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Stanford’s Bits & Watts initiative appoints Liang Min managing director

Jun 6 2019

By Mark Golden

The Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University is delighted to announce that Liang Min will become the managing director of Bits & Watts, the Precourt Institute’s research initiative to help modernize the electricity grid.

Head shot of Liang Min
Liang Min, new managing director of
Stanford's Bits & Watts research initiative
(Image credit: Randy Wong/LLNL)

Starting June 10, Min will take over the operations of Bits & Watts, which develops technologies, policies and business models needed to incorporate large amounts of clean power and a growing number of distributed energy resources, while improving grid reliability, security and affordability. It funds research projects led by Stanford faculty members from engineering to economics, provides fellowships to graduate students, sponsors a university course throughout the academic year, and convenes stakeholders to define research agendas for specific topics.

“I’m confident Liang will significantly advance Stanford’s research, education and collaboration work to innovate the 21st century grid,” said Arun Majumdar, co-director of the Precourt Institute and of Bits & Watts.

Since 2011, Min has worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, currently as the associate program leader for the national lab’s Cyber & Infrastructure Resilience program. He is also Livermore’s founding group leader on energy delivery and utilization. He had previously worked at the Electric Power Research Institute as a senior project manager and research scientist. Min earned a PhD in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University in 2007. He has also taught courses for power system professionals.

“This position was hard to fill because it requires a combination of deep technical expertise, market knowledge, management experience, and the ability to find topics of mutual interest among corporate affiliates and faculty members,” said Bits & Watts’ other co-director, Charles Kolstad, “but Liang delivers everything we were looking for.”

Min will, in part, seek to maximize the impact of the initiative’s research by exploring the linkages between the information technology revolution and the energy transformation, by creating open-source hardware and software solutions for rapid utilitization by industry and policymakers, and by offering holistic systems-focused education opportunities for industry executives. An overall goal is to de-risk implantation of new ideas, business models and technologies for the electricity ecosystem.

“20th century grids need to be overhauled if we want to avoid the worst effects of climate change and seize the opportunity of digital transformation of energy systems,” said Min.

“They weren’t built to realize the full value of a variey of individual technologies like rooftop solar, electric vehicles, energy storage and large-scale renewables such as wind and solar, but we can transform them with technologies and policies to deliver electricity that is sustainable, reliable and affordable,” Min explained. “And then hopefully, we can help economies that have never had a modern grid build 21st century electricity systems.”

Majumdar is also a professor of mechanical engineering and of photon science. Kolstad is also a senior fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy and at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and he is a leader of the Stanford Environmental & Energy Policy Analysis Center. 

Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy draws on experts and resources across the university to help accelerate the transition to an affordable, low-carbon energy system for the world. The institute has funded early-stage energy research, developed new technologies and policies, educated leaders, and nurtured a vibrant energy ecosystem in Silicon Valley and beyond. Since 2010, $8.6 million in Precourt research funding has led to $25.6 million in follow-on research and two startup companies, while advancing the education of 128 students.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Mark Golden, communications, Precourt Institute for Energy, mark.golden@stanford.edu, 650-724-1629