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Materials Needs for Energy Sustainability by 2050

Wednesday, April 19
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
PCC North, 100 Level, Room 121 ABC

Our ability to achieve an energy-efficient, low-emissions future will depend on achieving significant materials advances over the coming decades. This panel event, co-organized by MRS Energy & Sustainability—A Review Journal and the MRS Focus on Sustainability Subcommittee, will convene top experts to discuss the fundamental materials R&D needed and the geopolitical and international supply-chain implications of possible pathways to realize this vision. An RSVP reception will follow.


Sabrina Sartori

Sabrina Sartori, University of Oslo

Sabrina Sartori is originally from Italy, where she earned a PhD degree in Materials Science and Engineering in 2003 from the Università di Bologna. After working at the Università degli Studi di Padova, she moved to Norway in 2006 as a researcher at the Institute for Energy Technology. She joined the University of Oslo in 2013 as Associate Professor in the Energy Systems Section of the Department of Technology Systems. Sartori's research interests are focused on materials for energy storage for vehicular and grid applications. Her core expertise is on the synthesis of nanoscale and porous materials investigated with small-angle neutron and x-ray scattering, in situ synchrotron radiation and powder neutron diffraction. She is leading several national and international projects on the integration of renewable energy systems into the power grid. She serves as a board member of MRS, and as an editorial board member for MRS Bulletin Energy Quarterly. She is also an expert member of the IEA Hydrogen Implementing Agreement Task 32.


 Russell Chianelli

Russell R. Chianelli, The University of Texas at El Paso

Russell R. Chianelli is Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Materials Research and Technology Institute at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Formerly a member of Exxon Research and Engineering's Corporate Research Laboratory, Chianelli is a world authority on transition-metal sulfide catalytic materials with over 160 peer-reviewed publications and over 60 issued U.S. patents.

Chianelli's research is highly interdisciplinary and covers theory, experiment and application with commercializations based on his work. In 1990, he was President of the Materials Research Society, and also served as scientific leader of the Exxon Valdez oil spill successful bioremediation effort. He has been recognized for these efforts and continues to lead in the understanding of transition-metal sulfide catalytic materials and their application to petroleum refining and coal gas catalysis.

George Crabtree

George Crabtree, University of Illinois at Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory

George Crabtree is Director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) at Argonne National Laboratory and Professor of Physics, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

His research interests include next-generation battery technology and integrating energy science, technology, policy and entrepreneurship to transform transportation and the electricity grid. He has led several workshops for the U.S. Department of Energy on energy science and technology, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has testified before the U.S. Congress on energy challenges including hydrogen, innovation and energy storage.

Cherry Murray

Cherry Murray, Harvard University

Cherry Murray, Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy in the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of Physics, Harvard University, has made research accomplishments in the areas of light scattering, soft condensed matter physics, surface physics and nanostructures.  Her current interests are in public policy for science and technology and national security.

 Murray served as the Director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, from 2015 until 2017, overseeing $5.5 billion in competitive scientific research in the areas of advanced scientific computing, basic energy sciences, biological and environmental sciences, fusion energy sciences, high energy physics, and nuclear physics, as well as the management of 10 national laboratories.  She was Dean of Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences from 2009 until 2014, and Principal Associate Director for Science and Technology from 2007 to 2009 and Deputy Director for Science and Technology from 2004 to 2007 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  From 1978 to 2004, Murray held a number of positions at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, formerly AT&T Bell Laboratories and previously Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc.

Ellen Williams

Ellen D. Williams, University of Maryland

Ellen Williams is a distinguished university professor at the University of Maryland.  Prior to returning to the university in January of 2017, she was the Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, ARPA-E, in the Department of Energy.  The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment.

Prior to Senate confirmation for her role in ARPA-E, Williams had been the Chief Scientist at BP (2010-2014), and a distinguished university professor in the Institute of Physical Science and Technology and the Department of Physics at the University of Maryland.  At Maryland she founded and led the university’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center from 1996 through 2009.  

Williams has a distinguished history of professional service, including chairing the development of the NAS report on Technical Issues for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and extensive work in providing technical advice to the U.S. government, primarily through the Departments of Energy and Defense. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a foreign member of the Royal Society (London), a fellow of the American Physical Society, American Vacuum Society and American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been recognized by awards from the American Physical Society and the Materials Research Society. 


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