D-Lab Staff

Dr. Kurt Kornbluth (CV) is an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the University of California, Davis Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE), an Associate Director for the UC Davis Blum Center for Developing Economies, and the founder and director of Program for International Energy Technology (PIET) and D-Lab. He holds a PhD in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering from UC Davis and is a UC Davis Graduate School of Management Business Development as well as an NSF IGERT fellow. His dissertation focused on the effect of hydrogen enrichment on landfill gas-fired IC engine and current research areas include hybrid fossil fuel/renewable electrical grids, and sustainable, low-carbon energy technologies for the developed and developing world. Kurt has worked in the field of international development, renewable energy, and energy efficiency since 1993 and has a diverse background including implementing appropriate technology projects in Africa and Central America. He worked with Amy Smith at the MIT D-Lab during its inception and in 2008 created the D-Lab at UC Davis. In 2016 Kornbluth received the University of California President’s Office Faculty Climate Champion award for his novel project–based courses and applied research focusing on Zero-Net-Energy and Climate Neutrality. His Big Idea, The Climate Neutrality Leadership Initiative, has been selected for support by UC Davis in their next capital campaign. In 2017 Kurt received the UC Davis Chancellor’s International Engagement Achievement Award for his efforts to connect students with real projects abroad.

Steven Wiryadinata is a PhD Candidate with UC Davis Mechanical and Aerospace engineering. His general research interests are on renewable energy, energy efficiency, system models and experimentation. He is currently performing experimental research on heat and mass transfer enhancement utilizing innovative flow disturbers within the Fischer-Tropsch packed bed for liquid fuel production. He has experience as a consulting engineer in commercial and industrial energy efficiency, cogeneration and renewable power generation for various California and Hawaii clients.  He holds an Master’s degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from UC Davis.

Mark Temis Lozano is pursuing an Energy Systems PhD as part of UC Davis’ inaugural Energy Graduate Group (EGG) which provides the resources and interdisciplinary training to produce graduates who will be leaders in developing sustainable energy solutions. His research interests lie in the effective integration of renewable energy onto the electric grid, as well as the increased accessibility of clean energy in developing countries. Prior to attending Davis, he earned his Bachelor’s in Physics from Pomona College in 2017. For his undergraduate senior capstone project, he and a team of Harvey Mudd College undergraduate engineers developed an energy monitoring system for a rubber molding company, enabling the facility to both quantify the effects of existing energy reduction programs and to develop new ones.

Lisa Michelle Slaughter is pursuing an M.S. degree in Energy Systems with the Energy Graduate Group at UC Davis. She holds a B.S. in Physics from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with minors in Mathematics and Music. True to her physics background, Lisa is passionate about the art of experimentation and is insatiably curious about fundamental physical phenomena. Her interests lie in researching novel methods of sustainable energy production and in improving the efficiency of current technologies at both source and point of consumption.

Sean Maxson is a master’s student in the International Agricultural Development program seeking a dual degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics. He served for 2 years in the Peace Corps in Paraguay working with smallholder farmers to implement sustainable cropping practices and then in Guatemala with the Ministry of Agriculture on rural extension & development programs. Sean currently assists with workshops in project design and planning for D-Lab partner organizations and facilitates project research between D-Lab and the International Development Innovation Network (IDIN). He joined the D-Lab in fall 2016.

Leanne Celis Bolaño received her B.S. in Environmental Science & Management 2017 with minors in Political Science and Global International Studies and will begin her J.D. program in August in Environmental Law. She began as a student in D-Lab I in Winter 16, on a project in Georgia through which she was awarded the PATA Blum Fellowship, to fund her travel during Summer 16. In addition to leading the Georgia Working Group for D-Lab and writing grants, Leanne has taught the Global Poverty Seminar, D-Lab 0, D-Lab I, and various small trainings.

Alice Dien is a fourth-year undergraduate pursuing a Food and Agricultural Engineering major at the University Rovira I Virgili in Spain. In February 2018 she was awarded the Balsells Mobility Fellowship to pursue a 6-mo. research internship in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. Alice’s research interests focus on turning waste into useful and valuable byproductsShe joined D-Lab in April 2018 and has been awarded the Balsells Graduate Fellowship to pursue an M.S in Biological Systems Engineering beginning in fall quarter.

Peter Nasielski is a fourth year undergraduate student at UC Davis pursuing dual degrees in Design and Sustainable Environmental Design. Peter joined D-lab in 2016 after taking the D-lab II course which focuses on prototyping as a tool for developing designs. In the summer of 2016 Peter led a project with the International Rescue Committee and Blum Center to construct a produce wash station for an urban farm in West Sacramento. Since then Peter has assisted with prototyping other D-lab projects, leading skill building workshops, and helping to teach the D-lab II course.

Ian Phillips is a second-year undergraduate pursuing a Material Science and Engineering major. He was introduced to the Energy Efficiency Center through the Future Energy Professionals program and has developed interests in energy storage and process optimization. He has worked as a student assistant to the Program for International Technologies studying network mapping. He currently serves as the Secretary of the UCD chapter of American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

 Cameron Batth is currently a first year undergraduate pursuing a degree in Biological Systems Engineering. He started working with Dr. Kornbluth in 2018, as an assistant for lab work in D-Lab I. He also works on the FFAR project, where he is configuring a new renewable dehydrating system.



Faculty Advisors

2012-06-06-2416-paulanders-ericksonPaul Erickson is a Professor of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, Director of the Hydrogen Production and Utilization Laboratory, and Co-Director of the U.S. Department of Energy GATE Center of Excellence. His research interests are in fuel cell vehicles and power systems, hydrogen production and utilization, internal combustion engines, solar energy utilization, heat and mass transfer enhancement of reacting flows, pollution prevention, and instrumentation. Dr. Erickson has a Ph.D. from the University of Florida with a minor in Environmental Engineering Science and an M.S. and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University.


faculty_hargadonandrewAndrew Hargadon is Founding Director of the EEC, the Charles J. Soderquist Chair in Entrepreneurship, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Professor in the Graduate School of Management at UC Davis. Dr. Hargadon came to UC Davis from the University of Florida. Prior to that, he worked as a product designer at IDEO and Apple Computer and taught in the Product Design program at Stanford University. Dr. Hargadon’s research focuses on the effective management of innovation and he has written extensively on knowledge and technology brokering, the role of learning and knowledge management in innovation and the strategic role of design in managing technology transitions. Dr. Hargadon received his B.S. and M.S. in Stanford University’s Product Design Program in the Mechanical Engineering Department.


tujarvisLovell (Tu) Jarvis is a Professor in Agricultural and Resource Economics, Director of the UC Davis Blum Center for Developing Economies, Faculty Director of the UC Davis – Chile Partnership Program, and former Associate Dean for Human Sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis. Dr. Jarvis is currently researching livestock development in least developed countries (LDC) with an emphasis in cattle, as well as investigating the effect of food and nutrition policies in LDC on the growth of young children. Dr. Jarvis received his Ph.D. in Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and B.A. in Economics at University of Kansas.


2012-06-06-2424-bryan-jenkinsBryan Jenkins is a Professor in Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Executive Director of the California Biomass Collaborative, and Director of the Energy Institute. He is working on finding a means to improve conversion and expand the beneficial use of biomass fuels. Many of his studies are collaborative efforts with industry and national laboratories. His research is conducted on technologies to improve the harvest of agricultural residues for use not only as fuel, but for manufactured products as well. Dr. Jenkins is currently investigating designs for improved acquisition systems for rice straw, including the development of GIS models to assess the potential optimization of the delivery system.


faculty_meieralanAlan Meier is Associate Director and a Faculty Researcher with the EEC, where he teaches core energy efficiency courses and supervises graduate student activities. Dr. Meier is also a Senior Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His research has focused on understanding how people (and machines) use energy and the opportunities that exist for them (and technologies) to conserve. His research on “standby power use” in appliances—equal to 1% of global CO2 emissions—led him to propose an international plan to reduce standby power loss in all devices to less than 1 watt, which has now been endorsed by the G8 countries. His other research interests include energy use of consumer electronics, energy test procedures, rolling resistance of tires and international policies to promote energy efficiency. Dr. Meier is editor of the journal, Energy and Buildings, and the magazine, Home Energy. He is the author of many articles and two books, Supplying Energy through Greater Efficiency and Saving Electricity in a Hurry. Dr. Meier earned his Ph.D. in Energy & Resources from UC Berkeley after completing degrees in chemistry and economics. He spent one year at Waseda University in Japan and, more recently, three years at the International Energy Agency.


2012-06-06-2392-daniel-sperlingDaniel Sperling is Acting Director of the Energy Efficiency Center (EEC), Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and Policy, and founding Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. He was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to the California Air Resources Board in February 2007. Dr. Sperling is recognized as a leading international expert on transportation technology assessment, energy and environmental aspects of transportation, and transportation and climate policy. He has testified to the U.S. Congress and state legislatures, and provided keynote presentations and invited talks in recent years at international conferences in Asia, Europe, and North America. In the past 25 years, Dr. Sperling has authored or co-authored over 200 technical papers and 11 books, including Two Billion Cars (Oxford University Press, 2009). He serves on many advisory committees and advises senior executives of several automotive and energy companies, environmental groups, and national governments, including review committees at three U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories.