I manage a diverse energy research portfolio that revolves around modelling the transition to a sustainable, deeply decarbonized energy system. In particular, I work to improve the representation of policy and institutional realities within techno-economic system models. I employ mixed-method studies that require engineering-economic modelling, optimization, expert elicitation, and behavioral surveys.
Recently, I have focused on the following issues: first, assessing the performance of government energy R&D, and developing strategies to improve it. Second, evaluating the likely cost and performance of emergent energy technologies, mainly through engineering-economic analysis and the elicitation of expert judgement. Third, modelling the impact of "smart incentives" on the penetration of renewable energy sources. Fourth, identifying strategies to structure large, low-carbon energy investments that would make them politically more credible. Fifth, developing new methods that generate insights about the social constraints to deploying low-carbon energy technologies.
At Carnegie Mellon, my research explored the deployment potential of a new generation of small modular reactors (SMRs) that are being proposed in various countries for various applications. This work involved expert elicitation, economic modelling, and an investigation of the institutional challenges facing the mass international deployment of SMRs. I also worked with colleagues at the Center for Computation Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems (CASOS) on questions of nuclear proliferation and the dissemination of nuclear knowledge.
My research at Princeton's Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) laboratory evaluated the cost and performance of purifying hydrogen gas in reformate streams using PEMFC “hydrogen pumps,” which could be useful in a transition to a hydrogen economy.