Stanford University

ERE Seminar: Micah Ziegler (MIT) | "Enabling rapid technological change: Quantitative insights..."

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ERE Seminar: Micah Ziegler (MIT) | "Enabling rapid technological change: Quanti…
Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends
Energy Resources Engineering

Micah Ziegler| Postdoctoral Associate, MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) 

"Enabling rapid technological change: Quantitative insights from three decades of lithium-ion battery improvement"

Energy storage technologies can help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our energy system. Of the many options, lithium-ion batteries are considered especially promising. They are already helping electrify transportation and are increasingly being used to enable the integration of solar and wind energy into the grid. However, the deployment of lithium-ion and other energy storage technologies will depend, in part, on their costs and their ability to reach cost-competitiveness targets. We examine the past three decades of improvement of lithium-ion technologies to determine how substantially and rapidly they improved. We then investigate why these technologies improved. We disentangle and quantify the contributions that a variety of changes made to the overall cost decline observed for lithium-ion batteries. We examine both low-level mechanisms of cost change, such as changes in cell charge density and plant production capacities, as well as high-level mechanisms, such as research and development, learning-by-doing, and economies of scale. The results allow us to understand past improvement as well as inform research strategies, financial investments, and public policies designed to further improve electrochemical storage technologies.

Ziegler MS, Trancik JE. Energy Environ. Sci. 2021, 14, 1635–1651.

Dr. Micah S. Ziegler is a postdoctoral associate at the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He evaluates sustainable energy and chemical technologies and develops robust strategies to improve and deploy these technologies. His approach relies on collecting and curating large datasets from multiple sources and building data-informed models. His work informs research and development, public policy, and financial investment.

At MIT, Dr. Ziegler is evaluating emerging and established energy technologies, particularly energy storage. He examines how energy storage technologies have changed over time to determine how their improvement can be accelerated. He is also studying how energy storage could be used to integrate solar and wind resources into a broad energy system.

Dr. Ziegler earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.S. in Chemistry, summa cum laude, from Yale University. In graduate school, he primarily investigated dicopper complexes, including their synthesis, reactivity, catalysis, and unexpected characteristics, in order to use earth-abundant, first-row transition metals in small molecule transformations and catalysis. Before graduate school, he worked in the Climate and Energy Program at the World Resources Institute (WRI). At WRI, he explored how to improve mutual trust and confidence among parties developing international climate change policy and researched carbon dioxide capture and storage, electricity transmission, and international energy technology policy. Dr. Ziegler was also a Luce Scholar assigned to the Business Environment Council in Hong Kong, where he helped advise businesses on measuring and managing their environmental sustainability.

*If you are a Stanford Affiliate outside of Energy Resources Engineering department and would like to attend, please contact Emily Gwynn ( for the Zoom Meeting link and passcode.

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