Energy Institute Staff
Thomas F. Edgar
Professor Thomas F. Edgar, a chemical engineer who has been on The University of Texas at Austin faculty for more than 40 years, now serves as the interim director of the Energy Institute. Edgar holds the George T. and Gladys H. Abell Chair in Chemical Engineering. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Kansas and the Ph.D. from Princeton University. Edgar worked as a process engineer with the Continental Oil Company before joining UT's faculty in 1971. He served as Department Chair of Chemical Engineering (1985-93), Associate Dean of Engineering (1993-96), and Associate Vice President for Academic Computing (1996-2001) at UT Austin.
For the past 40 years, Edgar has concentrated his academic work in process modeling, control, and optimization. He has published over 450 articles and book chapters in the above fields applied to separations, chemical reactors, coal combustion and gasification, and semiconductor manufacturing. He has supervised the thesis research of over 45 M.S. and 80 Ph.D. students. Edgar has co-authored the textbooks Coal Processing and Pollution Control Technology (Gulf Publishing, 1983), Optimization of Chemical Processes (McGraw-Hill, 2001) and Process Dynamics and Control (Wiley, 2010).
He was President of the American Automatic Control Council between 1989 and 1991 and President of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in 1997. He is board secretary of Pecan Street Inc. in Austin, TX, which deals with renewable energy and smart grids.
Edgar's current energy research covers renewable energy, combined heat and power, energy storage, and improved oil recovery (www.che.utexas.edu/edgar_group). His group develops modeling, control and optimization tools to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint. He is the UT PI for the Pecan Street smart grid demonstration project in Austin and also for the NSF IGERT project on sustainable grids, which involves 20 faculty and 25 graduate students. His group is also working with Utilities and Energy Management at UT Austin to reduce energy consumption and offset CO2 emissions by improving the thermal efficiency of the UT campus combined heat, power and cooling system. In the area of teaching, Edgar initiated a popular engineering elective, "Energy Technology and Policy," in 2005 and has co-taught a similar signature course for students outside of engineering.
Michael Evan Webber
Michael Webber is Deputy Director of the Energy Institute at The University of Texas at Austin. In addition, he is the Josey Centennial Fellow in Energy Resources and serves as Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator and Associate Director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy. Dr. Webber also is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, where he teaches and conducts research on energy and environmental issues.
Webber holds four patents and has authored more than 150 publications. He is on the board of advisers for Scientific American and is an originator of Pecan Street Inc., a public-private partnership for smart grid innovation and deployment. Previously Webber studied at the RAND Corporation and was a Senior Scientist at Pranalytica, where he invented sensors for homeland security, industrial analysis, and environmental monitoring.
Webber has a B.A. and B.S. with High Honors from UT Austin, where he has been honored for exceptional teaching. He has an M.S. and Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering) from Stanford. He has been an American Fellow of the German Marshall Fund, a White House Fellowship finalist and an AT&T Industrial Ecology Fellow.
Dale E. Klein
Dale E. Klein is Associate Director of the Energy Institute and Associate Vice President for Research at UT Austin. Formerly he was Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and also served as a member of the Commission.
Before joining the NRC, Dr. Klein served as the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Defense Programs. In this position he served as the principal; staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology for all policy and planning matters related to nuclear weapons and nuclear, chemical and biological defense.
Previously Dr. Klein served as the Vice-Chancellor for Special Engineering Programs at the University of Texas System and as a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering (Nuclear Program) at the University of Texas at Austin. He was Director of the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory, Deputy Director of the Center for Energy Studies, and Associate Dean for Research and Administration in the College of Engineering.
He has made more than 300 presentations and has written numerous technical editorials on energy issues that have been published in major newspapers throughout the United States.
Gary Rasp has managed the Energy Institute’s communications and public affairs since December 2010. As Communications Director, Gary oversees all of the Institute’s internal and external communications, including media relations, community outreach, branding, reputation management and online presence.
He has more than 25 years’ experience working with corporations, government agencies, universities and not-for-profit organizations. His background includes work as a journalist, media liaison, direct mail specialist, public opinion analyst and public affairs consultant.
Prior to joining the Energy Institute, Gary provided strategic counsel to a variety of public and private sector clients, with particular emphasis on energy industry issues. He has a Bachelor of Journalism degree from The University of Texas at Austin and worked as a member of the Capitol press corps before his career in public relations / public affairs.
Ian Partridge has worked part time at the Energy Institute since joining it as a post-doctoral researcher in January 2013. He is working on setting up a Graduate Portfolio Program in Energy Studies at the University of Texas and participating in Energy Institute research projects. His research interests include the economics of renewable energy and financing of low carbon electricity generation, particularly in the developing world, the effects on human health of emissions from coal-fired electricity generation plants and environmental issues related to oil and gas production.
Dr. Partridge graduated with a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012. Before coming to the University of Texas, he worked for many years in the oil and gas industry, as a management consultant and in investment banking. He has degrees in Engineering from Cambridge University, England, and in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Aviezer Tucker
Dr. Aviezer Tucker is Assistant Director of the Energy Institute. He studies energy issues in Eastern and Central Europe. He is particularly interested in the geo-political, local-political, and social aspects of shale gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing. Dr. Tucker’s academic background is in political science, the philosophy of science, and political philosophy.
Before coming to the Energy Institute, Tucker was an IMESS EU professor in the Baltic States, and a Gvirtzman Memorial Foundation research fellow in Prague, where he also taught political science and philosophy. Previously he was a research fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra where he conducted research on deliberative democracy and technology assessment at the Department of Political Theory in the Research School of Social Science.
Tucker was the Deputy Editor of the East European Constitutional Review at the Law School of New York University and a Mellon postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Political Science of Columbia University where he researched transitional justice in post-totalitarian societies. He started his career as an RSS postdoctoral fellow at the Central European University in Prague (1992-1994) where he authored his award winning first book on the philosophy and politics of Czech dissidents. Tucker taught at the University of Texas in Austin, Charles University in Prague, CEVRO College in Prague, Queens University, New York University, Long Island University, Trinity College, Queens College, and Palacky University.
For a CV, click here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/69938049/Aviezer-Tucker-CV.
Dr. Thomas W. Grimshaw
Dr. Grimshaw’s professional interests are in energy policy, with emphasis on emerging energy technologies and resources. He has served as co-principal investigator for three projects at the Energy Institute of The University of Texas at Austin (UT). One of the projects was an evaluation of the outlook for unconventional natural gas and oil resources. Another project entailed developing the basis for science-based regulation of shale gas operations. The third project is an assessment of environmental and related effects of shale gas development utilizing the Barnett Shale in Texas as a case study area.
Dr. Grimshaw is currently leading an initiative at UT’s Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy for developing policies for dealing with secondary impacts of potential broad deployment of cold fusion as a major energy source. He is also working with National Instruments on assessing various experimental approaches to achieving cold fusion for the potential for enhanced instrumentation, data acquisition, and experimental control.
Dr. Grimshaw received the Masters degree (mid-career option) – and subsequently served as adjunct faculty – at UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. Before shifting his career to energy policy, Dr. Grimshaw had a lengthy career in environmental protection and related services. Much of his environmental work was for energy-related facilities, including oilfield waste sites, coal mines, petroleum refineries, coal-fired power plants, and synthetic fuels (coal gasification and liquefaction) plants. Dr. Grimshaw received a B.S. in Geological Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Geology at UT. His dissertation was on the environmental geology of growing urban areas, with San Marcos, Texas, as a case study.
Hua Chen is Assistant Director of the Energy Institute. She joined the Energy Institute in September 2012, and is working on REEF project. Before coming to the Energy Institute, Hua worked in different industries for more than 15 years, including Caterpillar, Honeywell International, ATK Space and Northrop Grumman. She has extensive experience in mechanical engineering, structural analysis and testing, fluid mechanics and thermal engineering, and manufacturing engineering. She received her master degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, and her bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from Shanghai JiaoTong University.
Senior Research Fellow
Michael Brenner is a Senior Research Fellow of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. He also is a Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations SAIS-Johns Hopkins, and Emeritus Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. He was the Director of the International Relations & Global Studies Program at the University of Texas until 2012.
His record of publication on a broad span of international issues is complementary to his extensive activities in the policy realm. He has been an advisor to the United States government, a consultant to global corporations, a prominent participant in the programs of leading Washington think tanks and a prolific commentator on public affairs. Brenner is the author of numerous books, and over 70 articles and published papers on a wide range of topics, and is an invited lecturer at major universities and institutes in the United States and abroad.
Executive Assistant to the Director
Claudia is the executive assistant to the director. She serves as the administrative liaison for the Energy Institute and is responsible for managing day-to-day operations, human resources and budgetary issues. Claudia has been with the University since August 1997 and with the Energy Institute since August 2009.
Christa Hopkins provides administrative support for the Energy Institute. After studying urban geography at the University of Texas at Austin, she came to work for the University in 2008. She joined the staff of the Energy Institute in November 2010.