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The MIT Energy Initiative: Sustainable Energy and Terawatt-Scale Photovoltaics

Google Tech TalkNovember 5, 2009ABSTRACTThis MITEI on the Road event will open with a brief overview of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) by Daniel Enderton, Executive Director of MITEIs Sustainable Energy Revolution Program (SERP). This overview will highlight the extensive depth and breadth of research, education, campus energy and outreach activities underway as part of the Initiative. Mr. Enderton will give particular focus on the SERP program, with highlights of successful past projects in storage, promising new projects in geothermal and the impact philanthropy is having on renewable energy research at MIT.Following this, Professor Tonio Buonassisi of Mechanical Engineering will give a presentation describing the key technical challenges to scaling commercial PV technologies to the terawatt level. The speaker will present a vision for the role of university engineering and science towards surmounting these challenges, drawing from personal experience in the solar industry, national laboratories, and academia. Increased solar cell conversion efficiencies, novel materials, and decreased capital equipment costs will be discussed as a means to achieve rapidly scalable manufacturing, highlighting the role of innovation.technologies and how they will help drive down the cost of solar technology to be competitive with petroleum-based alternatives, while Mr. Enderton will give an overview of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and information on other renewable energy projects at MIT. Tonio Buonassisi is Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT and heads an interdisciplinary laboratory focused on photovoltaics (solar energy conversion into electricity). Prof. Buonassisi completed his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, with research at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems and the Max-Planck-Institute for Microstructure Physics. In addition to teaching classes focused on PV technology, Prof. Buonassisi is an author of 65 journal, conference, and workshop articles focused on PV, and has delivered over 50 invited talks and plenary/oral presentations on his work throughout the world. Prof. Buonassisi's work has been honored with awards including the European Materials Research Society Young Scientist Presentation Award, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Graduate Research Fellowship, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Graduate Student Award. More information about Prof. Buonassisis work can be found at Enderton is Executive Director of the MIT Energy Initiatives Sustainable Energy Revolution Program, which seeks to coordinate and enhance support for breakthrough research in renewable energy sources—such as solar, wind, waves, geothermal, and bioenergy—as well as their associated enabling technologies, including storage and transmission. In 2008, Daniel defended his Ph.D. in climate physics and chemistry in MITs Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. His research focused on estimating and understanding the poleward transport of energy by the atmosphere and oceans, and how this partition affects surface climate conditions. As a student, Daniel was a Linden Earth System Fellow, 2007-2008 President of the MIT Energy Club, and Content Director for the 2007 and 2008 MIT Energy Conferences.
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