2012 Energy Storage Symposium

Hosted by the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at the Earth Institute, Columbia University

Wednesday, May 2 – Thursday May 3, 2012

9:00am-5:00pm on May 2; 9:00-12:00pm on May 3.

Symposium Overview, Goals, and Topics

Symposium Agenda

Speakers and Panelists

Selected Presentations 

Summary Report


Symposium Overview, Goals, and Topics

Transforming the global energy system and the technologies that support it into a non-fossil form will require massive research and advancement in energy storage. Over the last few years, the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at the Earth Institute, Columbia University and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) Energy Conversion/Department of Energy Conversion and Storage have held annual workshops (20102011) on how to convert low-cost, renewable energy into liquid hydrocarbon fuels. In May 2012, we expanded the technological scope to cover the full range of energy storage technologies – at grid level, micro-grid, and in buildings – that could underpin a large non-fossil energy infrastructure.

By its very nature, such a symposium requires an interdisciplinary discussion to bring out system issues in addition to the usual focus on technological details. We brought together experts from different fields to achieve a better understanding of the systems constraints, and to direct research efforts for each technology to areas where it is naturally most advantaged.

The goals of this dynamic, diverse event were to:

  • Elucidate the differences in requirements to satisfy different storage needs
  • Accentuate the complementary combination of the various technologies, rather than viewing them as competitors, and define their different economic and market niches
  • Meld concepts and visions supporting different storage technologies, and determine how their needs result in different optimizations
  • Determine how technologies’ cost and performance attributes shape their use


Sessions included:

  • Storage via electrolysis cells, e.g. hydrogen, methanol, and liquid hydrocarbon fuels
  • Electricity markets and grid- & micro-level storage options, ranging from power conditioning (flywheels, supercapacitors, etc.) to longer term storage (compressed air, hydro, and thermal)
  • The science and economics of advanced battery technologies
  • Storage for the transportation sector (batteries vs. fuel cells)


2012 Energy Storage Symposium Agenda

Click here to view (PDF)


2012 Energy Storage Symposium speakers:

   Klaus S. Lackner, Director
   Lenfest Center of Sustainable Energy
   Ewing-Worzel Professor of Geophysics
   Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University
 View Klaus Lackner’s presentation online.

Mogens Mogensen
   Mogens Mogensen, Research Professor
   DTU Department of Energy Conversion and Storage
   Renewable energy conversion and storage
 View Mogens Mogensen’s presentation online.

Bob van der Zwaan
  Bob van der Zwaan, Senior Scientist
  Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands
  Transport, electric/hydro storage, and economics
 View Bob van der Zwaan’s presentation online.

Jay Apt
   Jay Apt, Director
   Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center
   Economics & technology of grid-level electricity storage/markets
 View Jay Apt’s presentation online.

Jay Whitacre
   Jay Whitacre, Assistant Professor
   Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
   Battery technology, electro-chemistry storage and generation
 View Jay Whitacre’s presentation online.

Tim Fox
  Tim Fox, Head of Energy, Environment and Climate Change
  Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  Cryogenic energy storage
 View Tim Fox’s presentation online.

Bob Curry
  Robert E. Curry, Commissioner
  New York State Public Service Commission
  Mr. Curry will moderate a panel discussion on practical facets of electricity generation
  and storage in New York State.

Sanjoy Banerjee
  Sanjoy Banerjee, Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering
  Director of the CUNY Energy Institute
  CUNY Energy Institute

  Guy Sliker, Program Manager, Distributed Energy Resources and Energy Utilization
  New York Power Authority

John Hansen
  John Bøgild Hansen, Senior Scientist
  Haldor Topsøe A/S

Alissa Park
  Alissa Park, Assistant Director
  Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy

Mark Torpey
  Mark Torpey, Director, Clean Energy Research and Market Development
  New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

Aubrey Braz
  Aubrey Braz, Vice President, Smart Grid Technology

Vijay Modi
  Vijay Modi, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
  Columbia University

 2012 Energy Storage Symposium Sponsors:


This conference was made possible by the support of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, the Earth Institute, and the Technical University of Denmark Energy Conversion/Department of Energy Conversion and Storage. (As of January 1, 2012, the Fuel Cells and Solid State Chemistry Division, Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy is now DTU Energy Conversion/Department of Energy Conversion and Storage)

If you are interested sponsoring future Symposiums, please contact Shadan Azali, Associate Director, Corporate Relations, sazali@ei.columbia.edu.