Caltech Announces 2014 Resonate Awards Winners

resnickCaltech’s Resnick Sustainability Institute has announced the winners of the 2014 Resonate Awards, which aim to promote innovative solutions to some of the hardest problems in alternative energy.

The work being recognized is in several key areas, including: development of safe and cost effective energy storage; the most sophisticated mathematics for optimizing the smart electric grid; and development of a key building block for alternative energy of the future.

Thomas Jaramillo won an award for his work catalyzing chemical reactions for renewable energy production and storage. Jaramillo ia an assistant professor in the department of chemical engineering at Stanford University. His Resonate Award-winning work focuses on the creation of materials at the atomic scale that drive chemical reactions important for renewable energy production and storage. His endeavors have led to the discovery of stable, earth-abundant catalysts for renewable hydrogen production from water and for converting CO2 into fuels and chemicals in a sustainable manner, according to the Resnick Sustainability Institute.

Shinichi Komaba has been named a winner for developing materials for safe, efficient battery storage for EVs and the grid. Komaba is a professor of applied chemistry at Tokyo University of Science and a project professor at Kyoto University. Professor Komaba has developed anode and cathode materials for sodium-ion batteries and safer lithium-ion battery systems. Breakthroughs in these systems show promise toward realizing zero-emission vehicles and mitigating the power variability of incorporating renewable energy into the grid, according to the Resnick Sustainability Institute.

Javad Lavaei has been named a winner for building a computational backbone to transform the power grid into one that is flexible, smart and dynamic. Lavaei is an assistant professor in the department of electrical engineering at Columbia University. He is receiving the 2014 Resonate Award for solving hard computational challenges, like the optimal power flow problem, that provide a scalable framework for incorporating distributed solar, storage and other resources into the electricity grid in an efficient and cost-effective manner. This research uniquely uses nonconvex math to fuse power systems knowledge, control and optimization theory, economics and computer science to enable robust control systems for a dynamic grid, according to the Resnick Sustainability Institute.

Jay Whitacre has been named a winner for research and development of scalable, environmentally benign, low cost grid-scale energy storage. Whitacre is an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University and Founder and CTO of Aquion Energy. He has developed a novel sodium-based aqueous electrolyte battery technology based on low cost functional materials. His company, Aquion, is in the process of launching the product for stationary energy storage in both on-grid and off-grid applications, according to the Resnick Sustainability Institute.

In May last year, Cisco Connected Energy Networks business unit announced that it was working with the Resnick Sustainability Institute on research into a distributed control architecture for reliable and efficient electric systems and new distributed-market designs by blending economic principles with physical engineering laws.

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