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Fellows in the Emerging Technologies (ET) program of the Building Technologies Office (BTO) are the Energy Department’s next generation of engineers and scientists, tasked with bringing fresh ideas and new perspectives to the program’s building energy efficiency research and development portfolio. Their reward: an opportunity to broaden their knowledge and expertise while working on innovative projects that will have national impact.

The current Fellows bring a diverse set of research backgrounds to the ET program, including in the areas of vehicle-to-grid operations, multicomponent nanostructures, and battery energy storage systems. So far these Fellows’ technical expertise has been called upon to advance the ET program’s efforts around building energy modeling, windows and building envelope technologies, sensors and controls, pathways for technology innovation, and grid modernization.

Meet your Emerging Technologies Fellows through 5 interesting facts:

Chioke Harris, Ph.D.: AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow

Hometown: Bothell, Washington

Education: Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, M.S. in mechanical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, Sc.B. in mechanical engineering from Brown University

Dissertation research: An Assessment of the System Costs and Operational Benefits of Vehicle-to-Grid Schemes

Photo of Chioke B. Harris, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow (ORISE).

Current projects: I have worked on a range of topics including buildings-specific analysis for the Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR), engaging in Federal Open Data initiatives at DOE, supporting management of ongoing projects in the windows and opaque envelope subprogram, and investigating frontier issues in buildings, such as the energy-water nexus and applications of additive manufacturing for building energy efficiency. I currently spend most of my time on the development of Scout and the Market Calculator web tool, which are free and open-source tools for exploring and quantifying the potential impact of efficient technologies on the U.S. building stock.  

Hobbies: I am somewhat of a serial hobbyist, with moderate skills in and equipment for woodworking, sewing, and bicycle repair. I also enjoy traveling, having visited the entire continental U.S., as well as 2% of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Robert Fares, Ph.D.: AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow

Hometown: Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Education: Ph.D. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, B.S. in mechanical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis

Dissertation research: A Framework to Model and Optimize the Operation of Lithium-ion Energy Storage in Electricity Markets, and an Assessment of Lithium-Ion Energy Storage in Texas

Current projects: Currently, I support the Sensors and Controls research and development portfolio with a particular focus on technologies to reduce energy consumption from Miscellaneous Electric Loads, which include all loads outside a building’s core function such as televisions, computers, office equipment, and more. I also support the Building Technologies Office’s contributions to the Grid Modernization Initiative by providing guidance on how energy efficiency and demand response could provide value to the electric grid.

Photo of Robert Fares, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow.

Hobbies: I am an avid follower of politics and current events, and I enjoy opportunities to talk about issues with friends and acquaintances to learn from their viewpoints. I am also a curious cook that enjoys trying out new recipes and techniques in the kitchen, and sharing dishes with friends and family. I also greatly enjoy travelling domestically and internationally to experience new places and cultures. Other things I enjoy are board games, reading, writing, and movies.

The article has been updated to reflect current employment status of the Fellows.