attend.

Registration Information

Registration is now closed.

Registration for the March Meeting is not required, but application and acceptance is required to attend this workshop.

Participants will be selected based on their answers to three questions on the registration form and their one-page CVs. Space is limited to 80 participants who have not attended previous workshops.

Application instructions are listed below.

Cost: Free

Energy Workshop Program

8:30 a.m. Welcome
Sue Carter
Plenary Session
8:40 a.m. Keynote: Energy in Buildings and the Power Grid
George Crabtree, Argonne National Laboratory
9:30 a.m. Coffee Break
Session I: Energy in Buildings
10:00 a.m. Transforming Urban Landscapes with Adaptive Materials: Smart Windows and Beyond
Sarbajit Banerjee, Texas A&M

Buildings consume an inordinately large amount of energy across the world and are often static structures that interact little with their outside environment. A recent report from the United Nations estimates that 30-40% of primary energy usage across the world occurs within buildings. In the United States, the Department of Energy estimates that 41% of the total energy consumption occurs within buildings. Much of the energy consumed within buildings goes towards space cooling, space heating, lighting, and ventilation. There is increasing emphasis worldwide on the development of components of the building envelope that adaptively respond to changes of climate. I will review advances in thermochromics, electrochromic, and PV-integrated fenestration with an emphasis on the underlying physics of these active structures. Electron correlation, electron-phonon coupling, polaronic motion—foundational and beloved concepts in condensed matter physics underlie the design of these adaptive materials. Beyond describing the fundamental physics and reviewing recent progress in the disciplines, I will make note of the regulatory environment and market considerations.
10:40 a.m. Renewable Approaches to Distributed Energy Storage
Eric Toberer, CSM

Development of a renewable, reliable electrical grid increasingly demands energy storage solutions. In this talk, we will explore routes to time-shift solar energy into the evening hours and how to convert this stored energy into electrical power.Techno-economic analysis suggests that thermal storage solutions and thermal-to-electric conversion are near-term solutions and will be the primary focus of this talk. Three key topics will be explored: First,the energy landscape for dispatchable electricity and a survey of possible solutions and their associated challenges. Second, we will explore how physicists can contribute to thermal energy storage challenges. Finally, we will look in depth at solid state thermal-to-electric conversion using thermoelectric materials.Emerging routes to control electron and phonon transport will be discussed and grand challenges that remain will be highlighted.
11:20 a.m. Panel: Challenges for Distributed Energy

Crabtree, Banerjee, Toberer, Carter (moderator)

11:50 a.m. Lunch
Session II: Energy Solutions for Transportation and the Power Grid
1:00 p.m. Materials for Li-ion Batteries
Gerbrand Ceder, MIT
2:00 p.m. Status and Prospects for CO2 Capture and Storage
Sally Benson, Stanford
2:40 p.m. Magnetism in the Energy Sector
Steve Constantinides, Arnold Magnetic

Energy is not only important to our quality of life, but to our very survival. Millennia ago, humankind depended upon fire for heat and light, for cooking food and for making articles of ceramic and of metal. We depend upon energy ever more greatly, but today it is made available in many ways, for example, fossil fuels for heating, transportation and generation of electricity and renewable electric generation via hydro, solar, biomass, and wind power. Electricity and magnetism are irrevocably linked—magnetism is more accurately called "electromagnetism". Some materials have useful (electro-)magnetic properties. What are these magnetic materials and what role do they play in the production, transmission and consumption of energy and how is that role changing?
 3:20 p.m. Material Challenges for Photovoltaics

B.J. Stanbery, Heliovolt

4:00 p.m. Panel: Material Challenges for the Energy Sector

Ceder, Benson, Stanbery, Constantinides, Ginley (moderator)

Session III: Career Opportunities
4:30 p.m. Panel: Career Opportunities in the Energy Field
5:00 p.m. Reception
Hosted by the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy

Program Committee

Reuben Collins
Colorado School of Mines

Dave Ginley

Sue Carter (Chair)
Univ. of California, Santa Cruz

Talat Rahman
Univ. of Central Florida

Ken Cole
APS Staff/Workshop Coordinator

2015 Energy Workshop - San Antonio

Photos courtesy of Joseph Ghobrial