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:

Ali Loge

Dessouky, Nermin

Nermin is a Ph.D. candidate in Urban Geography at the University of California, Davis. Nermin has an M.Sc. in Sustainable Development, focusing on urban policy from the American University in Cairo and a Bachelor of Architecture. Prior to joining UC Davis, Nermin worked with the Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment to examine the quest for urban sustainability in the MENA region. Nermin uses systems thinking to navigate conflicts in design and use values between different actors. Her work examines the interrelations between branding, communication, and the performance of sustainable neighborhoods. Nermin design studies to explore perceptions, expectations, and use values of sustainability and the built environment. Since coming to UC, Davis Nermin has served as a grant application advisor for The Green Initiative Fund. Nermin also worked with the Energy and Efficiency Institute on several projects related to micro-mobility, non-energy impacts, and building user interfaces.

Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nermin-Dessouky-2

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nermin-dessouky/

Alston-Stepnitz, Eli

Eli Alston-Stepnitz is a PhD Candidate in Sociology, and holds an M.A. in Sociology. Prior to UC Davis, Eli worked as a researcher in the Health Equity Institute at San Francisco State University. He is interested in decarbonization and electrification especially as they intersect with access and equity. Specifically he is interested in the ways underrepresented groups and individuals are impacted by new technologies. Since coming to UC Davis he has worked in several different institutes on projects related to electrification including ones that focus on micromobility, alternative fuel vehicles, medium and heavy-duty fleets, commercial and residential technologies, and affordable housing. 


Photo of Dave Vernon in the WCEC Lab

Vernon, David

David Vernon

David has a B.S. in Materials Engineering from the University of Wisconsin Madison, M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Davis with a focus on energy systems. David is a member of the UC Davis Institute for Energy and Efficiency, a research center focused on energy efficiency in buildings. David’s research focuses on cost optimal pathways to achieve zero net energy buildings, indoor air quality, sustainable energy systems, and developing tools to overcome market barriers that prevent adoption of efficient energy solutions. Previously David was a professor in the Environmental Resources Engineering Department at Humboldt State University with teaching and research in sustainable energy science and technology. Past work includes research, development, and commercialization of fuel cells and hydrogen production technologies, as well as waste heat recovery, and waste resources utilization through work at the Schatz Energy Research Center, UC Davis, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Polyfuel a startup spinoff from SRI, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and W.L. Gore and Associates.

Alumni Panel

Magdalena Brum, Project Engineer, kW Engineering
Jeff Gleeson, Product Manager, Google
Michael Lingenfelter, Assistant Vice President, Relationship Manager, CleanTech Corporate Banking Group, Wells Fargo
Host: Energy Graduate Group
Date: 12/7/2018
Time: 10:30am to 11:50am
Location: 215 Sage Street, Room 1104, West Village, UC Davis

The New Energy Majors: Wind and Solar College Degrees

The New Energy Majors: Wind and Solar College Degrees

Outlet Full Name: Wall Street Journal Online
News Date: 05/02/2018
News Text: …The University of California, Davis last fall launched its Energy Graduate Group, in which students work toward a master’s or doctorate degree with energy specialties, after repeatedly hearing from potential employers looking for people who knew how to design and work with renewable-energy systems. “They’re always coming to us asking us, ‘Give us a student, a good student,’” said Benjamin Finkelor, executive director of the school’s Energy and Efficiency Institute, which hosts the graduate group…

New Report Released: How the University of California can Replace Natural Gas with Climate-Friendlier Options

A three-step plan for carbon neutrality

New strategy to wean off natural gas paves way for the University of California to be a global leader

By Jenny Seifert

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. – Universities across the United States have set ambitious goals to shrink their carbon footprints, including the University of California, which launched its Carbon Neutrality Initiative in 2013, aiming for carbon neutrality by 2025. But amid broad support for climate action within the UC system, a big question looms: how to actually hit that target.

Now, a 27-member team uniquely comprised of researchers, facilities managers, sustainability officers and students from across the UC campuses has released a report that helps answer this important “how” question. They present a feasible strategy to achieve a measure that would be especially game changing: replacing natural gas with climate-friendlier options.

“Some decarbonization pathways are surprisingly economical,” said the report’s lead author Alan Meier, a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (a US Department of Energy lab managed by the University of California) and adjunct professor at UC Davis.

Like the state of California, UC campuses rely on highly efficient power plants that burn natural gas. Since natural gas accounts for two-thirds of the greenhouse gases emitted by all UC operations, phasing it out will be critical for a carbon-neutral future.

The report’s three-step plan for weaning off natural gas entails aggressively increasing energy efficiency across all ten campuses and five medical centers; replacing natural gas with biogas in the short term; and in the long run, electrifying all end uses of energy and switching to only renewable sources.

Amplifying the report’s message is a paper published February 27th in Nature Climate Change, written by the report team, which urges the world to look to local institutions, such as the UC, for leadership in meeting carbon-reduction commitments established by the 2015 Paris Agreement. The team’s recommendations are widely applicable in the United States, given that the nation’s energy system is increasingly dependent on natural gas and will ultimately face similar challenges as it decarbonizes.

“Cities, firms and other local actors are on the frontlines of serious action to address climate change. Where they succeed the rest will follow,” said team member and lead author of the Nature paper David Victor, a professor at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy. “The University of California system is poised to be one of the world’s most important leaders.”

An immediate priority for reducing the UC’s natural gas dependency is to use less of it. Already, the UC is on the leading edge of energy efficiency, and the report encourages a continued push toward “deep energy efficiency” by retrofitting more existing buildings and designing new buildings to be not only highly efficient but also all-electric, rather than reliant on gas-fueled systems.

“The cost of renewable electricity is falling, and our ability to design efficient all-electric facilities is improving,” said Meier. “We can build carbon-neutral buildings.”

Deep efficiency would also mean cost savings, freeing up money to reinvest in further decarbonization measures. The report estimates that continuing to aggressively retrofit existing buildings at all campuses could capture an additional $19 million per year of net energy cost savings by 2025, on top of the $24 million per year the UC has already achieved over the past decade from its efficiency measures.

“Economically, energy efficiency is a no brainer,” said project director David Auston, a senior fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and researcher at the Institute for Energy Efficiency, both of UC Santa Barbara.

To wean campuses off of their remaining natural gas needs, the report assessed replacing it with biogas, or energy derived from organic materials such as food and agricultural waste, certain crops and biosolids from wastewater treatment plants. While chemically identical to natural gas, biogas is climate friendlier because it is renewable – the plants that produce the carbon burned for energy also consume atmospheric carbon.

The report frames biogas as a stepping stone to carbon neutrality for the UC, rather than a long-term solution. Like its fossilized counterpart, biogas is mostly methane, a greenhouse gas, which means methane emissions from gas infrastructure would still be an issue.

“We view biogas as an interim measure that buys us more time. Ultimately, it must be phased out and replaced by 100 percent electrification,” said Auston.

Complete electrification will mean converting all university buildings and facilities to electricity powered by solar, wind and other renewable sources, a conversion that is already underway at some campuses. A full transformation could unfold with time and some technological leaps – for example, advancing the technology and adoption of renewable energy storage and equipping existing buildings with heat-transferring technologies, such as heat pumps, to reduce their reliance on central heating loops.

So, can the UC achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2025?

“The goal is achievable, but it may not happen the way people expect it to,” said Meier, alluding mainly to the temporary reliance on biogas to get campuses over the hump.

It will also depend on what individual campuses do. Auston called their report a “broad-brush plan” that serves as a starting point to be individualized for each campus, and a lot will depend on the allocation of resources and willingness of campus leadership to take action.

“We hope the report will generate a dialogue that will help people get their arms around these big questions,” said Auston.

The report also illustrates the value of taking a ground-level and integrated approach to developing a carbon neutrality strategy, with its incorporation of both scientific analyses and the practicalities of implementation through the involvement of researchers and facilities staff.

“We combined intellectual talent from within the University of California with practical expertise from its facilities departments to create realistic low-carbon solutions,” said Meier. “The fact that we could find solutions through that approach could be extended to the rest of the country and the world.”

Independent from the UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative, the report and paper are part of the larger TomKat Carbon Neutrality Project to identify practical, bottom-up strategies for meeting the 2025 deadline. This effort was funded by the TomKat Foundation and the UC Office of the President and co-led by UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and the Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE).

“This new report is a great example of why we recently formed the University Climate Change Coalition with leading research universities across North America,” said David Phillips, Associate Vice President for Energy and Sustainability at the UC Office of the President. “It is critically important that we apply this kind of climate research knowledge locally to help our government and business partners achieve their climate goals.”

CONTACTS: Alan Meier, akmeier@lbl.gov, 510-486-4740; David Victor, david.victor@ucsd.edu, 858-534-3254; David Auston, auston@ucsb.edu, 805-570-0206

Live in a Zero Energy House this Fall

The Honda Smart Home is soliciting applications for new occupants. This unique opportunity is open to UC Davis faculty, staff or graduate students for 2018-2019.

About the Honda Smart Home:

The Honda Smart Home US, showcases technologies that enable zero net energy living and transportation. The home in UC Davis West Village is capable of producing more energy on-site from renewable sources than it consumes annually, including enough energy to power a Honda Fit EV for daily commuting.  A Honda-developed home energy management system and an energy efficient design will allow the occupants to use less than half of the energy of a similarly sized new home in the Davis area for heating, cooling and lighting. The home is also three times more water-efficient than a typical U.S. home.  Honda Smart Home will serve as a residence for a member of the UC Davis community. The fully-furnished home comes equipped with a Honda Fit EV battery electric vehicle for daily transportation.

In addition to showcasing Honda’s vision for sustainable, zero-carbon living and personal mobility, the home will function as a living laboratory where the company, along with researchers from UC Davis and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), will evaluate new technologies and business opportunities at the intersection of housing, transportation, energy and the environment.

Occupancy Agreement and Application:

Full details of the occupancy agreement are described in the Honda Smart Home Occupancy Agreement and Honda Smart Home Occupancy Agreement-Exhibit A, the Research Assignment.

Note that the exact content of the research can be custom tailored to fit the occupant (the downloadable Exhibit is an example).  To be considered, please read both documents thoroughly and complete this form on-line. 

For full consideration, complete the form as soon as possible, but no later than Friday, March 16th 2018 at 5:00pm. Submissions will be viewed as they come in. (Sorry, feline and canine occupants will not be considered this time.)

Important Dates:

Application (Interest Form) Due Date: March 16, 2018

Notification Date: March 23, 2018

Move-In Date: September 1, 2018

Move-Out Date: August 31, 2019


Interest Form

Honda Smart Home Occupancy Agreement

Honda Smart Home Occupancy Agreement-Exhibit A

More Information

More information about the Honda Smart Home

Honda Smart Home website

For questions or additional information please contact:

Michael Koenig

Project Leader, Honda Smart Home