Saturday, July 21, 2007

MIT Photovoltaics Community Social Brings Out MIT PV Rockstars

The MIT Energy Club organized "MIT Photovoltaics Community Social" held this past Thursday at the Muddy Charles Pub brought together 40 of the best and brightest of MIT's rapidly growing Photovoltaics community. I have been involved with the MIT PV community since 2004 and am amazed by how much it has grown right before my eyes over the past three years.

MIT has not traditionally been a photovoltaics power house, but with the emergence of Michael Rogol, MIT ESD PhD Student, as one of the recognized leaders in analyzing and understanding the global PV market and with the notable hirings of prominent PV professors, including Tonio Buonassisi and others, MIT appears to be poised to become a leader in PV. (The key current profs at MIT who have been leading the PV/solar charge include Vladimir Bulovic (organics), Marc Baldo (organics), Ely Sachs (silicon), Dan Nocera (photocatalysis), and Mougi Bawendi (quantum dots).)

Hosted by Tonio Buonassisi, MIT's newest PV hire and first ever "pure play" photovoltaics hire, and David Danielson, MIT Energy Club founder, this event brought out folks spanning the gamut: from scientists and engineers, to industry leaders and entrepreneurs.

Attendee Highlights:
Peter Bermel, recent MIT PhD Physics alum and founder of StarSolar - an MIT startup that is applying photonic crystal technology to photovoltaics for light trapping and which won the "New England Energy Innovation Collaborative's $150K Energy Business Creation Contest" this past year..... Marcie Black, MIT alum and founder of BandGapEngineering, a new Boston area nano solar startup.... Evergreen Solar was represented in force, with MIT alums Adam Lorenz (Engineer) and Nol Browne (Business Development) present, and perhaps most excitingly, photovoltaics legend Jack Hanoka, Evergreen Solar co-founder, former CTO, and current V.P. of Advanced Technology, made an appearance and was promptly swarmed by a horde of budding MIT photovoltaic technologists and entrepreneurs..... Alexi Arango, MIT PhD student working on organic PV under Prof. Vladimir Bulovic, and Eerik Hantsoo, PhD student working with Prof. Ely Sachs (inventor of Evergreen Solar's string ribbon silicon technology), among many others, represented the student PV contingent. Fergus Hurley, MIT Masters student working with Prof. John Kassakian on applying photonic crystal concepts to a new brand of PV called "thermophotovoltaics" was part of the crowd as well...... Brendan Neagle, VP of Business Development at Borrego Solar, a fast growing PV installer which is just beginning to tap into the New England market with Brendan's upcoming move to Boston..... Bob Clark-Phelps, formerly with Evergreen Solar, was present representing Solasta, a new solar startup out of Boston College..... Kurt Keville, staff member at the Insitute for Soldier Nanotechnologies and leader of the MIT Solar Decathlon Team, was also in attendance. This MIT team is building a modular, moveable green home for the annual Solar Decathlon Competition to be held in the National Mall in Washington, DC. (Consider supporting the MIT Solar Decathlon Team by buying a ticket for their raffle. They are raffling off a Hybrid Toyota Camry along with many other cool energy related prizes.)

The event was a great success and if the current rate of growth of PV enthusiasm at MIT persists, I expect that the next event in three months time will have almost twice as many MIT affililiated professors, students, entrepreneurs, and industry folks who are transforming the regional and global PV landscape in attendance.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Recent MIT Energy Club Alums Begin to Make an Impact on the Energy Industry

It's exciting to see the MIT Energy Club's first round of alumni enter the energy industry and start to make an impact.

2007 Graduates:

Both Alissa Jones, Mech Eng MS '07 and Energy Club EnergyNight Chair/MIT Energy Conference Logistics Director, and Joel Conkling, Sloan '07 alum and fromer Energy Club Treasurer, are joining McKinsey's growing energy practice (Alissa in Atlanta, Joel in Houston)... Brian Walsh, Sloan '07 and Managing Director of MIT Energy Conference '07, is working as a Senior Associate at S.F.-based clean technology venture firm, Nth Power.... Nick Cravalho, Sloan '07, has accepted a position in product management at at Miasole, an SF Bay Area thin film solar firm working on CIGS..... Keith Peltzman, Sloan' 07 and MIT Energy Conference Solar Panel Lead two years in a row ('06/'07), will be starting his own solar design/installation firm in the Philadelphia, PA area..... Kristian Bodek, TPP MS '07 and two time Energy Club Vice President, has just accepted a position at Cambridge Energy Research Associates.... David Danielson, PhD '07 Mat Sci and founder of the MIT Energy Club and MIT Energy Conference, has accepted a position as a Senior Associate in venture firm General Catalyst Partners' Energy Practice.... Anthony Fotopoulos, Sloan '07 and MIT Energy Conference '06 Biofuels Panel Lead, has accepted a position at photovoltaics installer/integrator Conergy, in Colorado.... Greg Singleton, outgoing Energy Club president, will be working as a Research Analyst at Point Carbon's U.S. office in Washington, DC. Point Carbon is a leading suscription based carbon markets news provider and consultancy.

Other Recent Graduates:

Mike Berlinski, TPP MS alum and founding Energy Club Vice President is working at G.E. Energy Financial Services in CT under another prominent MIT energy alum and former CERA rockstar Steve Taub.... Lori Simpson, TPP MS alum and MIT Energy Conference '06 Nuclear Power Panel Lead, is now working at Constellation Energy Commodities Group in Baltimore, MD under Group CTO and another prominent MIT energy alum, Group CFO Andrew Good.... Mark Bohm, TPP MS alum and MIT Energy Conference '06 Clean Carbon Panel Lead, is currently working at BC Hydro, British Columbia's dominant electric power provider and utility.... Salem Esber, TPP MS and former Energy Club Discussion Chair, is currently working at PA Consulting, an energy consulting firm, in Denver, CO.... Libby Wayman, Mech Eng ME alum and founding Secretary of the Energy Club, has co-founded Promethean Power, an MIT solar thermal technology start-up focused on providing electric power and cooling to the developing world using locally available infrastructure (She is currently working for the company in Lesotho in Africa)... Nol Browne, Sloan '06 alum and co-founder of the MIT Energy Conference, is currently working in business development at Evergreen Solar, a Marlborough MA-based solar module manufacturer based upon the technology of MIT Mech Eng Prof Emmanuel Sachs... Also, I just found out that Nick McKenna, recent ESD PhD alum and founding treasurer of the Energy Club, is making a move from McKinsey's Houston Office to ConocoPhilips, and is very excited about it....

Other recent (or not so recent!) MIT Energy Club alums/members, please feel free to post what you are up to by clicking below....


MIT Photovoltaics Community Summer Social - TODAY - Thurs, 7/19/07, Muddy Charles Pub

The MIT Energy Club is holding an "MIT Photovoltaics Community Social" at MIT's campus pub, the Muddy Charles Pub TODAY, Thurs 7/19/07 from 6-8PM. The event will be hosted by myself and MIT's recent first-ever "pure play" photovoltaics professor Tonio Buonassisi.

Expected attendees include MIT professors, MIT graduate students, and industry folks from Evergreen Solar, Stellaris, RSI Silicon, and a number of other regional solar companies.

This social is one of a series of events sponsored by the MIT Energy Club to build the MIT PV community, which has included a number of socials as well as two MIT IAP courses on Photovoltaics.

Slides from these courses can be found at this link.

Hope to see everyone there!