Stanford University

Sector Coupling of Electricity and Gas Systems in North America Speaker List 

Day 1: Monday, September 13th

Panel 1: Challenges and Opportunities of an Integrated Energy System

NGI Director/ ERE Professor

Adam Brandt

Dr. Brandt is NGI Director and an Associate Professor in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University.  His research focuses on reducing the greenhouse gas impacts of energy production and consumption, with a focus on fossil energy systems. Research interests include life cycle assessment of petroleum production and natural gas extraction. A particular interest is in unconventional fossil fuel resources such as oil sands, oil shale and hydraulically fractured oil and gas resources. He also researches computational optimization of emissions mitigation technologies, such as carbon dioxide capture systems. Dr. Brandt received his PhD from the Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley.

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Senior Technical Executive - EPRI

Geoffrey Blanford

Dr. Geoffrey J. Blanford is a leading expert on integrated assessment and energy economy modeling.

His research activities include development of analytical tools such as the MERGE model and the US-REGEN model with applications including electricity markets, end-use electrification, and international climate policy.

Dr. Blanford is a Technical Executive and Program Manager for Energy and Climate Policy Analysis with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in Palo Alto, CA, where he has worked since 2006. He was a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report and serves as co-director of the International Energy Workshop (IEW). He holds a B.A. in mathematics from Yale University, a M.S. in operations research from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in management science and engineering from Stanford University.

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Don Chahbazpour
Director of Regulatory Strategy – Future of Heat at National Grid

Don Chahbazpour

Donald Chahbazpour is currently the Director of Regulatory Strategy – Future of Heat at National Grid. Don is leading company’s efforts to implement gas decarbonization and reduce methane emissions through policy, strategy and technology. The group is also responsible for engaging stakeholders to raise awareness regarding the potential of renewable natural gas and hydrogen, and how the gas network can enable a low carbon future. 

Before his current position, Don was the Director of Climate Change Compliance. His previous positions at National Grid include Corporate Strategy, M&A and Energy Procurement. Prior to National Grid, Don was working for a startup energy technology company focusing on emerging distributed generation technologies and related regulatory issues. 

Don has a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration (MPA) from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a Bachelor’s with honors in Mechanical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology.   

Professor - MIT

Jessika Trancik

Jessika Trancik is a Professor in the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research examines the dynamic costs, performance, and environmental impacts of energy systems to inform climate policy and accelerate beneficial and equitable technology innovation. Her projects focus on all energy services including electricity, transportation, heating, and industrial processes. This work spans solar energy, wind energy, energy storage, low-carbon fuels, electric vehicles, and nuclear fission among other technologies. Prof. Trancik received her B.S. from Cornell University and her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. She is currently an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute, and was formerly at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, and at WSP International/UNOPS (now Interpeace) in Geneva.

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George Wayne Sq
VP of Market Services - Kinder Morgan

George Wayne

George Wayne is the Vice President of Market Services for Kinder Morgan (“KMI”) Gas Pipeline Group based in Houston, TX.

George reports directly to the President and CEO of KMI Gas Pipeline Group, the largest natural gas pipeline and Midstream Company in North America. With direct reports in Chicago, Houston, Birmingham, and Colorado Springs, he is currently responsible for strategy, fundamental analysis, and analytical infrastructure in support of the commercial organizations for all gas transportation, storage, and midstream activity (regulated and unregulated) for the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

George is a BAI Certified Risk Professional; he holds a B.S. in Mineral Engineering Math and Geophysics and a M.Sc. in Energy Economics from the Colorado School of Mines. 

George’s wife, Karin, and family of five children make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Panel 2: The Role of Hydrogen in Enabling a Clean Energy Economy

NGI Managing Director

Naomi Boness

Naomi Boness (Ph.D.) is the Managing Director of the Natural Gas Initiative (NGI) at Stanford University, an affiliates program that conducts research on natural gas to maximize the environmental, social and economic benefits. Dr. Boness is an experienced practitioner in the energy sector, with expertise in reservoir geophysics, environmental management, reserves, investment analysis and strategic planning.

Prior to joining Stanford, Dr. Boness held a variety of technical and management positions at Chevron, most recently in upstream strategy and portfolio analysis, with particular emphasis on North America shale gas and global LNG projects. Her current research interests are in the use of Hydrogen and natural gas for decarbonization; optimizing shale gas developments; and eradicating energy poverty in developing countries.

Dr. Boness is an invited member of the United Nations Expert Group on Resource Classification, a member of the Renewable Natural Gas Coalition Advisory Committee, and a past Chair of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists Oil and Gas Reserves Committee. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals; she teaches a ‘Hydrogen Economy’ seminar at Stanford; she presents regularly at professional conferences; and she is the author of several online geophysics and investment courses.

Dr. Boness holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University in Geophysics, a M.Sc. from Indiana University and a B.Sc. from the University of Leeds.

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Y. Freedman
Senior Director of Business Development
SoCal Gas

Yuri Freedman

Yuri Freedman has broad experience as a developer and investor in gas infrastructure and power generation assets. In his current role of Senior Director, Business Development, he manages the portfolio of growth initiatives and R&D activities of Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas). Prior to his current role he held the position of Director, Commercial Development for Sempra LNG and Midstream, and previously held the positions of Director, Infrastructure Investments for Sempra US Gas and Power, and Director, Corporate Mergers & Acquisitions for Sempra Energy. 

Prior to joining Sempra Energy, Yuri was a Managing Director on the energy team of Fortress Investment Group and a Vice President in General Electric's energy investment arm, GE Energy Financial Services. He began his career as a geologist working in Arctic regions of Western Siberia on the development and construction of oil and gas pipelines. 

Yuri holds a MS in Engineering Geology from Moscow University (Russia), a PhD in Environmental Science and Energy Research from the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), and a MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Joe Powell
Fellow and former Director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Joe Powell

Joe Powell (Joseph B. Powell, PhD) is Fellow and former Director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and served as Shell’s first Chief Scientist – Chemical Engineering from 2006 until retiring at the end of 2020, culminating a 36-year industry career where he led R&D programs in new chemical processes, biofuels, enhanced oil recovery, and advised on R&D for energy transition to a net-zero carbon economy. He is co-inventor on more than 125 patent applications (60 granted), has received AIChE / ACS / R&D Magazine awards for Innovation, Service, and Practice, and is co-author of Sustainable Development in the Process Industries:  Cases and Impact (2010).  He chaired the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee (HTAC) and was elected to the U. S. National Academy of Engineering (2021) after serving two terms on its Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology.  PhD: U. Wisconsin-Madison (1984); BS from U. Virginia (1978), both in chemical engineering. 

Professor of Mechanical Engineering / Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy

Xiaolin Zheng

Professor Xiaolin Zheng received her Ph.D. in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University (2006), B.S. in Thermal Engineering from Tsinghua University (2000). Prior to joining Stanford in 2007, Professor Zheng did her postdoctoral work in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. Professor Zheng is a member of MRS, ACS and combustion institute. Professor Zheng received the Resonate Award from the Resnick Institute at Caltech (2016), Nano Letters Young Investigator Lectureship (2015), David Filo and Jerry Yang Scholar (2015), National Geographic Emerging Explorer Award (2014), TR35 Award from the MIT Technology Review (2013), one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers by the Foreign Policy Magazine (2013), 3M Nontenured Faculty Grant Award (2013), the Presidential Early Career Award (PECASE) from the white house (2009), Young Investigator Awards from the ONR (2008), DARPA (2008), Terman Fellowship from Stanford (2007), and Bernard Lewis Fellowship from the Combustion Institute (2004).

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