I am the oldest member and former president of The Economic Round Table of Los Angeles. This is a group of prominent executives who meet once a week to discuss world affairs and economics. My talk on energy was an urgent warning that we need to do something now since nuclear, clean coal, solar, and all the other forms of energy take years to put into place. Also, well-meaning citizens are preventing us from using all the gas and petroleum resources we have on this continent.
– Henry C. Keck ’43 Th’44 Tu’44
I am retired but retain a keen interest in energy issues, particularly petroleum consumption. I have been writing on this subject for a local newspaper on occasion. I am convinced that major inroads on the problem await our adoption of electric motor drives for highway vehicles energized with rechargeable batteries off the grid. There have been multiple demonstrations that this is commercially ready and will yield 100-plus miles per gallon. I don’t think the hydrogen route will ever be commercialized. I think ethanol is ill suited as a major energy source. We should redirect our engineering resources to expand wind farms, cost-reduce solar systems, and clean up coal-fired steam generators.
– Richard D. Livingston ’43 Th’44
I am the CEO of Angeli Parvi, a nonprofit dedicated to entrepreneurship at Dartmouth. We just invested $200,000 in Advanced Transit Dynamics, which has developed a clever airfoil to attach on the rear of large trailers. This improves the aerodynamics sufficiently to improve gas mileage by approximately six percent. ATD’s founder is Andrew Smith Tu’07, and the two leading technologists are Thayer graduates Chuck Horrell ’00 Th’01 and Jeffrey Grossmann ’06 Th’07. Thus far execution has been excellent, and we can reasonably expect good financial and good environmental and energy performance.
– John Ballard ’55 Th’56 Tu’56
My main focus, vocationally and avocationally, has been on alternative energy since the late 1970s. The list of my activities includes: consulting to cities to install waste-to-energy plants, developing a 3-megawatt landfill gas power project, and writing several reports for the EPA’s Coalbed Methane Outreach Program (upgrading coal mine methane to pipeline standards, and capturing and using ventilation air methane for power production). Currently I am part of a startup renewable energy cooperative in Addison County, Vt., that hopes to establish a biodiesel production business. My wife and I burn wood from our woodlots – more than 10 cords a year – to heat our 4,600-square-foot home, and we installed two solar collectors for hot water.
– Peter Carothers ’57 Th’60 Tu’60
Our firm, Mohr, Davidow Ventures in Menlo Park, Calif., is a leading investors in alternative energy early stage companies. I am supporting environmental research, much of which focuses on climate change.
– William Davidow ’57 Th’58
I am an independent consultant who works with companies to help them be more sustainable. I deal primarily with the prudent use of energy. I also teach courses on sustainable business practices in the M.B.A. program at Ohio State; I started that in 2004 and had 15 students. This year I have 70 students. Topics covered include the status of fossil energy, alternate energy technologies, and climate change. Interest in these topics demonstrated by future business leaders is phenomenal.
– Neil Drobny ’62 Th’64
Until I retired three years ago, I worked for 38 years in the nuclear power industry – nuclear fuel manufacturing primarily – for both General Electric and Westinghouse Electric. I have not been involved other than reading the news about nuclear energy or energy in general since I retired.
– Rhod Hawk ’62
I am the general manager of Southwestern Drilling Co., a small, privately held company that leases equipment and crews to large and small oil and gas exploration companies. Our work has been concentrated on drilling for natural gas. I have 37 years experience in providing such services for the domestic oil and gas industry. As a result, I doubt very much whether Dartmouth would have any interest in hearing what I have to say, as most academicians believe I work in an industry that wants to intentionally ruin our world. They tend to believe the solution is a combination of riding bikes to work each day, having windmills on every square inch of the U.S., and using every available arable acre to grow corn for ethanol subsidized by my taxes. Surely I’d be dismissed as a polluting kook!
– Richard Zartler ’62 Th’63
The thermoeconomics course taught by Dean Myron Tribus during the mid-1960s – with its emphasis on balancing economic, energy, and resource factors in making decisions – was well ahead of its time. Would that all managers and engineers have had the course and lived up to its principles. The world would be a different place by now.
– Steve Brenner ’63 Th’64
Fafco, where I am president and CEO, is the oldest and largest solar thermal panel manufacturer in the U.S. Recently we introduced the next-generation, all-polymer solar hot water heating system, which we developed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy during the last 10 years. The neat thing about the recent introduction is that the entre system comes in a box, which can be shipped for $50 and which, when installed, will do up to half the hot water heating requirement.
– Freeman Ford ’63
In 1997 I bumped into an article in the London Financial Times that described the redistribution of the old Soviet oilfields. As a result I invested in Canadian oil companies that acquired obscure fields in Kazakhstan. For years then, I read everything I could find that hedged my risk in oil. Hubbert’s Peak by Ken Deffeyes opened a vista into a future with ever more expensive oil and seemed to vindicate my positions. I made a bundle. Now I follow the geophysicists who believe that oil production has or will soon have peaked forever. Were I younger I would be obsessive about inventing alternative energy sources. Hybrid fission/fusion?
America and the developed countries have designed a world for themselves in which oil is essential. Suburbs, interstates, air travel, fresh produce, human mobility, large warm houses in the north, and large cool houses in the south all require cheap energy. How do we fuel the transition from this lifestyle to a new lifestyle? Can Thayer create graduates who can engineer new global behaviors integrated with new machines?
– Bob Prescott ’64 Th’67
I am on the other end of the spectrum: The airplane I am working on (as systems engineer) has big huge engines that drive it to speeds way over 1,000 mph. The only energy savings thing about it is that instead of the 500- and 1,000-pound bombs that I used in combat, this plane drops 250-pound bombs. Supposedly they are so accurate that they do more damage than those old ones. In a fight with another aircraft, our F-22 supposedly can see them before being seen and launch a missile for a kill. This saves fuel because there’s no churning and burning dogfight.
– Ward Hindman ’65 Th’68
I’m CEO of a commercial plumbing and HVAC contractor in southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. We routinely deal with green buildings, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, building energy conservation, and system efficiencies. Our niche is in a micro-environment rather than big-picture systems. In the early 1980s I owned a solar installation company that failed when oil prices dropped in the mid-1980s. The foreign oil cartel always has the ability to bankrupt alternative energy sources by reducing the cost of oil, destroying their economic viability.
– Harry Santangelo ’66
I am working on an adsorbent to remove NOx, SOx, and Hg from stack gas in coal-fired power plants and other similar applications. Unfortunately, the market is not very strong and way too many utilities have jumped behind the CO2 hype and nearly everyone has forgotten about mercury. Of course they know that CO2 is an impossible task and probably just a natural cycle, but it does allow them to do nothing now.
– D. Dean Spatz ’66 Th’67
I spent the first decade after graduation working on major energy policy in Washington, D.C. Remember the Ford Administration Energy Policy Statement of 1976? Even back then it was obvious that action was urgently needed to avert a major crisis. The solution was to phase out fossil fuel consumption with a combination of conservation, renewable energy and nuclear power. Unfortunately, the political will and leadership to make these necessary changes was lacking. Consequently, we have spent the last 35 years going in the wrong direction. I hope it is not too late to make up for lost time. I am now a professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Maryland. I was inspired to go into this field by Prof. Graham Wallis.
– Richard A. Livingston ’68 Th’69
One start-up company in which I am involved, Sanderson Engine Co., is developing a new way to convert reciprocating motion to circular motion, which appears to have great benefit in improved efficiencies and emissions. The technology applies to all engines, pumps, and compressors, and one potential application would make the generation of wind power more practical. I am an investor in this initiative and have provided some consulting from time to time. They are currently in talks with some very well-known companies that have large applications for this technology.
– Bill Holekamp ’70
I’m working on a real estate development project, Forge Village in Westford, Mass. It’s a conversion of a group of mill buildings from industrial to residential use. The energy aspect of the project is twofold: the heating system will take heat out of canal water rather than burning fossil fuels, and the old hydroelectric generator will use water flow to generate electricity.
– Chris Yule ’70
We had discussions back in 1973 at Thayer bemoaning our dependence on imported oil and the growth rate of oil consumption. At that time we were advocating investment into fusion energy as the only real alternative, even to the point of a program not unlike that of John Kennedy’s landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Too bad it never happened. I would love to see something along this line: A truly “pollution free” solution (ignoring heat, but that’s another issue) with potential for unlimited energy supply. It beats all the others, including wind, solar, and geothermal!
– Jim Bartlett ’72 Th’73
A significant portion of my consulting business is directed at alternate energy sources and strategies, hydrogen systems, including vehicles, and CO2 sequestration.
– John Boyle ’73 Th’79
I am working with the Alberta Oil Sands, the largest reserve that exists in the world after Saudi Arabia. There are 177 billions barrels of oil that are recoverable using existing technology. There are issues with carbon capture and sequestration and with efficiencies.
– Dennis Dembicki ’73
I have had some interesting dialog with the California Coastal Commission (CCC) and Sierra Club regarding the effects that global warming is supposedly having on the location of the Mean High Tide Line (MHTL) in front of our resort, La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. Both want to take away our private beach on the theory that ocean waters are rising. There are many physical observations that contradict the Sierra Club’s theory. There is now a technology that allows determination of the MHTL by flying over an area with radar-sensing instruments. The resulting data can be converted to a line on a map that shows the MHTL at the time of the flyover. Readings are routinely taken twice a year, and there are now multiple years of data available. We are contemplating a project to determine our “ecological footprint” on our community.
– Bill Kellogg ’73
I work with a group within JPMorgan that invests in alternative energy as well as conventional electrical generation and oil and gas production. We are one of the largest tax equity investors in wind power with investments in more than 44 wind farms in the United States and the largest operating solar power plant built in the last 15 years. Climate change issues affect almost everything that we do.
– Geoffrey Bratton ’74 Th’78
I am a partner in Konover Construction Corp. in Farmington, Conn., and Columbia, Md. We are a full-service construction organization providing design/build, preconstruction, construction manager, general contracting, and owner’s rep services across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Our work-in-place volume for 2007 was about $350 million. Sustainable design practices are in high gear in the construction industry. Konover has two LEED “basic” projects that have achieved certification, and we are involved in several others large projects seeking “silver” certification. But many of our other projects incorporate sustainable design elements/practices without seeking certification.
– Simon Etzel ’74 Th’75
I do work on battery life optimization for cell phones at Motorola.
– Wayne Ballantyne ’77 Th’78
Since completing my graduate degree at MIT, I have been working at Chevron for the last 25-plus years, recently focusing on developing natural gas in West Africa for the North American and European markets. Since 2005 I have been involved with the Olokola Liquefied Natural Gas Project (OKLNG). OKLNG is joint venture enterprise that plans to build a multi-train liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on the coast of Nigeria and export LNG, propane and butane, and stabilized condensate (a light hydrocarbon liquid used as a refinery or petrochemical feedstock). The overall project will involve development of new offshore and onshore gas production fields, large-diameter gas transport pipelines, the LNG process plant, and a marine export terminal. OKLNG will build, own, and operate the LNG facilities, which will be located in an area of Nigeria that has no industrial infrastructure at present. It will be a multi-billion dollar investment. I was first assigned as the manager of planning and integration for the joint venture project team. Over the last few years I’ve served as Chevron’s OKLNG project coordinator, reviewing the work on concept selection, front-end engineering, contracting strategy, and development planning. My work on OKLNG has meant frequent travel between the U.S., London (where the project team has been located since late 2005), and Nigeria. As a result, earlier this year I relocated to London to be able to work more closely with the project team, communicate with the other shareholder companies, and reduce the amount of time I am spending on airplanes.
– Will Fraizer ’78
I work directly with energy issues on a global basis as president of the drilling and evaluation division of Halliburton. The fundamental issue is that worldwide energy demand is growing at a fast rate, supply is no longer able to keep pace, and there is not sufficient investment in new sources of conventional or alternative energy.
– Cris Gaut ’78
I work for Butler Manufacturing Co., a subsidiary of BlueScope Steel, an international steel solutions company, in its Kansas City, Mo., office. We make steel or metal buildings that are used for everything from the quintessential farms shop to warehouses to facilities like the new indoor track facility at Tufts University in Massachusetts. While mostly misunderstood and suffering from a “tin can” image, most people have overlooked some basic facts about steel buildings. Our LEED data sheets demonstrate that 30 to 75 percent of our raw material is comprised of recycled steel and our finished product is easily designed for deconstruction and recycling. Also, the company earned a Green Globe Award in 2006 for investing more than $20 million to recycle wastewater and use it in steel production, saving millions of gallons of fresh water daily in an area of Australia that has suffered from severe drought for more than 10 years.
– Ron Miller Th’79 Tu’79
ENERGY TO GO: Dave Wolff ’79 sells Proton Energy Systems electrolysis equipment for making hydrogen. Photo courtesy of Dave Wolff ’79
I sell on-site electrolysis equipment for Proton Energy Systems that is used to make hydrogen for applications such as hydrogen fueling.
– Dave Wolff ’79
As a professor of Earth and planetary science at Berkeley I have been working on climate change impacts on hydrologic systems. I am also currently the director of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research, where we do a lot of work on wood energy resources and forests as CO2 sinks, as well as on climate change effects on ecosystems and natural hazards (floods, avalanches, etc.).
– James Kirchner ’80 Th’83
I’m working at Burns & McDonnell, an international engineering, architecture, and consulting firm based in Kansas City, Mo. My consulting projects revolve around public “sustainability reporting,” helping clients (many of them in the utility field) explain their actions/plans related to energy. Here’s a random sample of what we’re working on across this industry: transmission (especially for wind), infrastructure development, pollution control (coal plants), greenhouse gas inventories, combined heat and power plants, energy performance contracts, exploring biofuels, wetlands design and rehabilitation, geological consulting, and green building (LEED) facilities for aviation and health care.
– Steve Murphy ’80
I run a strategic marketing team for Autodesk, which makes software used for designing buildings. Our most advanced software is in building information modeling (BIM), a category we pioneered in the early 2000s. BIM is an integrated workflow built on coordinated, reliable information about a project from design through construction and into operations. By adopting BIM, architects, engineers, contractors and owners can easily create coordinated, digital design information and documentation; use that information to accurately predict performance, appearance, and cost; and reliably deliver the project faster, more economically, and with reduced environmental impact. I am responsible for an initiative to support sustainable design through our software by making the environmental impacts of the building design more available to the designer earlier in the design process, when small design decisions can have a big impact.
– Richard Rundell ’80
My environmental engineering major continues to help in my work as an environmental litigator at the U.S. Department of Justice. We are seeing more and more climate change cases, including a recent U.S. Supreme Court case interpreting the Clean Air Act.
– Jim Payne ’81
I work for a consulting firm specializing in energy and environmental policy analysis, OnLocation Inc., in the Washington, D.C., area. We build, maintain, and run a variety of computer models to examine potential energy trends, impacts of proposed government policies, and the associated financial and economic impacts of energy-related investment decisions. Currently, the key areas of interest are potential climate change legislation to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, policies to reduce oil consumption and imports, and impacts of R&D programs. Our clients include the Department of Energy, EPA, several non-governmental organizations and foundations, and various corporations.
– Frances Wood ’81
This is what I am doing with respect to energy: founder and executive committee member of the New England Clean Energy Council; founder and president of the Massachusetts Hydrogen Coalition; co-host of the annual Conference on Clean Energy; president of Velerity Management Consulting, consultant to energy-related companies; and founder and CEO of Blue Sky Green Planet, a development-stage company focused on helping consumers reduce their carbon footprint.
– Brad Bradshaw ’82
In my work at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the federally designated metropolitan planning organization for the 5.5 million-plus population of the greater Philadelphia region, I am managing our newly established climate change initiatives program area. Our most recent task is to prepare a regional greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, working with the Environmental Protection Agency with the intent of using our work to develop a standard protocol for metropolitan areas to carry out such inventories. During the next year I’ll be leading the development of a regional GHG reduction action plan for greater Philadelphia. I’m also involved on the board of the region’s Smart Energy Initiative, which is working to build the green energy sector in our region. I’m speaking to planning graduate students at UPenn on these issues, as well as to the American Bar Assocation’s environmental group and to the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Professionals. I’m working with our transportation modelers and those putting together our 2035 long-range plan to evaluate the energy implications of various land use and transportation infrastructure scenarios. I also serve on the climate change/GHG-reduction task forces in two counties and one municipality (Haverford Township).
– Robert Graff ’82
I have recently become very involved in renewable energy through the installation of a photovoltaic solar system at my home in Kennebunk, Maine. What is unique about this system is that it not only produces electricity (rated at 4.4 kilowatts) but also captures the thermal energy absorbed by the photovoltaic panels. In fact, by cooling the array and removing heat energy from the PV solar cells, the electrical production is increased as the photovoltaic cells are cooled. It has been a very gratifying project. Not only do I receive electrical power from the sun, but I also get space heating in the winter with pre-heated fresh air and hot water heating. In the summer my pool is now using the sun to extend the season rather than propane. My home is one of six test locations around the country using this system. It is my firm belief that distributed energy production is a significant part of the solution to the global energy problem. This project has been a lot of fun, as I handled most of the installation myself with some help from some expert roofers and a plumber. My array was the first in my local power district to tie into the grid, which was an education in itself for the local power company.
– Art LeBlanc ’82 Th’84
As a private equity investor since 1990, I have had the opportunity to be involved with investments in a number of exciting alternative energy technology companies, including fuel cells, advanced batteries, solar cells, superconducting magnetic energy storage rings, advanced flywheels, lighting ballast technologies, and energy service companies. I have also invested in process software to manage petrochemical plants to make them run more efficiently. I recently invested in an energy trading and risk management company called Allegro that helps large users of energy manage their energy costs and physical inventory of energy products. For the last eight years I have been on the board of Veeco Instruments, a leading manufacturer of a wide range of process equipment used in the manufacture of solar cells and LEDs. As the world moves toward LEDs for general lighting applications, Veeco will be at the forefront of manufacturing technology. I recently started a new private equity firm called North Bridge Growth Equity, which focuses on investing in private companies in technology and technology-enabled industries, including energy-efficient technology. We are affiliated with North Bridge Venture Partners, a leading early-stage venture capital fund. One of North Bridge Venture Partners’ most interesting investments is an advanced battery company called A123, which uses nanotechnology to create the next generation of lithium ion technology. Applications include hybrid vehicles, power tools, aviation, backup power to replace lead acid, and the military. It is an indisputable fact that the United States currently leads the world in developing green technologies and will continue to do so into the indefinite future. This fact is grounded in both the ingenuity and profit motive of American business. We are not going to solve the environmental and energy challenges of the next 50 years by nonsensical initiatives such as carbon offsets. Rather, we are going to continue to raise the standard of living of all people on earth by developing innovative technologies that increase energy efficiency, decrease the need for oil, and create less pollution. I hope I can play a small part in that ongoing process.
– Doug Kingsley ’84, Th’85
I am president of Accuware, a software development company with five employees and additional contractors overseas. We have developed a software solution for EPV Solar to interface its solar panel testing equipment with its packaging/inventory areas. This is an improvement in their process management to improve quality and accuracy in what they produce for panels.
– Steve Morris ’84 Th’85
I am the director of Resource Systems Group‘s environmental services division, based in White River Junction, Vt. We conduct noise-impact studies for wind farms and biomass energy plants and air pollution studies for biomass energy facilities, and we calculate the air emissions offsets related to renewable energy. An example of a local project we are working on is the air pollution permit for a wood pellet boiler at Dartmouth’s graduate student housing project in Sachem Village. We also did the permitting work for Hanover high and middle schools’ wood chip boilers. These biomass projects are very satisfying in that they have close to net-zero greenhouse gas impacts, rely on a local and renewable fuel source, and save money-especially in these times of high oil prices.
– Kenneth Kaliski ’85
I’ve done legal work for a gas-fired 720-megawatt energy plant in New Hampshire (I deal with air regulations and permit requirements) and work with a team of lawyers that is doing the legal work for several wind farm projects.
– Lisa Wade ’85
I am working with a Hong Kong-based Asian private equity fund, Olympus Capital, to invest capital in the environmental sectors in India. This includes renewables, of which biomass and small hydro, followed by wind, offer most promise. Energy efficiency, smart lighting and metering would also be included, though there are few opportunities in India to find the right platforms at this time.
– Himraj Dang ’89 Th’89
I am currently managing assets for New Energy Capital, a private equity firm in Hanover that develops, owns, and operates renewable energy projects. I am currently managing an 18-megawatt biomass power plant in Maine and three 2-megawatt cogeneration facilities for a commercial food processor with locations in Massachusetts and California. Our areas of focus for new project development include biomass to power, biofuels, cogeneration, waste to energy, and solar thermal power generation. Previously I worked for Northern Power Systems, a contractor in Waitsfield, Vt., that designs and builds on-site power systems in addition to producing a 100-kilowatt wind turbine for small wind applications. While there I developed and managed projects ranging from remote power systems in Antarctica for solar-powered runway lighting and Nuclear Test Ban Treaty monitoring to a complete power generation and 4,160-volt distribution system for the Island of Mohegan, Maine. In 1999 I helped to create the distributed generation group at Northern Power Systems to develop turnkey cogeneration and critical load support systems for grid-connected commercial and industrial customers. I have worked on projects ranging from 30-kilowatt to 30-megawatt utilizing solar power, microturbines, fuel cells, reciprocating engine gensets, and combustion turbines.
– Jim McNamara Th’89
I have just started as technical director of the Swiss watch firm IWC (which was founded by an American engineer in 1868) in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. We are the first watch manufacturer who tries to offset its CO2-footprint.
– Olaf Eichstädt ’90
I am an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Akron working on National Science Foundation-sponsored research involving thermophotovoltaic energy conversion. The devices we are building convert thermal energy into electricity using rare earth oxide fiber structures. We are developing an understanding of the effects of microstructure (crystal structure, grain size, defect density) and macrostructure (fiber diameter, fiber packing) on the narrow band emission of these materials. Our hypothesis was that nanofibers-based emitters should be more efficient than other forms. We have shown that this hypothesis was correct. We are now working on developing prototype devices. We hope that someday these devices could recover 10 percent of the wasted energy in every vehicle, translating to lots and lots of gasoline savings – 14 billion gallons in the U.S. alone.
– Ed Evans ’91
Until recently I worked for General Mills, and I now work for Campbell Soup. As we talk about corporate social responsibility and sustainability, energy and carbon footprints are certainly part of the discussion. In addition, the impact energy prices and biofuels production is having on food prices is pretty dramatic. Since diesel fuel prices have skyrocketed, and therefore it has become far more expensive to ship raw materials and finished products between our facilities and to our customers, we have had to consider raising the price of our products to compensate.
– Brett Buatti ’92 Th’94
My entire career since graduating in 1992 has been in energy. I am currently a principal with U.S. Renewables Group, one of the only (for the moment) private equity firms in the United States focused exclusively on investments in assets in the renewable energy sector.
– Scott Gardner ’92
I am on a volunteer committee for the City of Solana Beach, Calif., called the Clean and Green Committee. We are developing a climate action plan right now, which is a blueprint for the city, based on a mayor’s agreement with 12 objectives that the city signed onto in 2007.
– Annie Kaskade ’92
I work for Ballard Power Systems in Burnaby, British Columbia, which develops proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells for use in a variety of power applications. PEM fuel cells produce electricity from hydrogen fuel and have high efficiency and no emissions. Most notably, we are working together with Ford and Daimler on their fuel cell vehicle programs. My husband and I are also quite focused on conservation at home. Last September, we installed two kilowatts of photovoltaic panels on our roof, and we expect to generate 30 to 40 percent of our annual electricity needs via the sun. I was president of the Dartmouth solar racing team for a few years, so it feels great to be harnessing the sun yet again on a daily basis.
– Laura Iwan ’93 Th’94
After leaving Dartmouth, I pursued an international master’s degree at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden in sustainable energy engineering with a focus on sustainable power generation. I’m now completing this degree by working on my master’s thesis at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory out in Colorado. I have just started a six-month thesis project where I am working on a wind-to-hydrogen project, using wind (and photovoltaic solar) electricity to produce hydrogen through electrolysis. I am specifically working on a cost analysis sub-project, but I am taking part in a variety of areas and learning a lot about the integration issues of renewable energies and hydrogen production.
– Genevieve Saur ’93
I’m the chair of the Concord (Mass.) Comprehensive Sustainable Energy Committee. We’re working to promote energy conservation and efficiency as well as renewable energy in the town for residential, commercial, and municipal sectors. Right now we’re focusing on municipal issues because we have a budget for town buildings and there are fewer decision makers involved. I’m also leading a high-profile team of local politicians and notables in something called the Low Carbon Diet, which is run by the Mass Climate Action Network.
– Brian Crounse ’94 Th’95
I am a consultant with IBM and I am involved with green supply-chain solutions. IBM research developed a carbon analyzer tool. We modified it for a heavy equipment manufacturer’s forest products division. The tool can measure the carbon emissions created in the supply chain. Currently we can assess inbound and outbound transportation, and it will be able to assess facility carbon creation. The tool also allows scenario analysis to understand how you can decrease carbon emissions while also calculating transportation and inventory metrics. This allows trade-off analysis of carbon, inventory turns and cost, transportation cost and frequencies, service level agreements, and packaging costs.
– Chad Boucher ’95 Th’96
I am a research engineering specialist with ExxonMobil Upstream Research Co. in Houston, Texas. I work at ExxonMobil R&D, in particular the offshore and Arctic division. My previous role was metocean (meteorological and oceanographic criteria) team leader, and now I am leading a research project in the Arctic section.
– Oleg Esenkov Th’95
BRIGHT FUTURE: Michael Müller Th’95 is senior manager of project procurement for RWE, which is planning to build the world’s first zero-CO2 power plant. Photo courtesy of Michael Müller Th’95
I am responsible for the procurement of new power plant projects at RWE Power in Essen, Germany. We are currently facing an investment program of 9 billion Euros until 2014. The investment program includes: one 2,100-megawatt lignite, one 800-megawatt combined cycle gas turbine, and two 1,600-megawatt hard coal fired power plants with the most advanced efficiency; the world’s first zero-CO2 power plant (integrated coal gasification and carbon capture and storage); fluidized bed drying for increased efficiency of future lignite power plants; a CO2 scrubbing prototype; and clean development programs.
– Michael Müller Th’95
My wife, Kirsten Glass ’95, a large-animal veterinarian in Lyme, N.H., just finished sponsoring a B.E. project at Thayer to make her truck more efficient and environmentally friendly.
– Brian Spence ’95 Th’96
I’m working as a research analyst for a boutique investment bank in Atlanta. I see a lot of interesting ideas in the energy space, ranging from hydrocarbon sources such as natural gas, oil, and coal-bed methane to alternatives such as wind projects. The difficulty in finding new sources – along with global geopolitical issues and the need for the U.S. to become more self-sufficient and greener at the same time – have brought the U.S. energy market back to life in the last few years following decades of underinvestment.
– Patrick Orie ’96
I work for a company, Bensonwood Homes, that designs and builds timber frames. Working with the Open Prototype Initiative, we are building a net-zero house.
– Christopher Carbone ’97 Th’99
I work for the venture capital team at GE focused on the energy and water markets. We are solely focused on investing for GE in early-stage companies in the renewable energy, energy efficiency, water technologies, and the traditional energy markets (oil and gas, energy generation, carbon capture).
– Andrew Lackner ’97 Th’99
I work for Tesla Motors. We are making a high-performance electric sportscar. Two other Dartmouth alums work here, too: Krispin Leydon ’99 Th’01 and Diarmuid O’Connell ’86.
– Matt Senesky ’98 Th’99
I do Fluent CFD simulation work for Fuel Cell Energy in Danbury, Conn. We build 1- to 3-megawatt molten carbonate fuel cell power plants. We also do solid oxide fuel cell research. I do gas flow simulations to support both the research and manufacturing groups in the company.
– Joe McInerney Th’99
I’m a research assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire environmental research group. We are working on sustainability in the highway environment, which focuses on conserving energy, water, and materials while reducing emissions into the environment.
– Jeffrey Melton Th’99
As an analyst at Forrester Research, I spend a majority of my time studying the major trends and drivers of new technology adoption. I focus most of my research on software applications that support product development. Tools that support better energy-efficient or environmentally compliant decision making are definitely a hot area right now. Since a large percentage of a product’s energy performance is committed during the concept and design stages of a product’s life cycle, these types of applications can help designers make a big difference in terms of a product’s environmental impact once its being used in the marketplace.
– Roy Wildeman ’99 Th’99
I’m leading the product development at a company called Advanced Transit Dynamics. We are working on bringing to market products to make the world’s trucking fleets more fuel-efficient. Our CEO is Andrew Smith Tu’07, and we have Jeff Grossmann ’06 Th’07 working with us as well.
– Chuck Horrell ’00 Th’01
I’m a director for the Technology Transition Corp., which manages the National Hydrogen Association and the Carbon Management Council. Separate from my day job, I’ve helped to put together a team that will be competing to win the four-person division of the Race Across America. We race this June to bring attention to alternative modes of transportation and carbon-neutral choices. Our goal is to make it from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md., in under seven days of 24/7 riding and get as many people as we can to pledge to live carbon-free during the week that we race.
– Patrick Serfass ’00
I recently defended my Ph.D. thesis on infrastructure requirements and impacts for ethanol and hydrogen at Carnegie Mellon. My most interesting project involved modeling ethanol production and distribution in the U.S. The goal was to figure out where it should go, how much it would cost, and emissions from transportation in an optimal scenario. The project showed that ethanol should be used regionally, near where it is produced. High blends (E85 as opposed to E10) should be sold in order to maximize regional use. If ethanol is produced in the midwest and shipped for use in California (this is the case for much of our current production), there are no economic or environmental benefits from using ethanol instead of gasoline.
– Heather Wakeley ’00 Th’02
Before going to graduate school in architecture, I worked for Redefining Progress on ecological footprint modeling (which seems largely driven by the carbon cycle and fossil fuel consumption), and for Energy Nevada and Nordic Windpower (related enterprises developing utility-scale wind power). I am currently finishing my master’s degree in architecture at UC Berkeley, where I am a teaching assistant for an energy and environment course. My design thesis is partly about importing resource footprint into urban areas through facade-implemented growing of food and biomass.
– Christian Cutul ’01
I work on energy conservation for the Harvard Green Campus Initiative. I manage new construction services, a group that works with new construction and renovation projects at Harvard. We review designs, work with design teams to incorporate green features, and manage the LEED certification process.
– Jesse Foote ’01 Th’02
I am an assistant professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and am involved in research into energy storage for renewables, as well as stand-alone solar and wind installations. I also am involved with an entrepreneurial research project in collaboration with two Ph.D. students at Thayer, Dax Kepshire Th’06 and Ben Bollinger ’04 Th’04. This project, which is being developed through the start-up company SustainX, involves a new method of compressed air energy storage. I will be spending six weeks this summer at Hanover working on this research with Dax and Ben.
– Troy McBride Th’01
I’m working now as a project coordinator for Lifewater International. We do international water development by training indigenous organizations in shallow well drilling, pump repair, sand filter construction, latrine design and promotion, and hygiene education. I’m the manager for all work in Zambia and Mozambique. I got a master’s from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo last year and have been simultaneously working for Lifewater since July 2005. I hope that my research can be a foundation for biodiesel fuel production from wastewater treatment algae. The research I did showed very positive results in terms of potential lipid oil yields, and since the main food source for the algae is human and animal waste, it’s really a win-win situation. It’s going to be published, I hope, in a special renewable energy issue of the Journal of Environmental Engineering.
– Adam Feffer ’02 Th’03
My new company, VisibleEnergy, will provide residential power consumers with an energy-monitoring device and an online community. The monitoring device will deliver a low-cost data feed from the consumer’s electricity meter to the VisibleEnergy data processing center. Our website will translate usage into meaningful terms, allow users to compare their consumption with similar homes, and provide tailored recommendations for cost and energy savings. Our team (my wife, Sarah Kate Fishback ’02, and I) recently won the $5,000 top prize in the consumer division of the Duke Startup Competition.
– Luke Fishback ’02 Th’03
I volunteer to help run an energy conservation program in our elementary school in Rockville, Md. It is done by fifth-grade students, and I am their leader. We do an energy patrol, celebrate the classrooms that conserve the most, and study energy issues, sources, and conservation benefits. Lots of success.
– Katya Kovalskaia Th’02
I work as a consulting engineer for the energy and resources team of the Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit that does consulting and research work in all aspects of energy and resources. I have only been with RMI for a few months (I was doing energy analysis for green building design for an HVAC firm prior to this), and am currently working on a research project called Next Generation Utility, which looks at the need for a new electric utility paradigm.
– Kendra Tupper ’02 Th’03
I joined ExxonMobil five years ago after receiving my degree at Thayer. Last fall I transferred to a position in Doha, Qatar, within our liquefied natural gas (LNG) business. We work on the global development of marketing plans to monetize natural gas reserves, as well as day-to-day marketing of associated products and related businesses. I am currently living and working in Qatar, the world’s fastest growing economy, working on the world’s largest and most technically complex natural gas projects. We are (probably) in the “golden age of natural gas,” as once-regional markets for domestic pipeline natural gas become interlinked globally by the emergence of a growing LNG business. The use of natural gas as a fuel, particularly in power generation, is important component within plans that consider the use of cleaner burning fuels as a way to reduce emissions, including CO2. The growth of the LNG business makes this increasingly more possible across the globe.
– Garth Castren Th’03
After Thayer I got my master’s in technology and policy, and civil and environmental engineering at MIT. There I worked on modeling renewable energy technologies (wind and solar specifically) and economic policies (renewable energy portfolio standards, tax subsidies, guaranteed government buy backs) for the MIT Climate Change modeling research program. I am currently teaching math and science in a public school in New York City and often include energy topics in my courses. I have offered a renewable energy elective and a course on energy use and the environment.
– Alan Cheng ’03 Th’03
I am working on an energy problem as part of my thesis here at Stanford (I graduate from the master’s program in June). I have teamed up with a fellow product design grad student and together we are exploring the world of solar from new perspectives. What if everyone, even renters, could own small-scale solar and do their part? We have been researching perceptions around energy and environmentalism and have found an opportunity to create products in the solar sector that allow young, environmentally conscious people to express their individuality and empower optimism around energy choices. We aren’t trying to increase solar efficiency or reach grid parity, instead we’re trying to celebrate the possibilities of solar.
– Emilie Fetscher ’03 Th’04
I work at SunPower Corp. doing design engineering for domestic systems in California and New Jersey and international in Italy and Korea. The sun is so hot right now! Being in the renewables market, it is interesting to see how little the environment is involved in the day-to-day working life. I have overheard many say how we are in competition with wind, and comments like this make me realize how large a role policy has in creating this new marketplace for all sustainable technologies to exist. We’ve just moved into an old Ford factory in Richmond, Calif., and the company is about to install one megawatt of solar on its rooftop to become off-grid. Taking on a vertically integrated approach, the company designs and manufactures the solar panels, and designs and installs arrays. Making the simple design/build process more convoluted is the concept of financing, as many large power plant systems are priced such that outside financiers purchase and sell solar electricity to the customer. In trying to balance the multi-variable design and sales constraints, I often think back to my operations research class, and realize that behind this multivariable system of equations, I am offsetting carbon each time I turn on my computer.
– Adam Han ’03 Th’04
For two years I was working at a consulting firm within their energy and environment business consulting group. There we did a lot of work with utilities, ranging from energy sources (coal, gas, etc.) to transmission lines to distribution networks. A bit of work I did was in the photovoltaic and wind arena. For the past year I’ve been working at a private equity fund on their U.S. and natural resources private equity team. Although I’ve spent the bulk of my time working on more general private equity managers, I’ve had some exposure with natural resources managers ranging from oil and gas to clean tech.
– Ethan Levine ’03 Th’05
I work for a management consulting firm in Atlanta, Ga., and we do about 80 percent of our work with energy clients, mainly large utilities and government entities. I’ve been involved in the energy industry in an organization redesign for the country’s largest state power authority, new generation development and resource planning for a top-ten utility, and I authored a white paper on carbon capture and storage.
– Bob Neill ’03
I’m doing doctoral work in the natural resources and earth system science program and part of the ocean process analysis laboratory at the Earth, Oceans and Space Institute at the University of New Hampshire. I hope to be able to use my research to help site offshore wind farms. I work on a sensor called SeaWinds on the QuikSCAT satellite. This instrument is called a scatterometer and is basically a space-borne radar that measures backscatter, the signals reflected off centimeter-scale waves on the ocean surface. These little waves are generally caused by wind, so the strength of the backscatter signal can be interpreted through a geophysical model function to derive wind speed and direction. I’m still in the evaluation phase, but if I have good results, I’ll begin developing a high resolution wind climatology with a web-based interface. This would provide useful information for companies and communities interested in the offshore potential of their area. Some of the major wind energy companies in Europe already use satellite data for siting purposes, and one (Garrad Hassan) has shown interest in my work. Additionally, the nine-year record of data from QuikSCAT means that this research might have additional climate change-related impacts – I could attempt to look for any significant differences between the overall wind patterns in 1999-2000 vs. those in 2007-2008, for instance.
– Amanda Plagge ’03 Th’04
I’m a second-year Ph.D. student at Purdue University and part of a research group that is working on GaN-based white LEDs. The project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its solid-state lighting initiative. My part of the research group does the characterization work, which is mainly transmission electron microscopy.
– Patrick Cantwell ’04
I’m a student at MIT, and my research is on how renewable generators fit into modern electricity markets. I’m writing a thesis on how different ways of pricing electricity would change revenues of renewable generators, and I also do some work in quantifying the avoided emissions that can be attributed to new renewable generators or energy efficiency projects. We start with data that the EPA collects for its Continuous Emissions Monitoring system. They measure the CO2, SO2, and NOx coming out of every electricity generation unit in the country by hour. We want to figure out which of those plants are “on the margin” – for example, if someone turns on or off an air conditioner or we install some wind generation, which fossil generators will reduce their output in response. We have a simple program that identifies those generators for each hour (currently we do it from 1999 to 2006) and we take an average of their emission rates as the system’s marginal emission rate for that hour. Then we can compare that emission rate to historical wind speeds by hour for any site. Basically we are answering the question, “If we built a wind turbine in this location in 1999, how much CO2, SO2, and NOx would have been saved?” The main insight/surprise that we have had is that the hour-by-hour operation of the power system is so complex that looking at aggregate numbers (such as annual emissions or renewable generation) can give misleading results. We found that emissions rates on the margin (i.e., from the most expensive plants that are operating at any instant) are much more variable and on average larger than average emission rates; and emissions have seasonal and daily patterns, so it is important to see how they line up with hourly wind speeds or sunniness. The work I have been doing with a research group includes applying this to some test cases in New England. The project I’ve been doing on my own is “Effects of Real-Time Electricity Pricing on Renewable Revenues and System Emissions.” Real-time pricing (RTP) would mean that the price of electricity that you and I pay would vary by hour, depending on how expensive it is to generate in real time (we would have a meter in our house to give us the price). I modeled the effect that this would have on solar and wind generators by looking at how wind speeds and solar radiation line up (hour-by-hour) with price changes due to RTP. We found that the effect isn’t much different than the effect on the average fossil generator (for the four New England test cases I considered). The price for electricity and the wind/solar generation are more random, hour-by-hour, than I expected.
– J.P. Connolly ’04 Th’04
I work for Northern Power in Barre, Vt., which designs and builds wind turbines. Right now we are selling a 100-kilowatt wind turbine and will be producing a 2.2-megawatt turbine in one to two years. The wind market in the U.S. is just starting to develop and grow. Over the next few years I believe we’ll see large increases in wind farms across the country. My job focuses on the power conversion from the wind turbines rotor to grid. Efficiency is key in this area, since typical wind turbine applications stack up turbines and that can eventually lead to large power losses. The “lossiest” components in the converter are typically the magnetics and switches. My design focus is on the magnetics that are used to boost the voltage to a level needed for the grid. To figure out what design changes are worthwhile in the magnetics, we often attach an effective initial cost to any changes to see what the upfront financial cost is and when it would be paid back.
– Magdalena Dale Th’05
I have been working for GE Energy for the last two years, on both the gas turbine compressor and wind turbine aerodynamics teams. I had the pleasure of working with several Thayer grads, including Gunnar Siden Th’85, Dale Apgar ’04 Th’05, and Ryan Conger ’05. Most of my work focused on building 2-D or 3-D computational fluid dynamic models. Efforts for the wind team dealt with enhancing prediction capability to improve blade acoustics and general performance. Recently, I focused on power plant mechanical control upgrades to improve optimization and control. I just completed a large upgrade on one of the world’s largest geothermal power plants in Mexico. I just took a leave of absence from the company to explore other avenues of energy and climate change and complete my master’s in mechanical engineering.
– Eric Fitz Th’05
I recently graduated from Stanford with a master’s in civil and environmental engineering, focusing on atmosphere/energy issues. I am now working at an energy engineering/consulting firm in San Francisco. My work focuses on feasibility studies, project scoping, and implementation support for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Recently I have also been working on calculating greenhouse gas emissions reduction potential for renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects.
– Tia Hansen ’05
I work for DC Energy along with other Dartmouth engineers Steven Hsu ’01 Th’02, Lauren Cecere ’06, and Albert Kang ’06. We trade in the energy markets, with our key focus on the deregulated electricity markets, but also in natural gas. Our activities aid in driving pricing efficiencies for producers and users of power alike. The markets provide a means for aiding in economic dispatch of generation units to meet the demand of the system across the transmission grid.
– Daniel Hassouni ’05 Th’05
I’m a project manager for Tamarack Energy, a developer of renewable energy projects, in Essex, Conn. Tamarack primarily focuses on developing utility-scale biomass (clean waste wood) power plants. We are working on several such projects on the East Coast. Clean waste wood is a carbon-neutral (or carbon negative), renewable, low-cost, and environmentally friendly source of power. We are also working on several wind projects in northern New England.
– Cliff Orvedal ’05
I am currently working in the alternative energy field, doing research and development for Mascoma Corp. in Lebanon, N.H., along with a number of other Dartmouth and Thayer School alumni. My work focuses on feedstock pretreatment for the production of cellulosic ethanol.
– Matt Richards ’05
I’m currently in the first year of my master’s at the University of Texas in Austin – my graduate research is actually on wind turbine control systems. I’m also interning this summer in GE’s Power Systems group in Schenectady, N.Y., working on a study of high wind and solar penetration in the western U.S.
– Dave Burnham ’06
I work at Manasc Isaac Architects, which is located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. My work is funded by a provincial agency (Alberta Ingenuity) that has a mandate to increase the amount of R&D in our province’s economy. I am conducting research with the intent of improving buildings that, among other things, use daylight and energy efficiently. I’m looking at how engineering analysis can be integrated into the architectural design process to achieve this end. I’m learning how to use and evaluate the widely disparate array of software packages available to facilitate the analysis of a building’s energy consumption. I’m also familiarizing myself with the design process of a sustainable building – which differs from the design of a standard building, primarily in the degree of coordination between members of the design team – to see how these tools can be integrated into that process. I’ve done a number of studies for several buildings that have been successfully used to convince clients of the benefits of design features that would optimize the amount of natural light in a space.
– Josh Kjenner Th’06
I work for Rumsey Engineers in Oakland, Calif. We design HVAC systems for energy-efficient buildings. We also serve as consultants to PG&E’s Savings By Design Program, which offers incentives for high-tech facilities that incorporate energy-efficient measures into their design. We perform the energy analysis for this program. The incentives are awarded based on the calculated energy savings.
– Hillary Price Th’07
KINGS OF THE ROAD: Advanced Transit Dynamics’ TrailerTail® makes trucks more aerodynamic. The design team, from left, Jeff Grossman ’06, Chuck Horrell ’00 Th’01, and co-founder and CEO Andrew Smith Tu’07, display a prototype they worked on in Thayer’s machine shop. Photo courtesy of Chuck Horrell ’00 Th’01
For more photos, visit our Alumni and Energy Technologies and Sustainability pages on Flickr.