New Energy Series

About the Series

New Energy: Conversations with Early-Career Energy Researchers is an online series featuring graduate, post-doctoral, and other early-career researchers sharing their discoveries and perspectives on energy-related topics. From policy to analysis to emerging technology, this series will give anyone interested in energy the opportunity to learn from the rising stars in the field. 

All events in this series take place via Zoom.

Spring 2024 Talks

Talks take place from 12-1 pm ET. Zoom registration links are below.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024


Ralph Behrend

"Microwaving Glass: Harder Than We Thought"
Ralph Behrend,  Research Associate, Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg


About the Talk
Industrial heating is responsible for around 1/3 of the world's energy demand. Most of the necessary heat is supplied by combustion of natural gas, coal, and oil. For carbon neutral production a retrofit to renewable heat sources will be key. While hydrogen as replacement fuel could be possible, it would be even better to go all electric. But high temperature processes are hard to retrofit with conventional electric heaters. For some processes, like glass melting, microwave heating is a viable alternative: It enables high energy densities, extremely fast heating, and high temperatures. It is also very complicated to implement on large scale. In this New Energy talk, Dr. Behrend will share his recent research on the topic. 

About the Speaker
Ralph Behrend is a Research Associate and work group leader for thermo process engineering at the professorship for gas and heat technology at the Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Technical University Freiberg in 2023. Ralphs research is centered around high temperature processes of all kinds. Microwave heating has been part of his portfolio since his master thesis and has become the basis for glass melting applications, CFRP recycling and more. Other research includes refractories and insulation materials in high temperature processes and gasification and pyrolysis processes.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024


Maddy Kroot

"How to Kill a Powerline: Utility-on-Utility Violence and Electricity Capital in Energy Infrastructure Disputes"
Maddy Kroot '19, PhD candidate in Clark University's Graduate School of Geography

View a recording of this talk. 

About the Talk
The concept of just energy transitions pushes us to pursue rapid decarbonization while also centering issues of justice, equity, and democratic participation in energy decision-making. However, in practice, these mandates often appear at odds, with participatory practices widely seen as endangering fast policies for decarbonization through discourses of climate NIMBYism, or the "Not-In-My-Backyard" movement. 

This talk explores a different driver in project delays and cancellations: "utility-on-utility violence." Drawing on doctoral work on two controversial high-voltage transmission lines in northern New England, the talk explores how incumbent electricity capital effectively weaponizes the mandate for public participation in infrastructure permitting to block new energy sources from entering the grid and jeopardizing the profitability of existing assets. Rather than "astroturf" opposition, incumbents amplify the resources of pre-existing public opposition stemming from poor project design and community outreach, assisting small rural communities in slowing or cancelling billion-dollar projects. In turn, this utility-on-utility violence provides cover for capital, funneling blame for decarbonization delays towards uncooperative publics rather than utility interference in the regional electricity market.

About the Presenter
Maddy Kroot is a PhD candidate in Clark University's Graduate School of Geography. Her dissertation project looks at community opposition to new high-voltage transmission lines in northern New England, focusing on the Northern Pass project in New Hampshire and the New England Clean Energy Connect project in western Maine. These transmission lines are intended to increase imports of hydroelectricity from Hydro-Quebec to meet decarbonization targets in Massachusetts. Using spatial justice as a lens, she considers how the dual mandates of decarbonization and energy democratization lead to "green-on-green" conflict in energy governance when the regional and planetary benefits of grid decarbonization and reduced carbon emissions come into friction with localized impacts to landscape conservation, rural livelihoods, and sense of place. Maddy is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholar, and holds a B.A. in Geography and Linguistics from Dartmouth College.