Wei Wei

Wei Wei is a Ph.D. candidate in the Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Transportation at MIT. She received her M.S. in Transportation Engineering from MIT in 2017 and her B.Eng. in Engineering Systems and Design from Singapore University of Technology and Design in 2015, with a focus on Economics and Operations Research. Her research uses high-resolution travel data to inform vehicle technology choices and policy designs to support alternative-fuel vehicle adoption.

Contact: wwei at mit dot edu


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Ava Waitz

Ava Waitz works at Trancik Lab through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. She is considering majors in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Material Science Engineering. Her research contributes to life cycle analysis of current energy technologies. Specifically she is focusing on fugitive methane emissions along the natural gas supply chain.

Contact: avawaitz at mit dot edu

Nicholas Pape

Nicholas Pape is an undergraduate student at MIT majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences and Political Science. His research is focused on analyzing the gaps in the wind and solar resources where energy storage technologies are needed as backing mechanisms for wind and solar energy shortages.

Contact: npape at mit dot edu

Dr. Micah Ziegler

Micah S. Ziegler is a postdoctoral associate at the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS). His research focuses on evaluating emerging and established energy technologies. Micah earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.S. in Chemistry from Yale University, with an emphasis on energy and environmental applications. In between his studies, he worked in the Climate and Energy Program at the World Resources Institute (WRI). At WRI, he explored how to improve mutual trust and confidence among parties developing international climate change policy and researched carbon dioxide capture and storage, electricity transmission, and international technology policy. Micah was also a Luce Scholar assigned to the Business Environment Council in Hong Kong, where he helped advise businesses on how to measure and manage their environmental sustainability. He has studied environmental issues in Ecuador and interned for the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and The Nature Conservancy.

Contact: zieglerm at mit dot edu

Hendrik Clausdeinken

Hendrik Clausdeinken was a visiting graduate researcher at the Institute for Data, Systems and Society (IDSS) at MIT. He is pursuing his M.S. in Energy Science and Technology at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration from RWTH Aachen University, Germany. Before starting his M.S., Hendrik worked for BASF’s business development in Hongkong and with The Boston Consulting Group on a change project at a big German utility. His research focuses techno-economic modeling of energy storage technologies to define cost performance targets for their future deployment in European markets. He is a recipient of scholarships by the German Academic Foundation and the Dr. Peter Schaefer Sustainability Program.

Contact: hclausd at mit dot edu

Dr. Geoffrey Supran

Geoffrey Supran is a postdoctoral associate working with Prof. Jessika Trancik at the Institute for Data, Systems and Society at MIT. He is also a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Naomi Oreskes in the Department of History of Science at Harvard University. He received his Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering at MIT. He also received an MIT Graduate Certificate in Science, Technology and Policy for research assessing the lifecycle costs and carbon emissions of cars against targets for climate change mitigation. As an undergraduate, Geoffrey read Natural Sciences (physics) at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. Geoffrey helped lead the MIT hub of an international fossil fuel divestment movement, which precipitated MIT’s first Institute climate action plan.

Contact: gjsupran at mit dot edu

Dr. Sankaran Ramakrishnan

Sankaran Ramakrishnan is a postdoctoral associate at the Institute for Data, Systems and Society (IDSS) at MIT. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University for his research in efficiency maximization of energy conversion systems through reduction in thermodynamic irreversibility. Before joining MIT, he was the chief researcher at OceanLab (now Apium Inc.), a startup developing swarm robotics technology. There his work was on controlling groups of robots through information-sharing modeled on energy dissipation. His research interests are in understanding how and what information exchanged/gathered in distributed energy systems could result in system-wide reduction in energy consumption, emissions, and optimize energy storage. 

Contact: sankara at mit dot edu

Amy Kaczur

Amy Kaczur is our group administrator at the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. Prior to coming to MIT in January 2017, she worked administratively in education, the visual arts, and culinary industries. Her accomplishments include: helped to achieve Green Business Certification for US Foods, Los Angeles; cooperatively established processes and advocacy in the newly created Dean of Faculty’s office at School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (now part of Tufts University); and developed media workshops and technical demonstrations at University of California, Irvine. In her free time, Amy also produces video art grounded in environmental concerns. Amy is a graduate of Tufts University and UC, Irvine.

Contact: akaczur at mit dot edu

MRS abstract

Goksin Kavlak presents at the 2014 Materials Research Society Fall Meeting on December 3rd, 2014, at Symposium FF: Materials as Tools for Sustainability http://www.mrs.org/fall-2014-program-ff/


Metals Production Requirements for Large-Scale Photovoltaics Deployment

Goksin Kavlak1, James McNerney1, Robert L. Jaffe2,3, Jessika E. Trancik1,4

  1. Engineering Systems Division, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA;
  2. Center for Theoretical Physics, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA;
  3. Department of Physics, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA;
  4. Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

Energy scenarios with aggressive carbon reduction goals have projected the increasing adoption of photovoltaics (PV) in future years. This rapid deployment of PV would require growth in the supply of materials that are used to manufacture these technologies. In this work, we estimate the growth rates of global metals production that would be needed to meet PV deployment targets put forward in aggressive low-carbon energy scenarios. We then compare the required growth rates to historical production trends for a large set of metals. We find that if crystalline silicon PV provides 25% of the electricity generation in 2030, the required growth in silicon production does not exceed 5% per year even at current material intensities. This growth rate is within the range of historical rates for metals production. In contrast, if cadmium telluride PV provides more than 1% of the projected electricity generation in 2030, tellurium production would need to grow at unprecedented rates unless there are dramatic decreases in material intensity.

Nora Xu

Nora Xu is a graduate student in the Technology and Policy Program at MIT. She worked with the Trancik Lab from 2013-2014. She graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Geosciences and subsequently worked as an investment analyst at DC Energy focusing on electricity trading in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator market. She is a 2013-14 recipient of the Eni-MIT Energy Fellowship.

Contact: noraxu at mit dot edu

Dr. Ajinkya Kamat

Ajinkya Shrish Kamat is a postdoctoral associate at the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) at MIT. His research mainly centers on understanding how technology innovation capabilities are built, in industry and in higher education & research institutions, how these capabilities contribute to economic growth and development, and their policy implications. At IDSS, Ajinkya’s research focuses specifically on modeling energy technology systems to inform decarbonization efforts. Before joining MIT, Ajinkya was a postdoctoral research fellow jointly at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs of Harvard Kennedy School and at the Harvard’s Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Ajinkya received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Virginia, M.Sc. in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, India, and B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Mumbai, India.

contact: askamat at mit dot edu

Dr. Juhyun (Joe) Song

Juhyun (Joe) Song was a graduate student in a combined PhD-MBA program at MIT. He defended his PhD thesis in Department of Chemical Engineering on mathematical modeling of electrochemical energy systems. For the MBA portion, Juhyun studied the socioeconomic environment around renewable energy systems. After graduating from MIT, he moved to Argonne National Laboratory as a Postdoctoral Appointee. His past experience includes a Senior Researcher position at Samsung SDI, and internships at Tesla and BMW group. Juhyun has a B.S., summa cum laude, in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Seoul National University.

Contact:  j.song at anl dot gov

Sai Sameer Pusapaty

Sai Sameer Pusapaty worked at Trancik Lab by taking part in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. His work focuses on predicting the future average fuel economy of the U.S. light-duty vehicle fleet given uncertainties in technological development and consumer preferences. By studying past trends in various vehicle attributes, he hopes to develop statistical models to determine whether the future light-duty vehicle fleet will be able to meet current climate policy targets.

Contact: pusapaty at mit dot edu

Dr. Gonçalo Pereira

Gonçalo Pereira was a postdoctoral associate at the Institute for Data, Systems and Society (IDSS) at MIT. He received a B.S. in mechanical engineering, an M.S. in systems modeling and control and a Ph.D. for his work on residential energy consumption and energy storage from Instituto Superior Técnico (Portugal). During his Ph.D. he cooperated with several companies contributing to their R&D and as an external consultant. Before joining MIT, he worked as the Chief Science Officer at WATT-IS, an energy analytics start-up company. His research interests are in energy storage, consumption patterns and the development of commercial products and services.
Contact: gpereira at mit dot edu

Dr. David Parra

David Parra was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Data, Systems and Society (IDSS). He is a senior researcher and teaching fellow at the University of Geneva (Switzerland). He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering, M.S. in energy technologies and Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham (UK) for his experimental and modeling work on optimal energy storage for low carbon communities. His research focuses on how to facilitate the integration of renewables with energy storage and other flexible solutions. He has expertise in building models that can provide insights for techno-economic and environmental targets to increase the social impact of low carbon technologies.

Contact: dparra at mit dot edu, david dot parra at unige dot ch



Fabian Riether

Fabian Riether completed his master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at MIT in 2016. His thesis demonstrated the potential of novel optimization algorithms for controlling high-dimensional stochastic systems such as  quadrotors. In 2014-2015, he worked with the Trancik Lab to investigate energy storage and consumption patterns in transportation and energy infrastructure to derive design rules and optimal policies. He received his B.Sc. in Engineering Cybernetics from the University of Stuttgart. Research projects in Stuttgart and Abu Dhabi focused on modeling and analyzing single-device man-machine systems. Before coming to MIT, Fabian worked on increasing the scalability of autonomous driving solutions in Silicon Valley. Currently, Fabian is pursuing a co-op MBA program at the Collège des Ingénieurs where he works as a Junior Consultant for Infineon Technologies.

Contact: friether at alum dot mit dot edu

Dr. Victor Ocaña

Victor Ocaña was a postdoctoral associate at the Institute for Data, Systems and Society (IDSS) at MIT. He received his physics diploma from the University of Zaragoza (Spain) and his PhD in Earth Science from the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology and the University of Hamburg (Germany), on optimal GHG emissions paths and the value of information. After a long hiatus away from science, he returned as a research scientist with Prof. Hans von Storch at the Helmhotz Zentrum Geesthacht (Germany) before coming to MIT.  He then worked as a postdoctoral associate in EAPS (Earth, Atmosphere and Planetary Sciences) at MIT, where he studied sea level variability and modeling of ice sheets.

Contact: vocana at mit dot edu

Dr. Zachary Needell

Zachary Needell completed his Ph.D. at the Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Transportation at MIT. He received his M.S. in Transportation Engineering from MIT and his B.S. in Physics from Haverford College in 2011, where he did his thesis research on the deformation patterns of granular materials under stress. Before coming to MIT, he worked at the Smithsonian Center for Earth and Planetary Studies researching Martian sediments and climate history. His research interests are in how infrastructure and technology affect the decisions people make about their personal transportation, and how those individual choices affect long term environmental, economic, and social trends.

Contact: zneedell at mit dot edu


Dr. Joshua Mueller

Joshua Mueller completed his Ph.D. at the Institute for Data, Systems and Society (IDSS) at MIT. He received his S.M. in Technology and Policy from MIT in June 2015. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2004 with a B.S. in Physics and a minor in French, and read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Brasenose College, Oxford, earning a B.A. in 2006. His current research is on techno-economic modeling of energy storage systems with a focus on the value that storage brings to renewable-storage hybrid systems and the performance factors that most influence that value.  He is a recipient of the 2004 John and Fannie Hertz Foundation Fellowship.

Contact: jmmuell at mit dot edu

Dr. Marco Miotti

Marco Miotti completed his Ph.D. at the Institute for Data, Systems and Society (IDSS) at MIT. He received his S.M. in Environmental Engineering and his B.S. in Environmental Sciences from ETH Zurich. Before coming to MIT, he worked on projects related to industrial ecology and technology assessment in Germany, China, Colombia, and Switzerland. His research focuses on evaluating the emissions reduction potential and adoption potential of light-duty vehicle technologies against climate change policy goals from the perspective of the consumer as the decision maker.

Contact: mmiotti at mit dot edu

Ethan McGarrigle

Ethan McGarrigle is an undergraduate student majoring in Chemical Engineering and minoring in Energy Studies with a concentration in Economics at MIT. His research focused on evaluating the potential for mitigating hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions, focusing on end-of-life practices of HFC-use equipment.
Contact: ethanmcg at mit dot edu