August 2022
Message from the Director
The Cornell Energy Systems Institute has had an exciting year as we gradually returned to in-person programming. In April, the Cornell Energy Systems Club (CESC) was able to host their annual Energy Days event in-person for the first time since 2019. Read on for more details (and pictures!) provided by Henry Harwood, the 2021-22 CESC President. 
In this edition of the newsletter, you can also read about progress in the Cornell University Borehole (CUBO) Project which first broke ground on June 21st. At the time of this writing, drilling depth was nearly 10,000 ft, and will continue through the end of August. See the project website at for live updates on depth and current rock layer. The CUBO site offers visits and tours for campus and community members, so don’t miss the opportunity to see what is happening on the ground with this project!
This year, CESI also launched the new CESI Distinguished Lecture series, aiming to bring high-level industry and research leaders to Cornell to share their perspectives on the energy transition. For our first round of Distinguished lectures, we were honored to host Dr. Peter Green (Chief Research Officer at NREL), Prof. Heather Kulik (Associate Professor, MIT), and Prof. Daniel Schwartz (Professor and Director of the Clean Energy Institute at University of Washington) during the spring semester on campus. See for more details and announcements for future CESI Distinguished Lectures. 
On the academic side, the energy seminar line up for Fall 2022 is coming together and will continue to highlight a diverse set of speakers from industry, academia, national labs, startups, and NGOs. We will offer remote attendance for friends of CESI through pre-registration. See the September and October speakers below and visit for speaker schedule updates and to register for remote participation. Please email us at to be added to the email list if you are not already receiving seminar announcements. 
We are deeply grateful for a recent donation for the CESI Laboratory Equipment Maintenance Fund. Thank you for this support that is essential to ensuring the functionality and performance of our equipment for all CESI Lab users. 
Finally, this is an opportunity to celebrate our outstanding CESI affiliated researchers! In the newsletter we have highlighted some of the awards that have been received within our community this year. Please join us in congratulating your colleagues, collaborators, and friends for their hard work this year. 
C. Lindsay Anderson
Interim Director, Cornell Energy Systems Institute

2022 Cornell Energy Days
by Henry Harwood, CESC President

On April 21st and 22nd, the Cornell Energy Systems Club (CESC) hosted our third annual Energy Days. The two days encompassed two topics: Smart Society and Energy Justice. 
Our first day was entirely in-person and began with a breakfast meeting with Director Martin Keller of NREL with the eboard of CESC. This gave us the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with Dr. Keller and get to know different aspects of the work going on at NREL and get some of his valuable insight into the paths we were taking. 
Dr. Keller gave a keynote presentation entitled ‘The Path to Net Zero Carbon by 2050’ which detailed the laboratory strategy that he and his leadership team at NREL have developed. This strategy focuses on three key initiatives: Integrated Energy Pathways, Electrons to Molecules, and a Circular Economy for Energy Materials. When touching on all of these topics, Dr. Keller highlighted that we cannot approach these problems as if we have 30 years to address them, but rather in the reality that we have 10 years in which to figure things out and begin seeing them realized. On the topic of Integrated Energy Pathways, the focus was on how humans can’t handle the management of the increasingly more complex systems that we are evolving towards. These systems will rely on non-linear optimization processes with control systems we are starting to implement already. The idea of electrons to molecules is how to use renewable energy to convert low-energy molecules - such as water and carbon dioxide into cleaner higher value and higher-energy chemicals, fuels, and materials. The idea of a Circular Economy is that the new systems of renewable energy that we are developing should have mechanisms that reduce waste and preserve resources by designing materials and products with reuse, recycling, and up-cycling in mind from the start. 
The ‘Smart Grid? Smart Society?’ Panel consisted of Brian Bauer, Mike Swider, Lindsay Anderson, and Martin Keller. The discussion was focused primarily on what sort of controls need to be added to an increasingly more renewable reliant grid system to make it more compatible with a system that is also increasingly more electrified, but ground was covered. The discussion ranged in focus from the origins of the current management of the grid system as we see it in the US, to what sorts of technologies in terms of both physical and software controls are needed to manage an increasingly renewable and electrified grid. The day was capped off with a Poster and Networking session, where members of the energy-involved community at Cornell got a chance to mingle and share their work. 
On April 22, our Energy Justice events proceeded as intended in a hybrid format, with a fairly even split between online and in-person attendees. The day began with our Keynote Dialogue hosted by Dr. Amanda C. Graham entitled ‘Energy, Equity, and Citizenship: Reframing Energy Systems for Justice’ which featured conversations with her students currently participating in Dartmouth’s newly developed Energy Justice programs. Their discussion focused on case studies within California where concepts of Energy Justice were being implemented into the pricing schema of the energy aggregators to examples of epistemological justice within Brazil. For those in attendance, this idea of epistemological justice was particularly eye-opening because it challenged us to consider not only the ideas of how do we give people access to energy equitably, but how do we do so without adopting a new sort of colonization mindset where we are constricting these developing peoples into the same systems that we have found ourselves in. The dialogue then was focused on how we may give people access to the tools that they need to better their lives without demanding that they change them in an exact manner that we imagine. 
Our Energy Justice Panel in the afternoon featured Dr. Siddarth Sareen, Dr. Bethel Tarekegne, and Dr. Rick Stedman. Beginning the discussion by sharing definitions and approaches to Energy Justice, the common ground for the discussion was found to be in what metrics should be sued for Energy Justice - what should we measure, who is measuring them, and who is ultimately making the decisions based on those metrics. The discussion agreed on the fact that the metrics that are used in areas of the world should be developed with the full participation of those local communities. The conversation also touched on how this profound moment of restructuring, or simply dedicated development, offers us the opportunity to rethink the systems we use to manage energy into forms that allow for greater democratization of energy usage. 

Energy Days 2022 overall felt like a fantastic return for our first in-person iteration since the inaugural one in 2019. The CESC is incredibly grateful for our speakers and all the others who joined and supported us in these events. Planning for Energy Days 2023 is already right around the corner and we intend to continue making them even more of a special event.  
Special thanks to the team of students from Sustainable Cornell who assisted in the event and provided compost and recycle bins to ensure this was a Certified Sustainable Event.
We would like to celebrate and honor our faculty for some recent awards and recognition's they have received. This list is by no means exhaustive and includes only a sample of them. If you would like us to feature your awards in our website, please email us at

Prof. Shefford P. Baker 
Elected Fellow of the Materials Research Society 
Prof. Greeshma Gadikota 
NSF CAREER Award : "Confinement Induced Structural Evolution of Calcium- and Magnesium- Carbonates in Architected Siliceous Nanochannels.”
Cornell Rising Women Innovator Award (Inaugural Awardee)
Prof. Jillian Goldfarb, promoted to Associate Professor with indefinite tenure.
NSF CAREER Award : “Manipulating Polarity to Enhance Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Biomass for Biofuels.”
Prof. Mostafa Hassani 
NSF CAREER Award : Understanding Bond Formation, Microstructural Development and Mechanical Properties in Cold Spray Additive Manufacturing – A Unified Experimental and Numerical Approach
Prof. Atieh Moridi 
NSF CAREER Award : In Operando Investigation of Laser Powder-fed Directed Energy Deposition: Process Physics, Microstructure Evolution, and Mechanical Properties
Prof. Sara Pryor 
Prof. Semida Silveira 
Prof. Grace Xing 
Prof. Fengqi You 
AIChE George Lappin Award

Special congratulations to Alexa Schmitz, Ph.D., one of our inaugural CESI Post-Doctoral Fellows. Dr. Schmitz works in the Barstow Lab in Biological and Environmental Engineering, and was awarded the inaugural ‘Rising Women Innovator Award for her work on engineering microbes to extract rare earth elements. Her work has been funded by multiple sources, including the Cornell Energy Systems Institute, The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, The Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, the Burroughs Welcome Fund, and most recently the Activate Entrepreneurial Fellowship

2-mile borehole to reveal viability of campus's geothermal future
By Cornell Chronicle staff
Cornell is one step closer to determining the feasibility of using deep geothermal energy to heat the Ithaca campus. Drilling for the Cornell University Borehole Observatory began June 21 and the current drill depth is almost 9,000 feet, with the work expected to continue into late August.

The borehole, located on a Cornell-owned gravel parking lot near Palm Road, will be subjected to a battery of tests, both during and after the drilling, to determine the temperature, permeability and other characteristics of the rock up to 10,000 feet below the earth’s surface.

These findings will help the university determine whether to move forward with a proposed plan to warm the Ithaca campus with Earth Source Heat, a process that would extract naturally heated water after it’s pumped underground, transfer its heat to a separate supply of water flowing within the campus’ heating distribution pipeline, and return the original water to the subsurface, where it warms back up and begins the cycle again.

Earth Source Heat has been part of Cornell’s Climate Action Plan since 2009 as a potential means of moving toward carbon neutrality on campus by eliminating fossil fuels for campus heating. Such a system would enable the university to meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2035, while providing a blueprint for similar renewable energy efforts throughout the northeast and other parts of the U.S. where geothermal heat has not previously been utilized.

The borehole drilling is being overseen by Facilities and Campus Services in collaboration with university faculty, including several faculty experts from the Cornell Energy Systems Institute, including Lynden Archer, Geoff Abers, Richard Allmendinger, Todd Cowen, Teresa Jordan, Matthew Pritchard, and Jeff Tester.

A live dashboard at displays the borehole’s current drill depth and rock layer, as well as the status of several monitoring systems. The website also provides weekly video updates from CESI faculty and other experts. For those in the Ithaca area that want to learn more, they can visit the borehole site on Tuesdays, from noon to 1 p.m., when staff and faculty will be available to talk about the process.

Energy Engineering Seminar Series
Thursdays, 12:25 - 1:15 pm | 165 Olin Hall
Through the weekly Energy Engineering Seminar, CESI provides a mechanism for students in and outside of Cornell to receive up-to-date knowledge about energy systems science and technology, across the full spectrum of energy areas. Seminar speakers will be practicing engineers and executives from industry and government, as well as Cornell faculty members from a variety of departments.
August 25 Prof. Lindsay Anderson, Cornell University, BEE
September 1 Prof. David Hammer, Cornell University, IEEE
September 8 Prof. Guðrún Sævarsdóttir, Reykjavik University
September 15 Prof. Atieh Moridi, Cornell University, MAE
September 22 Prof. Andrew Musser, Cornell University, CCB
September 29 Prof. Paul Mutolo, CEO of Standard Hydrogen Corporation
October 6 Prof. Vivek Srikrishnan, Cornell University, BEE
October 13 Prof. Semida Silveira, Cornell University, Systems Engineering
October 20 Ted Miller, Sr Manager, Ford Motor Company
October 27 and onwards: TBA

For updates on the schedule and the complete seminar series lineup, please visit

If you cannot attend in person, we are offering a zoom option starting on September 1st (only for faculty and external guests, not for students). Please register:
Energy Modules
CHEME 6676/RU 807, Energy Markets and Regulations
Classes held for 3 weeks, August 22 through September 9
MW 9:05-9:55 am, and TTh 9:40-10:55 am
Instructor: Michal C. Moore (
Energy markets are organized to provide a wide variety of energy services to consumers. This course examines the function, operation and oversight of modern energy markets from policy directives and market regulation to investment in critical infrastructure. The primary emphasis is electricity pricing and market oversight; some lectures will focus on the role of liquid and gas fuel markets as well. The class is based on (10) lectures M/Tu/W/Th plus study sessions; lectures will include guests from industry and public regulatory institutions and joint discussions with students from Reykjavik University online. Readings will be available online from journal articles and excerpts from text materials. Grading will be based on in-class participation, quiz, a short essay and a final examination. (1 credit)
CHEME 6679, Energy Storage
Classes held for 4 weeks, October 12 through November 9
MWF 9:05-9:55 am
Instructors: Tobias Hanrath ( and Adam Hawkins (

Efficient energy storage technologies have been described as the Achilles’ heel in our transition towards a sustainable energy portfolio that integrates inherently intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar. The infrastructure used to transmit, distribute and store chemical, electrical, and thermal energy is extensive, multi scale, and capital intensive. Coverage in this module includes thermal and mechanical energy storage, and electrical energy storage and conversion. Technologies evaluated include fuel cells, batteries, compressed air energy storage (CAES), pumped hydro, supercapacitors and flywheels. Emphasis will be placed on understanding technology options including their operating principles, development status, benefits, scaling limits, and life cycle environmental issues and costs. We will discuss challenges and opportunities for grid-level energy storage and the role of improved battery technologies in enabling the broader deployment of electric vehicles. (1 credit)
CHEME 6660, Analysis of Sustainable Energy Systems
Classes held for 4 weeks, September 12 through October 7
MWF 9:05-9:55 am, and TTh 9:40-10:55 am
Instructor: Jeff Tester (

Assessment of current and potential future energy systems, covering resources, extraction, conversion, and end-use, with emphasis on meeting regional and global energy needs in the 21st century in a sustainable manner. Quantitative engineering methods for performance analysis of renewable and conventional technologies are utilized. Methods will include thermodynamics, financial analysis of performance, life cycle cost calculation, transport and reaction engineering considerations for energy capture, extraction and conversion described within a system framework that aids in evaluation and analysis of sustainable energy technology options in the context of political, social, economic, and environmental goals. Open to graduate students and upper-class undergraduates. Quantitative engineering analysis methods applied assuming previous exposure to thermodynamics, physics, and calculus. (2 credits for CHEME 6660; 1 credit for project in CHEME 6681)

CESI 2023 Postdoctoral Fellowships:
Request for Proposals opens in September

The CESI Postdoctoral Fellowship is designed to attract the best and brightest young researchers in energy science, engineering, and materials to Cornell. The goal is to create a cohort of independent scholars pursuing frontier research in energy. Two new fellows will work in partnership with Cornell faculty sponsors on projects consistent with the CESI mission. More information on the call will be announced shortly.
James is originally from New Jersey and received his BS from Cornell University in Plant Sciences. For nearly 20 years he was the Lab and Greenhouse Manager for the Cornell Small Grains Breeding Project working on disease and stress resistance in wheat and barley. He joined Cornell Energy Systems Institute (CESI) as the Laboratory Manager in May 2022. When not in the lab he enjoys gardening, fishing, and bicycling.
The CESI Source is an internal newsletter brought to you by the Cornell Energy Systems Institute.