June 30, 2015

By Mark Golden

The Precourt Institute for Energy has started an industrial affiliates program to foster collaboration with companies interested in sustainable energy research and education at Stanford.

PAUL MCINTYRE, professor of materials science and engineering, and FRIEDRICH PRINZ, professor of mechanical engineering and of materials science and engineering, are co-directors of Stanford Energy 3.0. The program’s managing director is JIM CHEN.

“Hundreds of people across campus are working on sustainable energy,” said Prinz. “If a company is interested in engaging with that research, Stanford Energy 3.0 is the natural gateway to do that.”

Industrial affiliate programs support research and education, transfer knowledge to society and give participating Stanford faculty access to private-sector perspectives. Members can gain insights on the latest research trends and feedback on their own research efforts.

Stanford Energy 3.0 seeks to engage industry in flexible, reciprocal dialogue. Its members can support graduate students, have employees participate in research as visiting scholars and join focus groups involving faculty and other company members. The initial focus groups of the program are in solar energy, smart grid and energy-storage technologies. Additional groups will be formed based on interest. The program hosts an annual conference, customized meetings and seminars to introduce new faculty.

“Members like the exposure to revolutionary ideas, new ways of thinking about existing opportunities and seeing where energy technology is heading,” said McIntyre. “Obviously, some also like the opportunity to recruit our amazing students.”

Several Energy 3.0 member companies are in countries building much of their energy infrastructure now, said Chen, formerly the director of research and development at the electronics unit of Eaton Corp.

“They want the latest energy technology that’s viable for the 21st century,” Chen said. “At the same time, our participating faculty and students can use their expertise immediately to help build the sustainable energy systems that 7 billion people badly need.”

Current members of Stanford Energy 3.0 include BP, Coca-Cola, Doosan, Hanergy, Meralco, SAIC USA (formerly Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp.) and State Grid Corporation of China. Any interested company may join the program. Membership fees are unrestricted funds that support ongoing, faculty-driven research.

This article was originally published in the Stanford Report.