MIT Reports to the President 1995-96


The Energy Laboratory and its associated Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR) are multidisciplinary organizations bringing together sectors of the MIT community with research interests related to energy supply, conversion, policy, technology, and utilization and associated environmental, economic, geographical, and societal impacts. Our mission is to conduct research, educate students, and perform public service in support of economically sound, globally conscious, and environmentally responsible energy policies and technologies.


In May, the activities of the Energy Laboratory were reviewed by our External Advisory Board which is composed of eighteen senior executives from the public and private sectors. The chairman, Joseph Moore (President of Bonner and Moore Associates), submitted a report to Dean David Litster on behalf of the thirteen members attending the review. The Board found that the Energy Laboratory and its MIT partners have created a unique ability to address important research areas that reflect the confluence of technology, economics, politics, science, and social forces. A number of constructive suggestions were offered to enhance the Energy Laboratory's ability to connect our faculty and their research interests to potential sponsors in industry and government.


Professor John Heywood was chosen this year as the winner of the US Department of Transportation (DOT) National Award for Advancement of Motor Vehicle Research. Professor Adel Sarofim received the US Department of Energy (DOE) Homer H. Lowry Award, which honors outstanding achievement in fossil energy research and development. Dr. Victor Wong and co-authors won a Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Arch T. Colwell Merit Award for a 1994 paper which was judged one of about the top ten papers of the several thousand published by the society each year. Professor Simone Hochgreb received the 1996 SAE Ralph R. Teetor Award for her contributions to teaching and research and participation in student extracurricular activities.



Many of the Laboratory's projects involve quantitative and cross-disciplinary study of complex energy and environmental systems. The Sloan Automotive Laboratory, directed by Professor John Heywood and managed by Dr. Victor Wong, with sponsorship that includes three consortia (Engine Research, Engine/Fuels Interactions, Engine Lubrication), is continuing promising research to improve fuel economy and utilization within the engine and reduce adverse emissions. Research in the automotive area is being extended to marine engines in a Department of Transportation Maritime Administration sponsored program to evaluate strategies for reducing particulate pollutants from diesel engines for marine vessels. [$1.2 million support]

Energy Laboratory collaboration with the Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS - directed by Professor William Thilly) seeks to determine how combustion emissions and effluents from treatment of hazardous wastes may lead to adverse human health impacts. The Energy Laboratory is an active member of the Program for Environmental Engineering Education and Research (PEEER) under the leadership of Professor David Marks and has also worked over the years with the Building Technology program (led by Professor Leon Glicksman) in research on energy efficient, "healthy" buildings. Professor Jefferson Tester is a member of the Provost's Council on the Environment.

Professor Sarofim is leading an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Exploratory Research Center on sources, atmospheric transport and transformation, monitoring, and control of airborne organic compounds, staffed with colleagues from MIT, the California Institute of Technology, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. MIT scientists participating in the Center's research projects include Professors Janos Beér, Heywood, Hochgreb, Jack Howard, Gregory McRae, Sarofim, and John Vander Sande. In addition to the research, the Center hosted a Summer Symposium entitled Effective Technologies for Reducing Vehicle Emissions, which was chaired by Professors Heywood and Robert Sawyer (Berkeley). [$1.3 million support] In another multi-university initiative, several Energy Laboratory researchers are involved with the Emission Reduction Research Center (ERRC), which is headquartered at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Professor Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos (Tufts) is the associate director coordinating the MIT research programs, which seek new methodologies for preventing pollutant formation and for reducing or eliminating industrial pollutant emissions. [$570K support]

Professor Leon Glicksman continues an active research program on pressurized fluidized bed combustors with special emphasis on scaling laws for moving from model experiments to full size combustor designs. [$275K]

Continuing our prior internationally visible work relating to technologies for carbon dioxide mitigation through capture and sequestration of fossil-fueled power plant emissions, we are conducting a study for the DOE to investigate the potential environmental impacts of ocean disposal of carbon dioxide. Howard Herzog of the Energy Laboratory and Dr. Eric Adams of the Parsons Laboratory are leading the team for this project. Mr. Herzog has also procured funding for and organized the Third International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Removal, to be held at MIT in September 1996 when it is the North American turn to be host. There are obvious synergies between mitigation technologies and the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change (described further under the CEEPR), which we hope to highlight in conjunction with this meeting. [$250K support] Mr. Herzog, Professor Nazli Choucri, and Dr. Elisabeth Drake also completed studies relating to energy technology comparisons and the roles of energy technology choices under sustainability goals under the direction of the International Energy Agency with sponsorship from NEDO (Japan). Case studies were done for China and India, and technology and implementation agreement data bases were developed. [$110K support]

Professor Kent Hansen and Dr. Malcolm Weiss are continuing research sponsored by the DOE related to management of nuclear waste from the DOE weapons program. Present work is related to the Hanford waste tank system. The waste stored in the tanks represents one of the most significant public risks in the entire weapons complex. Management of the operations of the system is very complex technically and administratively. The research focuses upon developing a system dynamics model of the waste tank management and operations to permit simulation of performance for a variety of policy options. Results will assist DOE in developing management strategies under a variety of possible future decision alternatives regarding regulations, finances, and technology developments. [$255K support]

The Electric Utility Program (EUP), directed by Mr. Stephen Connors, is jointly sponsored by over twenty-five electric utility companies, equipment manufacturers, and fuel suppliers, and the DOE. EUP facilitates the development of collaboratively funded electric industry related research by bringing together MIT faculty and researchers with EUP members through an annual series of workshops and meetings. Topics discussed at these meetings over the past year have focused on issues relevant to the evolving competitive electric industry structure. Prominent among them were analytic techniques and technologies which allow the industry to get the most out of the existing infrastructure and presentation of management approaches to help industrial sponsors better utilize resources to compete in the future. Separate workshops focused on corporate planning and the management of technology techniques for utilities and enhanced utilization of power system operations and resources. The annual planning meeting, entitled Strategic R&D for Innovation and Competition, highlighted almost every department within the School of Engineering as it reviewed the advanced monitoring and control techniques for electricity generation, transmission and distribution, and management of customer loads, and discussed new technological opportunities under competition. [$160K support]

The Analysis Group for Regional Electricity Alternatives (AGREA), also directed by Mr. Connors, continued its long-standing project sponsored by New England's electric utilities, analyzing cost-effective ways to meet environmental regulation, including the performance of cap and trade type systems for NOx control, and the issues of resource diversity and electrotechnology performance under competition. In addition to its work with the New England utilities, AGREA worked with the Tennessee Valley Authority to communicate about its electric power options with its customers, and has been developing an enhanced application of its multi-attribute tradeoff analysis approach with ETH in Switzerland under the Alliance for Global Sustainability. [$150K support]

The MIT Energy Laboratory organized and is managing the University Research Consortium (URC) for the Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies Company, the management and operations contractor for the DOE's Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL). The purpose of the URC is to help INEL in its reorientation to new goals set by DOE for its national laboratories. Those goals include developing new technologies useful in our competitive economy or in meeting national needs such as environmental management. Key MIT participants are Professors Tester and Mujid Kazimi as co-Principal Investigators for the URC, Drs. Drake and Weiss as co-Directors, and Professors Thomas Eagar, Michael Golay, and Kenneth Smith, as heads, respectively, of the three research areas of the program: engineering systems, nuclear technology, and environmental technology.

The URC Program consists of a portfolio of research projects funded by INEL and conducted at universities in the US. In order to help reorient the INEL and to ensure commercial relevance, each project is intended to have at least one active collaborator on the INEL staff and at least one active collaborator from the private sector; INEL collaboration has not been fully realized yet because of funding limitations. URC projects in the current portfolio are the outcome of a solicitation and review process that began in February 1995. In response to a published solicitation, MIT received 620 prospectuses (3-page informal proposals) from 80 universities in 41 states. Invitations to submit formal proposals were extended to 133 prospectus-writers. Of those proposals, 47 were awarded funds (including 17 at MIT) totaling $7.63 million in fiscal 1996, distributed among 23 universities in 17 states. Funding decisions were made after peer review by Lockheed Martin Idaho management on recommendation of a committee consisting of representatives of MIT, INEL, and DOE. Most current projects will run for three years each. [$8.7 million support, including $4.2 million in subcontracts to other universities].

Several different programs are under way in the area of Advanced Energy and Manufacturing Technologies. A major collaborative program between MIT and the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, with funding from DOE Basic Energy Sciences, seeks new engineering understanding to improve efficiency and materials conservation in energy-intensive processes. This program, with one project led by Professor David Parks and another collaborative project involving Professors Eagar, David Hardt, and Jeffrey Lang, is directed by Professor Hardt and managed by Dr. Drake. [$530K support]

The Energy Laboratory is in the fourth year of a multi-year grant proposal from the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for "Research and Assessment Studies in Support of DOE Programs" including analytical capabilities development for research and development and technology transfer related to improved resource conservation and environmental quality. This grant, managed by Dr. Drake, funded a research project completed this year on oil and gas reserve valuation (Professor Morris Adelman). A current project addressing the development of R&D planning methods, considering energy, environmental, and economic benefits of alternatives related to processing and use of advanced materials, is led by Professor Joel Clark; Dr. Marija Ilic, looking towards needs of a restructured electric transmission and distribution system, is leading a third project focusing on effective energy management under competition with real-time controls, accounting, and supporting systems. She is collaborating with Dr. Richard Tabors in another project looking at modeling, control systems, and dynamic pricing for a distributed utility in an imperfect market. Another major project, directed by Professors Marks, Fred Moavenzadeh, and John Sterman is developing planning tools for municipal solid waste managers and industries. This program is an outgrowth of prior initiatives on industrial ecology using simulation models for life cycle analysis of technological alternatives considering environmental, safety, and economic trade-offs. Dr. Ellerman is conducting another project studying the price and productivity change in the US coal industry. [$540K support]

Professors Yet-Ming Chiang and Jackie Ying are the co-investigators for A Research Needs Assessment for Future Use of Nanofabricated Materials in Energy Applications, a project supported by the DOE Office of Energy Research. Groups of experts discussed potential applications of nanoscale technologies to catalysis; separations processes; photovoltaics and photochemistry; batteries, fuel cells, and sensors; structural ceramics, coatings, and hard materials; and to other promising energy applications. A final report on this work has recently been published. [$90K support]

Under the University Research Initiative of the Department of Defense, a five-year fundamental and applied research program on the use of chemical reactors for supercritical water oxidation of military toxic wastes is being conducted for the Army Research Office (ARO). Goals are to develop new understanding of important chemical and physical processes for successfully applying this technology, e.g., how rapidly and completely wastes can be destroyed, how fouling of vessel surfaces by solids can be minimized, how solid byproducts can be separated, and how corrosion of processing construction materials can be controlled. A major objective is to use this understanding to develop reactor models and process flowsheet simulations that will aid in the eventual implementation of the technology. The project team is led by Professor Tester and involves Professors David Cory, Peter Griffith, Jonathan Harris, Howard, Ronald Latanision, and Kenneth Smith, Dr. William Peters, and Mr. Herzog. Other work supported by Sandia (Livermore) focuses on kinetic studies pertinent to destruction of wastes of interest to DOD. Still other studies address use of supercritical fluids for improved synthesis of organic chemicals, e.g., replacements for environmentally hazardous solvents and/or improved synthetic pathways (Professors Tester and Rick Danheiser). [$780K support]


The CEEPR is an activity, jointly sponsored at MIT by the Energy Laboratory, the Department of Economics, and the Alfred P. Sloan School of Management, that funds policy-related research in energy and environmental economics. The Center and the associated Joint Program receive financial support from 24 corporate sponsors, four agencies of the US government, and the Norwegian government.

For the past three years, CEEPR's principal research focus has been the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, jointly sponsored with MIT's Center for Global Change Science, and with the collaboration of the Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory. This program, led by Professors Henry Jacoby and Ronald Prinn, draws on MIT's traditional strengths in science and economics to conduct interdisciplinary work to support global climate policy. A significant milestone was achieved in the past year: fully interacting runs of the heretofore separate components of the Integrated Global Systems Model. The component submodels address: 1. anthropogenic emissions and policy assessment, 2. atmospheric chemistry, 3. natural sources and sinks of greeenhouse gas emissions, and 4. terrestrial ecosystems.

This past year was the first of a two-year evaluation of compliance with the acid rain provisions of the Clean Air Act

Amendments of 1990 by CEEPR. These provisions are remarkable for use of fully tradable sulfur emission permits instead of command and control regulation. Initial results from this innovative method of achieving compliance with environmental objectives are very encouraging. The first year of the project has been devoted to obtaining the data on 1995, the first year of compliance, and performing preliminary analyses on different aspects of the allowance trading market. [$290K support]


Professor Jefferson Tester, is the Director of the Energy Laboratory, supported by Associate Directors Dr. Elisabeth Drake and Dr. William Peters. John F. O'Brien, Jr. is the new Administrative Officer, replacing Susan Guralnik. The CEEPR is directed by Professor Richard Schmalensee, with Dr. A. Denny Ellerman, Executive Director, and Joan E. Bubluski, Administrative Assistant.

For more than 20 years, the Energy Laboratory has sustained a unique organizational structure to develop and implement strong single- and multi- disciplinary energy-related work at MIT. It provides a variety of research opportunities for students at all levels - from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program to postdoctoral studies. Our research programs in Fiscal `96 involved about 50 undergraduates and 130 graduate students, along with about 58 associated faculty members from twelve Academic Departments representing all five of MIT's Schools.

With a fairly small, low-turnover staff, the Energy Laboratory has limited opportunities for recruitment. However, we are attentive to the goals of affirmative action and committed to increasing the representation of minorities and women on our staff. One of the two Associate Directors is female.


Under the leadership of the Program in Environmental Engineering Education and Research , the Alliance for Global Sustainability is a major new collaboration between MIT, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH - Switzerland), and the University of Tokyo. As part of the Alliance, several Energy Laboratory researchers are developing collaborative proposals among the universities. Dr. Drake is participating in an overall "framing" project; Professor Heywood is involved in a collaboration on sustainable transport and economic development; several faculty are formulating a program on developing planning models for cleaner technologies and processes; Dr. Ilic and others are looking at interconnected electric power systems in the 21st century, building analysis tools and multicriteria optimization models; Mr. Connors and others are studying decision-making processes in the electricity sector under sustainability constraints; and Mr. Herzog is leading a project on CO2 mitigation strategies.

The Energy Laboratory is coordinating a national program aimed at developing new technologies for rapid drilling, tunneling, and cavity creation in rock formations. Under the leadership of Professor Carl Peterson, a National Advanced Drilling and Excavation Technologies Institute has been established at MIT with initial funding from the DOE. The role of the NADET Institute is to facilitate research, development, demonstration, and commercialization of advanced technologies for industries that depend critically on drilling and excavation operations and for the manufacturers that supply those industries. With substantial and continuing guidance from participating industries, the Institute will plan, monitor, and coordinate programs ranging from basic research to commercial demonstration of advanced systems. NADET Institute activities during the first year of operations have included: holding a series of introductory and information gathering workshops with the involved industries, establishing contacts throughout the relevant industry, government, and academic communities, and initiating approximately $1 million of support in a variety of advanced drilling technology research programs.

We continue to work for expanded governmental and private sector support for research, development, and demonstration projects on hot dry rock geothermal and hydrothermal energy resources. A sizable MIT-led program to analyze several years of data from the DOE Fenton Hill Hot Dry Rock Field Station has been proposed (Professor Tester and Mr. Herzog).

Mr. Herzog's continuing research on CO2 mitigation and environmental effects of ocean disposal with Dr. Adams and others may be expanded if MITI (Japan) decides in late 1996 to make ocean disposal of CO2 a national program. Based on our prior work which has been funded by groups in Japan and elsewhere, MIT has been approached about participation in an international research program associated with the potential national ocean disposal program in Japan. If this materializes, it will also help leverage further research support from the DOE.

New collaborations with the MIT Earth Resources Laboratory are being pursued. Dr. Roger Turpening and Professor Nafi Toksoz are developing initiatives to apply seismographic diagnostics to study hazardous nuclear wastes stored in tanks like those at the DOE Hanford site. Professor Dale Morgan is investigating opportunities for United Nations supported MIT collaboration with researchers in several Caribbean nations to explore and advance the use of geothermal energy in that region.

New initiatives have been proposed to NSF and DOE to apply optical diagnostics to waste destruction and chemical synthesis processing in supercritical fluids (Professors Jeffrey Steinfeld, Tester, Danheiser, and Dr. Peters). DOE support is also being sought for applying nuclear magnetic resonance imaging to diagnosis of mixing, transport, and other physicochemical properties of supercritical water (Professors Kenneth Smith, Tester, and Corey). We also are in the early stages of planning an MIT-led international industrial consortium to sponsor enabling R&D for applying supercritical water and other supercritical fluids to waste destruction, chemical synthesis, and separations.

With the help of a significant grant from the National Science Foundation, the Joint Program has initiated a new research effort on the interaction of local and global pollution. This research is driven by the recognition that the local pollution will be acted upon much sooner than greenhouse gas emissions, and that local pollution is a significant contributor, positively and negatively, to global warming.

In the past year, CEEPR has created a unique mine level data base for coal mining that will provide the basis for continuing research over the next few years into the microeconomic bases of observed productivity change and related phenomenon of declining price and apparent chronic over-capacity.

Jefferson W. Tester

MIT Reports to the President 1995-96