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Provided by ASME Logo The American Society of Mechanical Engineers


Wednesday Morning – June 17, 2020
10:15 AM – 10:45 AM

Juan Torres

Juan J. Torres

Associate Laboratory Director
Energy Systems Integration

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Bio: Juan Torres oversees continuing efforts at the laboratory's Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) to strengthen the security and resilience of the nation's electrical grid. He leads NREL's global initiative to optimize links between electricity, fuel, thermal, water, and communication networks in order to develop and demonstrate new technologies to modernize the grid.

Title: Addressing the Research Challenges of Power Grid Modernization

Abstract: Electricity has fueled global economic growth since the early 1900s. Access to electricity is so vital to the U.S. economy that the National Academy of Engineering named “electrification” the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century. However, the electric power grid we have today does not have the attributes necessary to meet the demands of the 21st century and beyond. Significant changes in electricity generation and demand, driven by continued growth in renewable generation, low-cost natural gas, and advancements in technology and consumer participation, offer new possibilities to shape one of the most foundational infrastructures to a modern economy. In this talk we will explore some of the research challenges and opportunities posed in power grid modernization to meet future energy needs.


Wednesday Afternoon – June 17, 2020
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Yogi Goswami

Yogi Goswami

Distinguished Professor
Clean Energy Research Center

University of South Florida

Bio: Dr. D. Yogi Goswami has over 35 years of experience in education, research, entrepreneurship and policy in the broad areas of energy and renewable energy. Professor Goswami is the Editor-in-Chief of the Solar Energy journal, and Progress in Solar Energy. Within the field of Renewable Energy he has published as author/editor 16 books and holds 18 patents. Some of his inventions have been commercialized and are available worldwide.

Title: Solar Disinfection and Detoxification Applications and Emerging Innovations

Abstract: Solar Energy can play a very important role in providing most of the heating, cooling and electricity needs of the world. With the emergence of solar photocatalytic and photo-electrochemical oxidation technologies, solar energy also has the potential to solve our environmental problems also.

A great amount of research is happening around the world on solar photocatalytic oxidation including its enhancement with plasmonic structures. The basic technology has been developed to effectively treat groundwater, drinking water, and industrial wastewater. However, an innovative development out of it for disinfection and detoxification of air has been demonstrated as the most effective technology for that application. Recent developments have shown its effectiveness against bio-terrorism as well as reducing the risk of infection from known and emerging microorganisms, such as Corona virus. This presentation describes the recent developments and identifies challenges and future research opportunities.


Thursday Morning – June 18, 2020
10:15 AM – 10:45 AM

Karma Sawyer

Karma Sawyer

Program Manager of Emerging Technologies Program
Building Technologies Office (BTO)

US Department of Energy

Bio: Dr. Karma Sawyer oversees a diverse portfolio of research and development (R&D) activities, with the goal of developing cost-effective, energy-efficient, flexible technologies for residential and commercial buildings. Her team supports the development of innovative practices and technologies with partners across academia, national labs, small businesses and industry in space conditioning, water heating and appliances, windows and envelope, sensors and controls, lighting and building energy modeling. She originally joined DOE in 2010 as an AAAS and ARPA-E fellow and later became an Assistant Program Director, responsible for ARPA-E’s CO2 capture portfolio. Prior to joining DOE, Dr. Sawyer worked as a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. She received a B.S. with Honors in Chemistry from Syracuse University in 2003 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2008.

Title: Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings

Abstract: Through the Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings (GEB) Initiative, the Building Technologies Office (BTO) is learning how to outfit buildings in such way that they – and everything connected to them – can collectively function as a “virtual battery” for utilities and building owners to store energy in or pull energy out – this means better flexibility, reliability and resilience without disturbing its occupants or reducing comfort or productivity. BTO is working to establish the foundational technologies that future buildings will need to communicate with one another across the grid, to collectively and instantaneously provide a suite of grid services. The GEB initiative is critical for enabling buildings to work together so that utilities will be empowered to leverage them to accelerate the integration of new energy sources into the grid, improve energy affordability for building- and home-owners, and expand the available options for grid-scale energy storage. Dr. Sawyer will discuss the significant potential GEBs have to provide grid services, as well as the challenges and gaps facing the state-of-the-art and emerging technologies.


Thursday Afternoon – June 18, 2020
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Frank O'Brien-Bernini

Frank O'Brien-Bernini

Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer
Owens Corning

Bio: Frank O’Brien-Bernini is a global leader in insulation, roofing, and fiberglass composite materials. His role encompasses global accountability for Owens Corning’s sustainability strategy development and implementation including: operations sustainability; environmental, health and safety (EH&S); product and supply chain sustainability; corporate medical and wellness; product stewardship and toxicology; and the company’s science and technology center in Granville, Ohio.

In more than 35 years with Owens Corning, he has held various leadership positions, including Chief Research & Development Officer prior to becoming one of the first, and now longest tenured, Chief Sustainability Officers in the world. Before joining Owens Corning, O’Brien-Bernini ran a solar design/build firm.

Title: Sustainability – Creating Enterprise Value

Abstract: Enterprise value creation has always come from solving problems and developing new opportunities. Invariably, these solutions must create value for one or more specific stakeholders: customer, investor, employee, supplier, community. Whether we think about it explicitly or not, there is a social, environmental, and economic consequence to bringing that solution to market—either positive or negative. Sustainability is a powerful framework to understand, account for, and ultimately maximize the net-positive impact of these complex relationships.

In the ecosphere of value creation, it is a gift when a problem or opportunity is so well defined that ideation, evaluation and action can stand upon a foundation of what’s known, while exploring what is not. In this session, Owens Corning will share examples of past impact along with our forward-facing aspiration to double the positive impact of our products, halve the negative impact of our operations, eliminate injuries and improve the quality of life for our employees and their families, advance inclusion and diversity, and have a positive impact on our communities.