Tim Latimer (left) and Nathan Ratledge explored the potential for expansion of geothermal electricity in East Africa. Photo by Toni Bird.
Tim Latimer, MS-MBA '17 Nathan Ratledge, PhD '21Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources
Nathan Ratledge, PhD ’21, and Tim Latimer, MS-MBA ’17, bonded over a shared interest in clean energy when they met as new students in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER).
Ratledge came to E-IPER with deep experience working on energy sustainability at the community level. Latimer, a former drilling engineer in the South Texas oil fields, chose Stanford for his MBA so he could engage with the Stanford Geothermal Program. Both were frustrated by the dearth of high-quality research on geothermal resources in Africa.
They decided to test an idea: that new technologies and the right kind of international investment could help unlock the potential of the East African Rift, one of the world’s richest geothermal resources. An E-IPER grant helped support their 2017 field research and analysis, which suggests that three of the four most likely geothermal sites in Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania are actionable from a cost perspective.
“Investors are eager to get into this space and to make a difference on energy access and sustainability,” Latimer said. “Our goal is to provide a road map that will direct investment to where it can have the most impact.”