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Highlight Seminar: Jessika Trancik, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Highlight Seminar: Jessika Trancik, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Date: March 6, 2017

Time: 4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

Location: Maeder Hall

Jessika Trancik, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will share her research on the “Value of storage technologies for wind and solar energy” as part of the 2016-2017 Highlight Seminar Series at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University.

NOTE: This lecture is part of the March 6 – Day of Action: Knowledge & Democracy in Action at Princeton University.

Wind and solar industries have grown rapidly in recent years but they still supply only a small fraction of global electricity. The continued growth of these industries to levels that significantly contribute to climate change mitigation will depend on whether they can compete against alternatives that provide high-value energy on demand. Energy storage can transform intermittent renewables for this purpose but cost improvement is needed. Evaluating diverse storage technologies on a common scale has proved a major challenge, however, owing to their widely varying performance along the two dimensions of energy and power costs. Here we devise a method to evaluate storage technologies against the dynamics of energy demand. Some storage technologies today are shown to add value to solar and wind energy, but cost reduction is needed to reach widespread profitability. The optimal cost improvement trajectories, balancing energy and power costs to maximize value, are found to be relatively location invariant, and thus can inform broad industry and government technology development strategies.

Jessika Trancik is the Atlantic Richfield Associate Professor in Energy Studies at MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems and Society (IDSS). She is also an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. She received her B.S. in materials science and engineering from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Oxford. Before MIT, she spent several years at the Santa Fe Institute as an Omidyar Fellow, and at Columbia University as an Earth Institute Fellow, where she focused on energy systems modeling. Her research group studies the dynamic costs and environmental impacts of energy technologies to inform technology design and policy.

All seminars are held on Mondays (unless otherwise noted) from 4 to 5:15 p.m. in the Andlinger Center’s Maeder Hall. A reception will be provided in the lobby of Maeder Hall immediately following the seminar.