June 2013 - In This Issue
WEG Energy Events
Upcoming Short Courses in 2013
Featured in Media
Affiliates Program
Clean Energy Jobs
Need Speakers?
Quick Links

Dear (Contact First Name),
The spring semester has finished here at UT Austin, and things are picking up for the Webber Energy Group. At the same time, energy and greenhouse gases are in the news in light of President Obama's speech earlier this week. It's clear that science-based research is one of the pathways to solving the climate challenges that were mentioned in his speech. 
In addition to many of our recent research advances (see below for some of the latest publications), we have also been active working on energy literacy. 
For example, the PBS TV special, Energy at the Movies, began national syndication on March 29th, and 78 stations in 25 states have picked up the program for 133 broadcasts. The show recently broadcast in New York City and surrounding areas on Memorial Day. For more showtimes in your viewing area, please visit our schedule.   

A few graduate students are also helping me create the forthcoming "Energy 101" MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) with online learning group edX. Registration is free and open to the public. So far more than 23,000 students have enrolled from around the world. To learn more about the September course and enroll, please visit edX.org 

Later this year, Dr. Ashlynn Stillwell, Raj Bhatarrai, and I will be offering the "Water Technology & Policy" short course, but this time with a 2-day format. I hope you can join us.  Read on for details.   


Thank you for your continued interest and support. Please join us for one of the upcoming events, and I hope to see you soon. 

Best Regards, 
Michael Webber 

Webber Energy Group Speaking Schedule & Energy Events


1st Monday of Each Month from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

  • July 1st
  • August 5th




  • "A Thirst for Power: The Global Nexus of Energy and Water" - The Austin Forum on Science, Technology & Society, Austin, TX - August 6, 2013  Full Details

If you are interested in having Dr. Webber or a member of Dr. Webber's research group speak at your conference or event, please contact:

Recent Webber Energy Group Awards, Publications & Video Abstracts


Internships, Awards, & Presentations 


  • Erin Keys, a first-year MS student in mechanical engineering and Sam Maslin, a first-year MBA student, traveled to UC Berkeley over the first weekend in April to represent team "Pecan Power" in the semifinals of the First Look West (FLoW) business plan competition.  FLoW uses funding from the Department of Energy to support and accelerate cleantech innovation like Pecan Power's concept, which is to use variable frequency drives to provide power quality support to the local distribution grid. Although Pecan Power did not advance to the finals of the FLoW competition, the team was a finalist in the UT-sponsored Idea to Product (I2P) competition, which happened later in April.  Pecan Power plans to further develop its concept over the summer in preparation for a strong appearance on the business plan competition circuit starting in Fall 2013.
  • In March, Robert Fares was invited to speak at the UT Energy Symposium, a weekly lecture organized by the University of Texas Energy Institute. Robert presented his ongoing work on applications for grid-level battery energy storage. He discussed how electricity distribution-level battery systems could help transition the electric grid towards a more intelligent, distributed architecture. In May, Robert presented an original research paper at the 223rd Meeting of the Electrochemical Society in Toronto. His paper discusses how a battery technology called "community energy storage" could isolate a portion of the electric grid during an electric outage. At the conference, Robert heard many presentations about the latest developments in advanced battery technology. Through collaboration with other researchers developing new battery chemistries, Robert hopes to understand how the latest battery technologies could improve the electric grid and reduce the cost of electricity.   
  • In early July, Yael Glazer, an Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Master's student, will present her current research to the Unconventional Oil & Gas Water Management Forum in Grapevine, Texas, organized by the Ground Water Research and Education Foundation. Yael's talk will address the cost-benefit and environmental impact of treating hydraulic fracturing wastewater onsite using distributed energy sources in Texas's Permian Basin. More information about this upcoming meeting can be found here.  
  • Jared Garrison was selected as the winner of the 2013 ASME Old Guard Early Career Award. The award was established in 1994 by the ASME Old Guard Committee and recognizes outstanding early career engineers who have advanced quickly in their professional careers, have participated in advancing their education, have shown leadership in ASME activities, and have volunteered actively in their communitiesHe will receive his award at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE) on Sunday, November 17, 2013, in San Diego. Back in February, Jared participated in the International Energy Agency's Energy Storage Technology Roadmap Stakeholder Engagement Workshop in Paris, France.  This meeting gathered together experts from across the globe to discuss the status of energy storage technologies and their most pressing technological challenges. Jared was chosen to give a presentation about the status of energy storage deployments in North America.  
  • Margaret Cook is currently interning in Washington, DC, through the Archer Center Graduate Program in Public Policy. She will be working at the Department of Energy looking at regional variability in the effects of changing climate and related policies on thermoelectric power production across the United States. Though regions often differ in policy decisions as well as in water availability, electricity supply mix, and demand patterns, they might also carry some likenesses. A comparison of regional decision-making and vulnerabilities at thermoelectric power plants across the United States could reveal these disparities and similarities and some of the best practices that sustain energy generation while still preserving the health and welfare of the public.

Student Videos

  • Four Webber Energy Group students participated in Dr. Webber's Energy Technology & Policy course at UT Austin this past semester. Participating in the course includes the creation of a video covering an energy topic of students' choice. Please enjoy the the outstanding films below.
Demand Response in the US
"Demand Response in the US"
Colin Meehan
Nuclear Infrastructure
"Nuclear Infrastructure"
Will Gorman
Grid Tie Technology
"Grid Tie Technology"
Zachary Wilhoit
Bottled Water
"Bottled Water"
Yael Glazer
















Journal Articles & Abstracts

  • "Clean Energy and Water: Assessment of Mexico for Improved Water Services and Renewable Energy" by Kelly Sanders, Carey King, Ashlynn Stillwell and Michael Webber in Journal of Environment, Development and Sustainability (2013). Abstract here.  
  • "Coherence Between Water and Energy Policies" by C.W. King, A.S. Stillwell, K.T. Sanders, and Michael E. Webber in Natural Resources Journal, 53(1), 117-215 (2013). In Print.
  • "Evaluating power generation operations in response to changes in surface water reservoir storage" by A.S. Stillwell and M.E. Webber, Environmental Research Letters, 8 025014 (2013). 15pp. In Print.
  • "Novel methodology for evaluating economic feasibility of low-water cooling technology retrofits at power plants" by A.S. Stillwell and M.E. Webber, Water Policy, 15(2), 292-308 (2013).  In Print.



  • "An Analysis of the Potential for Expanded Use of Natural Gas in the U.S. Residential Sector" by Fred Beach, Ph.D., Joshua Rhodes, Kelly Twomey Sanders and Michael Webber, Ph.D. and funded by the Mitchell Foundation. The study explored ways in which natural gas could more efficiently serve household energy needs that are traditionally met by electricity.  It also delved into the potential for residential natural gas service to serve as home fueling stations for private vehicles running on natural gas. The full study is available here.

Popular Articles, OpEds and Commentary   

  • "Energy Tech That's Made in America," by Michael E. Webber, PhD. in 
    Mechanical Engineering, April 2013. In Print. 
  • "Why is the U.S. so insecure about its energy security? Measures of energy independence show it is increasing, not decreasing" by Dr. Fred Beach in Earth Magazine, April 2013. 
    Read article here.
Upcoming Short Courses in 2013 ShortCourse
Webber, Stillwell, Bhattarai

Water Technology & Policy
with Raj Bhattarai of Austin Water Utility,
and Dr. Ashlynn Stillwell
October 22nd and 23rd 

This conference will provide participants an overview of water and its role in society. The program
includes an introduction to quantitative concepts in water, including an introduction to the hydrological cycle (including sources and types of water, flows/fluxes, and basics of hydrogeology); differences among treatment methods and technologies; water infrastructure; and societal aspects such as culture, economics, war, and international affairs. The course will cover brief snippets of water history, use real-world examples, and look toward the future.  Emphasis will be given to the role of water in Texas. 

Full Details and Registration Here.


Webber Energy Group Featured in the Media


Interviews and Quotes    

  • KUT NPR, StateImpact Texas,"When Energy Goes Hollywood: A Conversation with Michael Webber," Terrence Henry, April 18 2013. Hear interview 
Energy at the Movies   
  • Now in national syndication, Energy at the Movies can be seen on PBS from coast to coast.  Check our schedule here for a showtime in your area and also watch in full online.  
Webber Energy Group Affiliates Program

This affiliates program gives interested stakeholders, sponsors, and collaborators an opportunity to philanthropically support the Webber Energy Group's ongoing effort to help the world manage the energy transition. Affiliates can support the program through gifts targeted at 1) enhancing the leadership development of the students in the group and 2) pushing the group's research forward in different topical areas. Affiliates will be invited to join in an annual research symposium hosted at UT, where they will get an overview of the global energy situation from Dr. Webber and an advanced look at the latest results of the group's research. For a list of past and current project affiliates,
click here. Please contact Dr. Webber for more information:  webber@mail.utexas.edu
Clean Energy Jobs
Subscribe to the Clean Energy Jobs e-Newsletter from the home page. We will send updates periodically.

Graduate Student Speakers
As part of the Webber Energy Group Outreach (WEGO) Program,
members of the Webber Energy Group are available to come to Austin-area schools or events to talk about engineering, energy, and the environment. We are happy to work with students of any grade level, and we could arrange an event at your location or at UT. If you're interested in having a WEGO event for your school, please contact Marianne Shivers Gonzalez at 


Stay tuned for more updates, events, links and commentary in future Webber Energy Letters!


Michael Webber
The University of Texas at Austin