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2022 Industrial Decarbonization Symposium

On April 25, 2022, UC Davis will host an Industrial Decarbonization Symposium. This in-person event will bring together public and private sector stakeholders to discuss near- and medium-term opportunities for decarbonization of California’s industry. Conversations will explore ways industry, utilities, regulators, and researchers can partner together to advance cost-effective solutions that reduce GHG emissions and increase resiliency and load flexibility. While the focus of this symposium will be on California, the solutions explored will be relevant nationally and internationally.

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female scientist examining water

Leaks an Untapped Opportunity for Water Savings

Before a drop of treated water in California ever reaches a consumer’s faucet, about 8% of it has already been wasted due to leaks in the delivery system. Nationally, the waste is even higher, at 17%. This represents an untapped opportunity for water savings, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. 

The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, is the first large-scale assessment of utility-level water loss in the United States. It found that leak reduction by utilities can be the most cost-effective tool in an urban water manager’s toolkit, provided utility-specific approaches are used. 

“When I first heard about ‘leaks’ I thought it sounded boring, but leaks are a huge component of our water systems and have a larger opportunity than many other water-saving methods to make an impact,” said lead author Amanda Rupiper, a postdoctoral scholar with the UC Davis Center for Water-Energy Efficiency. “As the first state to regulate its water losses, a lot of eyes are watching California, and this is an opportunity to impact policy here and elsewhere.”

Amid a multiyear drought, the passage of Senate Bill 555 in 2015 made California the first in the nation and among the first in the world to require water utilities to regulate their water losses.

Be Specific

Using data from more than 800 utilities across California, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas, the authors characterized water losses across the country. They developed a model to assess the economically efficient level of losses, and used that model to compare various water loss regulations and modeling approaches.

The study found that one-size-fits-all approaches to leak management are not effective, economical or equitable for utilities, which vary in size and resources. Uniform approaches could lead to the mismanagement of urban water losses. However, applying utility-specific performance standards can deliver a similar amount of water savings at a profit for both utilities and society.

“Regulations that impose a uniform standard across all utilities will result in water reductions that are too stringent in some cases, too relaxed in others, and too costly overall,” the paper concludes.

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UC Davis Industrial Decarbonization Symposium 2022

Monday, April 25, 2022
8:30am to 6pm
Conference Center at UC Davis

On April 25, 2022, UC Davis hosted an Industrial Decarbonization Symposium. This in-person event brought together over 150 public and private sector stakeholders to discuss near- and medium-term opportunities for decarbonization of California’s industry. Conversations explored ways industry, utilities, regulators, and researchers can partner together to advance cost-effective solutions that reduce GHG emissions and increase resiliency and load flexibility. While the focus of this symposium was on California, the solutions explored were relevant nationally and internationally.


8:30 – 9:00 am


9:00 – 9:30 am

Welcome and Introduction

Kelly Kissock, Faculty Director, UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute
(Presentation Slides)

9:30 – 10:00 am

Opening Keynote: California’s Role in Industrial Decarbonization

Patty Monahan, Commissioner, California Energy Commission
(Presentation Slides)

10:00 – 10:30 am


10:30 – 11:50 am

Path to Sustainable Manufacturing

Eric Masanet, Professor and Mellicamp Chair in Sustainability Science for Emerging Technologies, UC Santa Barbara
(Presentation Slides)

Ahmad Ganji, Mechanical Engineering Program Head and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, San Francisco State University
Energy Efficiency & Decarbonization – Experience in Industrial Plants
(Presentation Slides)

Steve Mulqueen, Senior Program Engineer, Cascade Energy
Improving Energy Intensity in the Food, Beverage, and Distributions Sectors: Common Opportunities with Substantial Results
(Presentation Slides)

Ryan Harty, Department Head, Connected and Environmental Business Development, American Honda Motor Company
Decarbonization at Honda. Scope 1-2-3. Easy!

11:50 – 1:00 pm

Networking Lunch

1:00 – 1:15 pm

Afternoon KickOff Keynote

Fabian Bühler, Advisor, Center for Global Cooperation-Danish Energy Agency
Industrial Decarbonization Insights from a European Front Runner
(Presentation Slides)

1:15 – 2:50 pm

Electrification and Load Shaping

Mike Marelli, Vice President, Business Customer Division, Southern California Edison

Scott Crider, Vice President of Customer Services, San Diego Gas & Electric
Decarbonization Roadmap for California
(Presentation Slides)

Kurt Waldner, Senior Product Manager, Malta Inc
Climate Friendly Industry: Green Heat and Power
(Presentation Slides)

Benjamin Zühlsdorf, Product Manager, Energy and Climate, Danish Technological Institute
Decarbonizing Industrial Process Heating with High-Temperature Heat Pumps – State of the Art, Ongoing Developments and Perspectives
(Presentation Slides)

2:50 – 3:15 pm


3:15 – 4:50 pm

Low Carbon Materials, Fuels and Solutions

Dave Vernon, Co-Director of Engineering, UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute and Western Cooling Efficiency Center
(Presentation Slides)

Kim Nichum, Chief Technical Officer and Founder, Alpha-E
Using Concentrated Solar Power to Produce Thermal Heat and Clean Water
(Presentation Slides)

Darin Rice, General Manager of Hydrogen Strategy and Market Insights, Chevron
Innovation, Partnership, and Policy for a Successful Energy Transition
(Presentation Slides)

Yuri Freedman, Senior Director of Business Development, SoCalGas
Role of Hydrogen in Industrial Decarbonization
(Presentation Slides)

Alissa Kendall, Professor, UC Davis Civil and Environmental Engineering
Life Cycle Assessment in Decarbonization Strategies
(Presentation Slides)

4:50 – 5:00 pm

Closing and Wrap-up

Kelly Kissock, Faculty Director, UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute

5:00 – 6:00 pm

Happy Hour


Scott Crider

Senior Vice President, Customer Services and External Affairs

San Diego Gas and Electric

Yuri Freedman

Senior Director of Busness Development


Ahmad Ganji

Mechanical Engineering Program Head and Professor of Mechanical Engineering

San Francisco State University

Ryan Harty

Department Head, Connected and Environmental Business Development

American Honda Motor Company

Alissa Kendall

Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering 

UC Davis

Kelly Kissock

Faculty Director

UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute

headshot of Michael Marelli

Michael Marelli

Vice President, Business Customer Division

Southern California Edison

Eric Masanet

Professor and Mellicamp Chair in Sustainability Science for Emerging Technologies

UC Santa Barbara

Patty Monahan


California Energy Commission

Steve Mulqueen

Senior Program Engineer

Cascade Energy

Kim Nichum

Chief Technical Officer and Founder


Fabian Bühler


Center for Global Cooperation – Danish Energy Agency

Darin Rice

General Manager of Hydrogen Strategy and Market Insights


Dave Vernon

Co-Director of Engineering

UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute / Western Cooling Efficiency Center

Kurt Waldner

Senior Product Manager 

Malta Inc. 

Benjamin Zühlsdorf 

Product Manager, Energy and Climate 

Danish Technological Institute 


Health & Safety Information

We will be following all UC Davis guidelines regarding COVID-19. We will send specific requirements to all registered attendees. 

Hotel Information

We have a room block at the nearby Hyatt Hotel for Sunday and Monday, April 24th and 25th. Please click here for more information

Symposium Support

We are grateful for the support of our partners.


If you have any questions about this event or need assistance with your registration, please contact:

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Egret standing on solar panels

Floating Solar Panels Could Be the Next Big Thing in Clean Energy

Solar panels can be placed on your roof, on a plot of land, or basically anywhere else where they  are anchored to something solid. That said, there are only so many solid spaces available to install them. To beat climate change, our electricity mix is going to need a lot more renewable energy systems to take over fossil fuels.  Many in the solar industry are looking for a new home for solar panels—possibly even floating on water.

Floating solar farms have been around for over a decade, but water-bound panels became much more prominent in the last few years. The basic idea is to attach solar panels to plastic floats which then drift on a body of water. These floating solar arrays are typically placed on man-made bodies of water—a town’s water reservoir, an irrigation reservoir, a water treatment facility—as to avoid interfering with plant and animal species that live in natural bodies of water. For instance, the United States’ largest floating solar farm sits on a wastewater pond in California and has a nearly five megawatt capacity.

The floating solar industry is expected to grow dramatically over the next decade, but only about two percent of this year’s new solar installations are water-bound.  

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Market Transformation Research Group Publishes Study on Human Factors and Indoor Air Quality in Schools

Classrooms are often under-ventilated, posing risks for airborne disease transmission as schools have reopened amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While technical solutions to ensure adequate air exchange are crucial, this research focuses on teachers’ perceptions and practices that may also have important implications for achieving a safe classroom environment. We report on a (pre- pandemic) survey of 84 teachers across 11 California schools, exploring their perceptions of environmental quality in relation to monitored indoor environmental quality (IEQ) data from their classrooms. Teachers were not educated regarding mechanical ventilation. Errors in HVAC system installation and programming contributed to misunderstandings (because mechanical ventilation was often not performing as it should) and even occasionally made it possible for teachers to turn off the HVAC fan (to reduce noise). Teachers did not accurately perceive (in)sufficient ventilation; in fact, those in classrooms with poorer ventilation were more satisfied with IEQ, likely due to more temperature fluctuations when ventilation rates were higher combined with occupants’ tendency to conflate perceptions of air quality and temperature. We conclude that classroom CO2 monitoring and teacher education are vital to ensure that teachers feel safe in the classroom and empowered to protect the health of themselves and their students.

Read Journal Article

WCEC Newly Published Journal Article on Greenhouse Gas Emission Forecasts for Residential Heat Pumps

This study aims to inform policymakers about the greenhouse gas emission impacts of heat pump deployment in residential homes. Electric heat pumps eliminate direct burning of fossil fuels in homes but result in indirect emissions due to fossil fuels burned for electricity production. This paper presents the first detailed emission forecasts for operating either a heat pump or gas furnace for residential heating over a 15-year period, starting in year 2022 through 2036, in six regions across the US. The study accounted for long-run marginal emissions from electricity generation, emissions from natural gas combustion in homes, and fugitive methane and refrigerant emissions from leaks. The population weighted US average results show emission reductions for a heat pump over furnace to be 38–53% for carbon dioxide, 53–67% for 20-Year global warming potential (GWP), and 44–60% for 100-Year GWP, with reductions increasing over time. The impact of fugitive emissions from the furnace is significantly higher than that of the heat pump. While more energy efficient construction reduces overall emissions for both heating types, the forecasted percent emission reduction for replacement of a gas furnace with heat pump was not impacted by changes in home construction parameters.

Read Journal Article

R-466A Refrigerant Demonstration and Performance

Refrigerants used in vapor-compression air conditioners and heat pumps have been the subject of environmental regulations requiring the need to develop alternative solutions with lower global warming potential (GWP). In general, there is a trade-off when choosing alternative refrigerants between safety, performance, and GWP.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has approved a new regulation requiring refrigerants used in all new stationary residential air conditioning systems to have a 100-year GWP value of 750 or less. For reference, the most common refrigerant currently used in unitary air conditioning equipment is R-410A, which has a 100-year GWP of 2,088.

A number of refrigerant solutions have been developed to meet the CARB GWP requirement, but the majority of these refrigerants have a low level of flammability (A2L). While there are strategies for mitigating the risk of using flammable refrigerants, finding a non-flammable solution presents the easiest path to market and would not require additional safety controls and updates to codes and standards.

Read the Case Study

Energy Graduate Group Virtual Information Session

Thursday, December 16, 2021  |  2pm – 3:30pm PST

UC Davis’ Energy Graduate Group (EGG) is designed to meet the world’s growing need for highly qualified, thoughtful and dedicated leaders in sustainable energy systems. EGG offers MS and PhD degrees in Energy Systems in two tracks of study: Energy Science & Technology and Energy Policy & Management. Students take relevant coursework from across the UC Davis campus and conduct interdisciplinary research to address pressing environmental, economic, policy, and social challenges related to energy production and consumption facing California, the U.S., and the world.

In this Virtual Information Session you can:

  • Learn more about the Energy Graduate Group
  • Talk with students and faculty
  • Discover what research faculty are conducting
  • Find out about the application and admissions process

Watch Video

Large-Scale Solar can Cool Nearby Areas

Scientists from the University of California-Davis, Lancaster University, and Ludong University in China published research showing that utility-scale solar facilities can have a cooling effect not only on the land covered by the array, but also in the surrounding area.

Solar facilities were found to produce “cool islands” that extend up to 700 meters from the boundaries of the arrays. Land surface temperature was reduced by up to 2.3 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) at 100 meters away; the cooling effects tapered off exponentially to 700 meters.

Studies of two solar parks–the 300 MW Stateline project in California and the 850 MW Longyangxia project in China–were conducted using Landsat satellite images, an approach the researchers said had not previously been applied to solar. The study team compared land surface temperatures around solar facilities before and after they were built. The Stateline solar park measurements were supplemented with ground-collected data.

The researchers hypothesized that the cooling was caused by a combination of shading and insulating the land surface, and by the direct conversion of energy into electricity by the solar panels.

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Student-Built Air Purifiers Tackle Wildfire Smoke and Covid-19: UC Davis Engages Students with Hands-On Citizen Science

Students at Rio Tierra Junior High School in Sacramento build a portable air cleaner using a box fan and high efficiency air filters.

Schools are facing many challenges this fall, including minimizing risks to students and staff from Covid-19 and wildfire smoke exposure. Air purifiers are one tool that can help.

Researchers from the UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute (EEI) partnered with science teachers at Rio Tierra Junior High School in Sacramento to teach a two-day lesson on air quality and build 30 portable air cleaners with approximately 150 8th grade students. The portable air cleaners will be distributed to every classroom on campus.

Knowledge to action

“It is really important to empower students and help them understand indoor and outdoor pollution sources, and how to measure and improve indoor air quality,” explained UC Davis researcher and project lead Theresa Pistochini. The lesson culminated with groups of 4-5 students constructing do-it-yourself (DIY) portable air cleaners using a Corsi-Rosenthal cube design, which uses a box fan and four filters with a MERV 13 rating. The materials for each air cleaner cost $75. Each air cleaner is expected to provide about the same amount of air cleaning effectiveness as small commercially available portable air cleaners that cost about $200.

Science teachers Amber Mitchell and Kathryn Graf planned the visit with UC Davis researchers Theresa Pistochini and Robert McMurry. “I love having outside speakers come in. Air quality is such a relevant topic that we are able to teach the kids about,” Mitchell said. “We are always trying to relate science to current events and student’s lives. There’s not much more relatable right now than making air purifiers to help our school.”

Students at Rio Tierra Junior High School in Sacramento investigate filter samples of various filtration efficiencies and discuss their observations with science teacher Amber Mitchell.

Importance of air quality

“Air quality is such an important topic that historically has not received much attention. I hope that our outreach to students will encourage them to think about the air they breathe, and consider engineering and environmental science as a career path,” Pistochini said. “While investments in permanent ventilation and filtration systems are the best way to improve indoor air quality long-term, portable air cleaners are a quick way to achieve some immediate benefits.”

Principal Adam Sinor supported the project and visited the classrooms to see the air cleaner construction in action. “With the wildfires and Covid, and the way Covid is spread through aerosols, it’s a way kids can take action to make their internal environment better and learn science and engineering at the same time,” Sinor said.

UC Davis researcher Theresa Pistochini working with students to build a portable air cleaner.

Project support

This project was funded by the UC Davis Sustainable Campus, Sustainable Cities initiative, which received funding from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Sustainable Community Program. The initiative aims to engage K-12 students in energy-oriented STEM education, using experiential learning as well as citizen and community science to empower students to measure, analyze, understand, and manage their environment.

Media contacts

Theresa Pistochini, UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center, 916-612-6418,
Kat Kerlin, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-752-7704,

Media sources

DIY Portable Air Cleaner Testing –
Photos –