• CERAWeek
  • March 18 - 22, 2024

Arun Majumdar

Stanford University

Dean, Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability

Dr. Arun Majumdar is the inaugural Dean of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability. He is the Jay Precourt Provostial Chair Professor at Stanford University, a faculty member of the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Energy Science and Engineering, a Senior Fellow and former Director of the Precourt Institute for Energy and Senior Fellow (courtesy) of the Hoover Institution. He is also a faculty in Department of Photon Science at SLAC. In October 2009, Dr. Majumdar was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate to become the Founding Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E), where he served until June 2012 and helped ARPA-E become a model of excellence and innovation for the government with bipartisan support from Congress and other stakeholders. Between March 2011 and June 2012, he also served as the Acting Under Secretary of Energy, enabling the portfolio of Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Reliability, Office of Nuclear Energy and the Office of Fossil Energy, as well as multiple cross-cutting efforts such as Sunshot, Grid Modernization Team and others that he had initiated. Furthermore, he was a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, on a variety of matters related to management, personnel, budget, and policy. In 2010, he served on Secretary Chu's Science Team to help stop the leak of the Deep Water Horizon (BP) oil spill. Dr. Majumdar serves as the Chair of the Advisory Board of the US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm. He led the Agency Review Team for the Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the Biden-Harris Presidential transition. He served as the Vice Chairman of the Advisory Board of US Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, and was also a Science Envoy for the US Department of State with focus on energy and technology innovation in the Baltics and Poland. He also serves on numerous advisory boards and boards of businesses, investment groups and non-profit organizations. After leaving Washington, DC and before joining Stanford, Dr. Majumdar was the Vice President for Energy at Google, where he assembled a team to create technologies and businesses at the intersection of data, computing and electricity grid. Dr. Majumdar is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, US National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research in the past has involved the science and engineering of nanoscale materials and devices, especially in the areas of energy conversion, transport and storage as well as biomolecular analysis. His current research focuses on redox reactions and systems that are fundamental to a sustainable energy future, multidimensional nanoscale imaging and microscopy, and an effort to leverage modern AI techniques to develop and deliver energy and climate solutions. Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Dr. Majumdar was the Almy & Agnes Maynard Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering at University of California–Berkeley and the Associate Laboratory Director for energy and environment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He also spent the early part of his academic career at Arizona State University and University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Majumdar received his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1985 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989.

Sessions With Arun Majumdar

Tuesday, 7 March

  • 01:30pm - 02:10pm (CST) / 07/mar/2023 07:30 pm - 07/mar/2023 08:10 pm

    Voices of Innovation: Arun Majumdar

    A conversation with Atul Arya and Arun Majumdar.
  • 02:25pm - 03:05pm (CST) / 07/mar/2023 08:25 pm - 07/mar/2023 09:05 pm

    Mapping the Global Energy Transition

    Energy Transition/Climate & Sustainability
    Last year will be long remembered as a year when the world—and the energy world—changed in multiple ways. Accelerating net-zero ambitions—amid conflict, disruption in global energy markets and global economic headwinds— have been surprising and unexpected developments with the launch of the RePower EU plan in Europe and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the United States. The IRA, along with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors and Science (CHIPS), will turbo charge investments in a wide spectrum of clean energy technologies in the United States and will launch a new era of U.S. industrial policy. At the same time, energy security once again became a priority for governments in the face of an “energy war” in Europe, high prices and shortages. COP27 did not produce dramatic agreements that some would have expected. Although there was a pledge on “loss and damage,” the structure and funding of the mechanism have yet to be worked out. There was no progress on the mitigation front. According to estimates from S&P Global Commodity Insights, the current set of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) (many non-binding) would only reduce emissions by approximately 2% in 2030 relative to 2019 levels, compared with the 23% reduction (relative to 2019) that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sets as the benchmark required to align with a 1.5°C pathway. Due to the war in Ukraine, decades of policies and precedent were put aside by countries around the world to rewire the global energy system. Global carbon dioxide emissions are estimated to have increased by 1% in 2022, hitting a new record of 37.5 billion tonnes. The fastest emissions growth comes from India, with an estimated 6% increase compared with 2021. In light of these and many other uncertainties, how does the panel think about the future map of energy transition? In this fluid and uncertain environment should energy companies invest in oil/gas supplies and infrastructure even if the useful life of these new investments is uncertain? Should they accelerate investments in energy transition technologies when investors do not seem to reward these portfolio changes? What is the realistic pace of change in the global energy mix without leading to unintended consequences? How should energy transition play out in emerging economies where emissions may continue to increase for some years before reversing the trend? How can the transition be just, orderly and balanced? What will this require? And what are the differences in “just transition” perspectives across the United States, the European Union, and the developing world?
  • 03:30pm - 04:10pm (CST) / 07/mar/2023 09:30 pm - 07/mar/2023 10:10 pm

    What's New at Stanford

    Hear from the leading thought leaders and professors from one of the most distinguished universities championing new initiatives in energy technology, raising questions and developing solutions to the energy challenges facing us.