APL Colloquium

April 30, 2021

Colloquium Topic: The U.S. Energy System in the Age of Abundance

Each year, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory publishes Sankey diagrams, or “Energy Flow Charts,” depicting the United States energy system.  These charts have their roots in the energy crisis of the 1970s, where energy scarcity was of paramount concern.  However, they are just as relevant during the ongoing transition toward clean energy in today’s era of energy abundance.  Precipitous drops in the cost of renewable energy, combined with technological advances in hydraulic fracturing have rendered the U.S. energy self-sufficient over the past decade. 

In this discussion, the speakers will introduce the charts, describe how to read them, explain how they’re made, and explore examples of energy resource, conversion, and end-use technologies.  Building on that foundation, we will discuss recent trends, as well as last year’s astonishing reduction in energy use due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Colloquium Speaker: A.J. Simon and Hannah Goldstein

A.J. Simon is the Group Leader for Energy, and the Associate Program Leader for Water Security and Technology at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. He has led diverse technology assessment and systems analysis projects across disciplines including carbon dioxide capture and drawdown, the energy-water nexus, fusion energy, nuclear fuel reprocessing, hydrogen fuel, building energy efficiency, and soldier-portable power. He is the relationship manager for the LLNL-RAND partnership to leverage science, technology and policy analysis, and is the principal investigator for LLNL’s Energy Flow Charts (http://flowcharts.llnl.gov). He served as the Scientific Editor of LLNL’s flagship magazine, Science and Technology Review (http://str.llnl.gov) in 2013, and worked at the Department of Energy's Washington DC Headquarters as a core author on the 2015 Quadrennial Technology Review (http://energy.gov/qtr). In 2018, he completed the Department of Energy’s Oppenheimer Science and Energy Leadership Program.

Prior to joining LLNL, A.J. was an analyst with the Global Climate Energy Project at Stanford University where he helped to manage a $20MM/year portfolio of university-based energy research projects. He was also a lecturer in the department of Mechanical Engineering where he taught a graduate-level course on the thermodynamics of advanced energy systems. From 2001 to 2003, A.J. was a mechanical engineer at GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY, where he developed combustion and emissions control technologies for GE’s diesel engine and gas turbine product lines. During A.J.'s graduate work at Stanford University, he demonstrated novel combustion strategies for high efficiency, low emissions automotive engines.

A.J. holds an M.S. and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

Hannah Goldstein is an Energy Technology Analyst at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) who assesses the cost and performance of technologies that reduce the environmental climate impacts of energy and materials production. During her time at LLNL, Hannah has assessed several energy technologies and policies that focus on carbon capture, reducing life cycle emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and those that produce negative emissions. Through these assessments she applies tools such as Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), techno-economic assessment (TEA) and energy system modeling.

Since starting at LLNL, Hannah has been involved in the Flow Chart initiative. Hannah is a co-leader for this initiative and is responsible for the modeling and creation of energy and carbon flow diagrams. In the past year, she has created and released energy and carbon flow diagrams at the country and state level and addressing backlog by updating all charts to the most current year of data.

Hannah holds a B.A. in Engineering with a minor in Mechanical Engineering from Lafayette College. Hannah also holds an M.S. in Energy Science, Technology and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University. Hannah is currently pursuing further education at George Washington University for an M.S. in Project Management.